Pp. 43-66 in New Testament Masculinities, Semeia 45 (2003)
"Jesus, Gender and the Gospel of Matthew"
1.0 Topic and Focus
It is an axiom of contemporary scholarship that gender is a social construct (Brod, Kramer; Lorber; Ortner). Ancient Greece (Cantarella, Dubish), Palestine (Satlow) and Rome (Gleason; Kueffler; Hadley) all articulated what it means to be male or female in relationship to their values and institutions. This study focuses on the figure of the male Jesus in Matthew from the perspective of the common gender stereotype in the Hellenistic world at that time. We argue that the ancient world shared a common gender stereotype, that is, a descriptive and often a proscriptive sketch of gender-specific roles, tasks, tools and places. There are three major sources of information for this stereotype. We find it in its full form in authors such as Xenophon, Aristotle, and Philo. Second, it is also accessible in epideictic rhetoric, which articulates the criterion for the honor and praise of males (Neyrey 1998:70-162), and in other places, such as physiognomics (Malina and Neyrey 1996:104-6, 111-13, 146-48, 179-81). Third, a large body of data on "public/private" from many ancient documents provides yet one more important source of information on the gender stereotype.
This study has two parts, data and interpretation. First we will rehearse the ancient data for the gender stereotype. The thrust of this part of the study points toward males as "outdoors" and as "public" figures, as well as the roles, tasks, and behaviors expected of such males. Second, with this data we will then interpret the figure of the male Jesus in Matthew. We wish to see how much of this stereotype Matthew knows, how he presents Jesus as an ideal male, and what this means for the interpretation of his gospel.
2.0 The Gender-Divided World of Antiquity
2.1 Ancient Informants On Gender Stereotypes. The ancients perceived the cosmos as totally gender divided, and so they describe parallel male and female worlds, in which certain places, roles, tasks and objects are deemed appropriate to each gender. Their descriptions, of course, are cultural constructions of social reality, that is, integral to their attempts to organize and interpret their worlds. The topos on "house" and "household" that was popular both in classical Greece and especially Rome (Pomeroy 69-73) constitutes our first source of information of the ancient gender stereotype.
In figure one below, we have in parallel columns four articulations of the topos on "house" and "household." While there are many examples of this topos, we may only examine these four in the framework of this article. What do these texts tell us? 1. They span over five centuries (Xenophon 428-354 BCE; Aristotle 384-322 BCE; Philo 15-50 CE; and Hierocles 117-138 CE); and because of their striking similarities, they witness to a common and persistent gender stereotype in antiquity. 2. All consider gender-divided space an important element, whether that is open/covered or outside/inside. While Hierocles does not use the terminology of binary opposite spaces, his tasks position males and females in different places. 3. Corresponding to gender-specific space are gender-specific tasks and roles. Male are either engaged in agriculture or civic affairs (= "outdoors" or "public"); thus they are farmers, herders, traders or civic leaders. Females, on the other hand, have three tasks associated with the "indoors" or "private" world: child rearing, food preparation and clothing production. 4. It follows that objects and tools are likewise gender-specific. Plows and draft animals, sheep, weapons and harvesting tools belong to the male world; looms, pots and pans and food-preparation instruments belong to the female. 5. Xenophon and Aristotle continue the stereotype by contrasting body types: male bodies are suited to hardship, labor and strength, whereas female bodies are weaker (Kuefler (2001:21); if males display courage, females are timid. It is worth noting that both rural and urban locations are in view.
2.2 "Public" and "Private" Labels for Male Spaces. My research identifies many linguistic expressions for "public/private." The raw data are extensive in regard to the terms used and the periods of history in which the examples are found.
|1. / : "The deliberative kind is either hortatory or dissuasive; for both those who give advice in private () and those who speak in the assembly () invariably either exhort or dissuade" Aristotle, Rhetoric 1.3.3 1358b||7. / : "And you will find united in the same persons an interest at once in private () and in public () affairs" (Thucydides, II.40.2)|
|2. µ / : "What a widespread corruption of the young in private families (i ) as well as publicly in the State (µ)" Plato, Laws 10 890B||8. /: "Two speeches have been devised that relate to burial. One is common ( ) to the whole city and is spoken over the war-dead. The other is private and individual( ') , relating to events that frequently happen in peace, when people die at various ages (Pseudo-Dionysius, Procedure for Funeral Speeches, (Russell and Wilson p.. . .)|
|3. / : "Now he who said, 'The man who would be tranquil in his mind must not engage in many affairs, either private () or public (),' first of all makes our tranquillity very expensive if it is bought at the price of inactivity. . ." Plutarch, Tranquillity 465C||9. publice / privatim: "We shall do well to heed that sound doctrine of democritus in which he shows that tranquillity is possible only if we avoid most of the activities of both private (privatim) and public (publice) life, or at least those that are too great for our strength" Seneca, On Anger 3.6.3|
|4. /: "First, they laid down laws to protect the morals of our children. . .then they legislated for the other age-groups in succession, including in their provision, not only private citizens ( ), but also the public men ( )" Aeschines, Against Timarchus 7||10. privatus: "Under fortune one inquires whether the person is a slave or free, rich or poor, a private citizen (privatus) or an official with authority (cum postestate). . .(Cicero, De Inv.1.25-35).|
|5. /: "When any Athenians come to him [Hyrcanus] either on an embassy or on a private matter ( ' ' ). . ." Josephus, Ant. 14.151||11. publicus / privatus: ". . .tranquillity is possible only if we avoid most of the activities of both private (privatim) and public (publice) life, or at least those that are too great for our strength" Seneca, On Anger 3.6.3|
|6. µ / : secret political councils (µ) were meeting in private houses ( ) Dio Halicarnassus, Ant. Rom. 11.57.3||12. foris / domi: "abroad vs at home," Suetonius, de Gramm.|
These data indicate that males may be located in three places: "public" (politics), "private" (non-kinship associations), and "private" (household).
1. Greeks and Romans distinguished between "public" and "private" in terms of male participation in the "public" or political life of the city and the "private" social relations of an ordinary citizen (see also Hyperides 4.9; Xenophon, Agesilaus 11.5-6; Demosthenes, Trierarchic Crown 15-16; Lysias, Defense of Mantitheus 9-13). Demosthenes makes this distinction in one of his speeches:
There are two sorts of problems with which the laws of all nations are concerned. First, what are the principles under which we associate with one another, have dealings with one another, define the obligations of private life ( ), and, in general order our social relations? Secondly, what are the duties that every man among us owes to the commonwealth, if he chooses to take part in public life ( ) and professes any concern for the State? Now it is to the advantage of the common people that laws of the former category, laws of private intercourse ( ), shall be distinguished by clemency and humanity. On the other hand it is to your common advantage that laws of the second class, the laws that govern our relations to the State ( µ), shall be trenchant and peremptory, because, if they are so, politicians will not do so much harm to the commonalty (Against Timocrates 192-93).
Elite males, then, may participate in public life ( µ) or restrict themselves to ordinary private life ( ). Thus, male association with other males occurs in both "public" and"private." Different behavioral expectations characterize male/public and male/private behavior: laws that govern public activity should be "trenchant and peremptory" vs "clement and humane" in private intercourse.
2. Male public figures still had private household concerns. For example, criteria for bishops and deacons in 1 Tim 3:4-5, 12 indicate that a male can provide appropriate leadership for the church only if he manages his household well. Thus males, who "naturally" belong in the public world with other males, also have roles and duties in the private world of the household . The duties of a male in the private world of the household include: 1. control of his children, 2. procurement of dowries for daughters and wise marriages for them (Isaeus, On the Estate of Cleonymus 39-40), 3. proper use of patrimony (Aeschines, Against Timarchus 154), 4. funeral rites for parents (Isaeus, On the Estate of Menecles 36-37; see Matt 8:21-22), 5. concern for the virtue and reputation of wives and other females in the household (see Lysias, On the Murder of Eratosthenes 15-26), and 6. ruling over slaves and servants (Balch 1981:21-80). This distinction confirms what anthropologists of the classical world regularly argue, namely, that the ancients had only two institutions, politics (= "public") and kinship (= "private").
3. Occasionally we read of males with decidedly public roles but who rarely appear in public. Plato described some rulers remaining in their fortresses and rarely appearing in public:
And is not that the sort of prison house in which the tyrant is pent? He only of the citizens may not travel abroad or view any of the sacred festivals that other free men yearn to see, but he must live for the most part cowering in the recesses of his house like a woman, envying among the other citizens anyone who goes abroad and sees any good thing (Plato, Rep. 9.579b-c).
While Plato's tyrant keeps to the "indoor" world to escape violence, we read of other monarchs who lived in splendid isolation within their imperial residences and were elaborately insulated from the common world (see 1 Tim 6:16). Therefore, a few elite males remained "indoors,' but within the public world of the institution of politics. But males who otherwise remain "indoors" are considered shameful, because their place is in "public" (Pomeroy 276).
4. Finally we consider an example of this stereotype of male public and private space which clearly articulates the three social venues to which the ancients thought males belonged. Lysias argues for the honorable character of the accused by calling attention before his male peers how the defendant fulfilled the expected code of proper male behavior in each of the three spheres where males function (In Defense of Mantitheus 16.9-12). First he recounts the honorable behavior in regard to the "private" world of the household:
Although little property had been bequeathed to me, I bestowed two sisters in marriage, with a dowry of thirty minae apiece; to my brother I allowed such a portion as made him acknowledge that the had got a larger share of patrimony than I had; and towards all else my behaviour has been such that never to this day has a single person shown any grievance against me. So much for the tenor of my private life ( ) (10-11).
As the eldest male in his family, he assumed responsibility for the honorable marriage of the family's daughters; he acted as patron within the family by distribution of the father' s patrimony to his male siblings and to the family' s clients.
The speaker turns to the world outside of the household, which, by contrast with the "private" or household world, he labels the "public" world:
. . .with regard to public matters ( ), I hold that the strongest proof I can give of my decorous conduct is the fact that all the younger set who are found to take their diversion in dice or drink or the like dissipations are, as you will observe, at feud with me, and are most prolific in lying tales about me. It is obvious, surely, that if we were at one in our desires they would not regard me with such feelings (11).
This is not the "public"-political world of the Assembly nor the "private" household world just seen. Rather, we view the non-household world where males entertain themselves in the company of other males with symposia, games, gambling and the like.
Finally, he turns to the public-political world where the affairs of the city are in view, in this case, the city's army and its defense of its allies:
As regards campaigns in face of the enemy, observe how I discharged my duty to the State. First, when you made your alliance with the Boeotians, and we had to go to the relief of Hilartus, I had been enrolled by Orthobulus for service in the cavalry (12-13).
Mantitheus goes on to say how he volunteered for the more difficult military task of an infantryman, attesting to his courage and solidarity with that part of the army. And he claims that he has been a model "public," i.e., political, person who has "discharged his duty to the State." By recounting his military exploits, he declares that he acted as an honorable male who has a visible public role in the affairs of the city. Thus, Mantitheus serves as an excellent emic informer on the triple spheres, spaces and roles which make up the male world which was both "public" and "private."
2.3 Males and Females vis-a-vis Gender-Divided Space. While "public" vs "private" were used by the ancients primarily in regard to males, our investigation of the ancient gender stereotype surfaced many examples the way male and females are gender divided in regard to space.
|1. / : "It saw how unlike the bodily shapes of man and woman are, and that each of the two has a different life assigned to it, to the one the domestic () life, to the other a civic life (), it judged it well to prescribe rules all of which though not directly made by nature were the outcome of wise reflection and in accordance with nature" Philo, Virt 19||4. / : "And of the many forms of baseness none disgraces an aged man more than idleness, cowardice, and slackness, when he retires from public offices ( ) to the domesticity ( ) befitting women." Plutarch, Old Men in Public Affairs 784A|
|2. / : "And since both the indoor ( ) and the outdoor ( ) tasks demand labor and attention, God from the first adapted the woman's nature, I think, to the indoor ( ) and the man's to the outdoor ( ) tasks and cares" Xenophon, Oeconomicus 7.19-22||5. / µ: "Organized communities are of two sorts, the greater which we call cities () and the smaller which we call households (µ). Both of these have their governors; the government of the greater is assigned to men, under the name of statesmanship (), that of the lesser, known as household management (µ), to women." Philo, Special Laws 3.171|
|3. / : "Human beings live not in the open air ( ), like beasts, but obviously need shelter ( ). Those who mean to win store to fill the covered space, have need of someone to work at the open-air ( ) occupations; since ploughing, sowing, planting and grazing are all such open-air () employments. . . again, as soon as this is stored in the covered place ( ) , there is need of someone to keep it and to work at the things that must be done under cove ( ). Cover () is needed for the nursing of the infants; cover () is needed for the making of the corn into bread, and likewise for the manufacture of clothes from the wool." Xenophon, Oeconomicus 7:20-21||6. µ / : "Theano her exposed her arm. Somebody exclaimed, 'A lovely arm.' 'But not for the public (µ),' said she. Not only the arm of the virtuous woman, but her speeches well, ought to be not for the public (µ), and she ought to be modest and guarded about saying anything in the hearing of outsiders ( ), since it is an exposure of herself; for in her talk can be seen her feelings, character, and disposition. Pheidias made the Aphrodite of the Eleans with one foot on a tortoise, to typify for womankind keeping at home () and keeping silence." Plutarch, Advice to Bride and Groom 142C-D|
We saw that while males enjoy exclusively male public and private worlds, they belong also in a second "private" world, the household. And a code of duties accompanies male participation in each three realms. Females, however, do not have formal public space vis-a-vis the polis; and while the stereotype indicates that they belong to the "indoor" world, that is not to say that they always remain in their houses. What household does not need to import water and fuel, fulfilment of which tasks must take females "outside" of the house. But females enjoy neither a civic role and so have no public space. The data about females at meals outside their houses in general indicate their absence (MacMullen); as Ps-Demosthenes implies, such females are likely slaves or hetairai (59.122). About such females the law was not interested (Fantham 380). In summary, when concepts like gender-divided space occur, they invariably indicate redundant sets of gender-specific places, roles, tools, and even virtues.
Matthew, we argue, knows this gender stereotype, as is indicated in the following. For example, in Jesus' final discourse he warns all to watch. Illustrative of the gender stereotype is his reference to "males laboring in the fields," which is juxtaposed to "women grinding corn" (21:25-26). Similar to this is the exhortation to "behold the birds of the sky who do not sow nor reap nor gather into barns," which is balanced by "behold the lilies of the fields. . .who neither toil nor spin" (6:26-28). Males, who labor in the fields, perform males tasks related to farming. Females, who labor in the household, do female tasks related to food preparation and clothing production. Evidently, the tools of each are gender specific. To this we might add the woman with yeast (13:33) who is juxtaposed to farmers (13:24) and merchants (13:45-46).
2.4 "Public" vs "Private" and Human Sexual Organs. The ancient medical writers Herophilus and Galen testify to the ancient belief that male and female genitals were classified as "public" and "private." Although it was argued that male and female sexual organs are similar, the difference was significance: male genitals are outside the body, whereas female genitals are within the body. Thus Galen writes: "All the parts, then, that men have, women have too, the difference between them lying in only one thing. . .namely, that in women the parts are within the body, whereas in men they are outside, in the region called the perineum" (Usefulness of the Parts of the Body 14.6). External vs internal classification of the genitals, then, replicates the larger stereotype of a gender-divided world.
One important conclusion to draw from this study of a gender-divided stereotype is that,, while we have focused on space, the stereotype is replicated in matters of social roles, tasks and tools, behavior and even biology. It permeates and structures the entire social lives of males and females. 1. It describes the roles ascribed to males as husbands and fathers in the "codes of household duties": they were expected to lead and command, whereas their wives should follow and obey. 2. As regards tasks, males acquired the art of farming and herding, including the tools for this, such as mastering animals, carpentry and tool-making required for this; females became adept at food preparation and clothing production. While both males and females touched corn and sheep, males produced the corn and sheared the sheep, whereas females processed the corn and the sheep's wool - different tasks. 3. Finally, males in public were expected to behave in masculine ways: with boldness, aggressiveness, eager to defend and advance their families' interests. Females, on the other hand, were respected when they were patient, subservient, restrained, passive and defensive of their virtue (Malina 2001:48-50).
2.5 Nuancing the Stereotype: Social Location. Does the same set of gender expectations apply equally to elite and non-elite males and females? Needed here is some model of social stratification suitable to the ancient world which can distinguish for us the various classification of persons in the ancient world. Gerhard Lenski, in his survey of advanced agrarian, pre-industrial societies, provides just such a classificatory tool (1966). Lenski describes a hierarchical ranking of persons which seems to fit quite well the ancient world, which model has been profitably used by various New Testament scholars which considerable success (Saldarini 1988:35-49; Fiensy 1991:155-76; Duling 1992:99-116; Rohrbaugh 1993:114-27; Neyrey 1996:255-67). Atop the social pyramid sit the true elite of ancient society, namely rulers and/or aristocratic families, who are served by a series of retainers such as soldiers, priests, scribes, slaves, etc. Dropping off precipitously in terms of social status, the hierarchical pyramid then consists of merchants, only a few of whom cater to elite tastes and needs, while the rest belong to the non-elite masses. Peasants, who constituted the vast majority of the ancient population (80%), tilled the land, labored in small villages, fished. and served as day laborers. Landless peasants in search of labor made up the bulk of the artisan group, which sought its fortunes in cities. Below them are the unclean, degraded and expendibles, such as beggars, thieves, prostitutes and the like. The ancients themselves expressed the radical difference between elites and non-elites as one between "the best" ( ) and "the rest" ( ) or between the "more reputable" (honestiores) and the "more lowly" (humiliores) (Garnsey 1970:221-76).
Accordingly, all males did not enjoy the same social location and role, and hence "honor."Some were free and others, slaves; a few were elites and the rest non elites. In a hierarchical world where every person was vertically classified according to conventional notions of wealth, power and status, kings rank above peasants who rank above slaves, who in turn are above the untouchables. Few males, then, had the opportunity to fulfil the ideal stereotype of masculinity. Peasant males simply had no "public"-political world; leadership roles so characteristic of male elite are not available to them, nor do they have voice to speak with boldness in public.
More to our purposes, the ancients themselves inform public speakers to make similar distinctions in regard to the social positions of the persons to be described in speeches or called as witnesses. In regard to how a person may be presented to a court, Cicero instructs the orator to select one of the following social locations: "Under fortune one inquires whether the person is a slave or free, rich or poor, a private citizen (privatus) or an official with authority" (Inv. 1.25.35). Quintilian's version brings out more of the elite/non-elite: "It makes a great difference whether a man be famous or obscure, a magistrate or a private citizen (privatus), a father or a son, a citizen or a foreigner, a free man or a slave" (Inst. Orat. 5.10.26). All such witnesses, of course, were males, as males alone had public voice. This material will be of considerable importance when we examine Jesus, the peasant from Nazareth, who nevertheless enjoys public voice.
What do we know if we know this? We have in view an stereotype about human gender which is both ancient and enduring. We may rightly call it a "commonplace" and expect that it both describes ancient social life and prescribes it. It constitutes a code into which all were socialized and according to which praise or blame was awarded. Although we have tended to view the gender stereotype in terms of space and location, the data indicate how it was replicated throughout the various aspects of life in antiquity: space, roles, tasks, tools, biology and behavior. It was, then, a formidable construct. The ancients, then, had clear and firm notions of what it meant to be male and female.
3.0 Jesus, the Male Stereotype and the Code of Honor.
With this stereotype of male gender in view, we turn to Matthew's Jesus. We claim that Matthew describes Jesus in terms of the cultural expectations about males just examined. And to argue this, we will track various representative elements of the stereotype: (1) space, (2) role and status, (3) tasks and behavior, (4) public speech, (5) objects, and (6) reputation.
3.1 Jesus, Private and Public. Where does Matthew locate Jesus? What does this communicate? Recall that the spatial options for males are "public" (civic space), "private" (with associates) and "private" (household).
3.1.1 Jesus in "Public"-Political Space. With Jesus' entrance into Jerusalem and its Temple (Matt 21-22), he enters into "public"-political space and behaves like a male with elite standing. He will, moreover, stand face-to-face with Israelite and Roman authorities: males in male civic space, i.e., courtrooms. Thus Jesus acts as a "public" male in public-political roles.
3.1.2 Jesus in "Private" (Non-Kinship) Space). Matthew often portrays him "outside," as the stereotype on gender-divided space indicated: on a river bank with other males (3: 13 - 17), on the shore of the Lake of Galilee (4:18; 13:1; 15:29) or crossing it (8:18 and 9:1; 14:13, 22-33), in fields (12:1), in "lonely places" (4:1; 14:13) and atop mountains (4:8; 5:1-7:29; 14:23; 15:29; 17:1; 24:3-25:56; 28:16). Jesus, moreover, readily frequents public spaces in villages and towns: synagogues (4:23; 9:35; 12:9; 13:54), and open areas, such as marketplaces and village gates (8:5; 9:9, 27; 11:1; 15:1 ). Jesus traveled extensively, speaking and healing through "all Galilee" (4:23), the surrounds of Gadara (8:28), the villages around Tyre and Sidon ( 15:21 ) and Caesarea Philippi ( 16:13 ). Thus as far as Matthew narrates, Jesus lived his life outdoors in the male "private" world outside his own home, as one would expect.
Matthew, moreover, presents Jesus "indoors," i.e., in "private" space in the company of disciples and non-kinship related males. For example, Jesus eats at the home of Levi, where "many tax collectors and sinners" -- presumably all males - likewise dined (9:10). Although "indoors," this not "private" in the sense of household, but "private" space where non-related males gathered; the same holds true for other meals served Jesus (8:14-15; 10:10; 14:13-21; 15:33-39; 22:2-3).
3.1.3 Jesus in the Private Household Space. Matthew narrates in 12:46 that Jesus' mother and brothers "stood outside" and demanded Jesus come to them, while Jesus spoke to his circle "inside." The story contrasts 1. two social groups, the blood relatives of Jesus ("mother and brothers") and the fictive kin of Jesus ("Here are my mother and my brothers," 12:49) and 2. two social spaces ("outside" and "inside"). Ideally, his family should be "inside" with him and non-kin "outside." But the kinship relationship and the corresponding space are spatially topsy-turvy. When Jesus calls the group "inside" his "mother and brothers," he labels them his kin, albeit fictive kin. His blood relatives, however, are "outside"; Jesus does not obey their request nor does he imply that he has any obligation toward them. Matthew, moreover, never describes Jesus in the "private" world of kin and household. He is not found there; he rejects the duties expected of him in regard to it; and he speaks against it. The "private" world of the household, then, is the one space that the male Jesus resists and avoids.
3.1.4 Mobility and Male Behavior. While males are expected to be "outdoors," this means the "open air" male-specific places of cities and villages. How, then, assess Jesus' constant mobility and so his absence from home and household duties? It belonged to males to protect and supervise the females under their custody; but if absent for long, they risked being thought cavalier about the reputation of those females (Malina 2001:140-42). Matthew says that Jesus' mother is still living, although she is not cared for by Jesus, despite the fact that he is her eldest (or only) son (13:55-56). Jesus' absence from the family home and his lack of care for his mother make him suspect; his mobility creates a problem, for he does not appear to support or supervise his family. Matthew's explanation for Jesus' mobility is tied to his obedience to his Father (e.g., Luke 2:49), and thus his regular appearance in "public" places is sanctioned by other aspects of the gender stereotype, namely loyalty to one's Father (Barton 1994:125-215).
On this topic, let us recall Jesus' sayings which directly and indirectly attack family loyalty and legitimate a male's absence from the "private" world of the household. Because of him, many disciples will be at odds with their families (10:34-38); some will be ostracized by them (5:11-12; see Neyrey 1998:168-80). Others, it would appear, "left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands" for his sake (19:29). Thus Jesus' own mobility would have to be assessed in terms of the kind of anti-family stance which creates loyalty to Jesus and his group. Thus one "private" space (household and blood relatives) is replaced by another (fictive kinship). Whether expelled from the synagogue or seeking to forge strong fictive kinship bonds, the disciples are told to prize the "private" world of fictive-kinship over the all other spaces, even "private"-household space.
Summary, Matthew narrates Jesus' presence and actions in both the "public"-political forum and the "private"-non-kinship world of disciples. He never portrays Jesus in his "private"-household, space. Whereas Jesus assumes male roles commensurate with the first two spaces, he rejects the male roles vis-a-vis the household. While one might expect a typical village male to be found "outside," as indeed Jesus is, it is surprising to find such a person in "public"-political space acting in a political role. If Jesus' mobility, moreover, creates any problem in terms of his honor, that is rationalized by his studied rejection of kinship roles and duties and by the rationale that his public activity is demanded by his Father - thus honor is restored.
3.2 Jesus and Male Roles: The Consummate Public Person.
Matthew is mute on Jesus' role as husband and father and never presents him as having any role in the "private"- household world. In contrast, most of the roles which Jesus himself claims or are ascribed to him belong to the "public"-political world. We consider two factors in the following survey of Jesus' public roles: (1) the proclamation and acknowledgment of them take place in the "public"-political world, and (2) the roles acclaimed are all political ones related to politics, the other major institution in antiquity, indeed the ideal space for honorable males.
Son of God. The proclamation of Jesus as "son of God", which occurs strategically at the beginning (3:17), middle (17:5) and end (27:54) the gospel, it is made by political persons, either God or the Roman centurion, and always in public. Although God calls Jesus "Son" (3: 17 and 17:5), this is hardly a kinship role for Jesus (d'Angelo 1992a & b). For, the background of "son of god" regularly points in the direction of the political roles of monarchs in the ancient world (Gadd 1948:45-50). It applies as well to kings of the Davidic line (see 2 Sam 7: 14; Ps 2:7). It was applied to wonder workers and occasionally to angels, who act as the "public" agents of God in political matters, such as battle or judgment. "Son of God," then, refers to a political role. We take "son of God," then, to designate Jesus in terms of a "public"-political not a kinship role.
Son of David . All other titles and roles locate Jesus outside the "private"-household world and within in the "public" world of politics. That is, Jesus is not identified with the institution of kinship, but rather with that of politics. Whether people call him by any one of the three inter-related titles of "Son of David," "King of the Jews," or "Christ," they look to him to fulfill those roles and perform the tasks associated with "public"-political figures. It is by far the label most frequently ascribed to Jesus, which occurs first in Jesus' genealogy. There Matthew ascribes royal honor to Jesus by blood descent from the founding fathers of the nation, both Abraham and David ( 1: 1, 17). In Brown's treatment of the functions of genealogies, he highlights one in particular, namely, to "undergird status, especially for the offices of king and priest where lineage is important (see Ezra 2:62-63; Neh 7:64-65)" (Brown 1993:65). The status in question is that of a public, political figure. Various people, both males and females, Judeans and Gentiles, acknowledge this claim of Jesus to a public and political role in diverse situations: (1) when they petition Jesus to act as benefactor toward them with the resources reserved to monarchs to bestow (9:27; 15:22; 20:30-31 ) and (2) when they herald Jesus' entrance into the royal city (21:9, 15), an event interpreted by the evangelist as a political act (e.g., "king" in 21:5). Jesus himself explains Ps 110 in such as way as to indicate that the "Son of David" will be enthroned at God's right hand, and so enjoy a public status and role superior even to David himself (22:42-4).
King of Israel/King of the Jews. The Magi in search of the new king set the reigning king and his retainers in an uproar (2:2); two kings cannot live in Judea at the same time. Later, during Jesus' trial and execution, the central issue is his role and status as "King of the Jews" (27:11, 29, 37, 42). "King" is by far the most contested role in the gospel, as it upsets Herod, the Jerusalem elites (2:1-4), the Roman procurator and army (27:11, 29, 37), and becomes a source of mockery from Judean passers-by at the cross (27:42). Yet, along with "Son of David," this most honorable title clearly portrays Jesus in a "public" role in the world of politics.
Christ/Messiah. Irrespective of the diverse popular expectations of a Messiah (Charlesworth 1992:3-35), when Matthew narrates that people call Jesus "Christ," they refer to his "public" role in the world of politics (see Horsley and Hanson 1985:88-134; Crossan 1991: 168-206). It may be ascribed to Jesus by the heavenly sovereign and acknowledged on earth by his followers (16:16-17), but it is also bitterly contested by those who stand to lose political status and power from the presence of their political rival (26:63, 68; 27:22-23).
Lord (Sovereign). The label "lord," a general acknowledgment description of honorable extra-household status, is equivalent to "sir." Thus people address Jesus as "lord" who seek benefaction from him as a patron under this title (8:2, 5, 21, 25; 14:28; 15:27; etc.). On two occasions, moreover, the evangelist uses this title for Jesus in the role of a "public" official, not a private citizen. The "Christ" who is the "Son of David" sits at the right hand of the heavenly Lord, and in that context he is himself called "Lord" (22:44-45). A person at the King's right hand enjoys a "public" role in the world of cosmic politics. Second, although the label "Lord" is not mentioned in the context, when Jesus states that "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me" (28:18), he claims the kind of executive role predicted of him in 22:42-45.
Prophet. Jesus is often likened to prophets (12:39-40; 16:14) and on one occasion is found in their company (17:3-4). People in the narrative twice acclaim him a prophet, both times in Jerusalem: "This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth of Galilee" (21:11, see 21:46). Yet all of Israel's prophets, especially Moses, Elijah, Jeremiah and Jonah, were public figures whose role frequently involved them within the political institution of either forming a people (Moses), criticizing the behavior of Israel's rulers (Elijah and Jeremiah) or calling a nation to conversion (Jonah). Prophets were sent to "Jerusalem," the national political center, which rejected them and killed them (23:37). In regard to Jesus, "prophet" is likewise a public role in the political institution (see Horsley and Hanson 1985:135-41; Gray 1993:114-23). Moreover, it involved Jesus in political conflict; for, prophets were sent to criticize those in public-political roles.
In summary, from Jesus' genealogy and birth to his death and vindication, Matthew presents him not simply in terms of ordinary male roles and behaviors appropriate to the "private" world outside of the household. On the contrary, Matthew locates Jesus in the ultimate public arena of politics where he is ascribed and acknowledged as having elite public-political roles. According to Matthew, Jesus was no mere head of a household, artisan or peasant. God has ascribed to him the political roles of "Son of David," King of Israel," "Lord" and "Christ. God will make him "sit at my right hand" with power to judge and rule.
3.3 Jesus and Male Tasks: No Ordinary Male. Since Matthew locates Jesus mostly in the "outdoors" world and presents him acting according to political roles there, what tasks and deeds does Jesus perform? Are they appropriate to private or public space? To the institution of kinship or politics? How would Jesus' actions be viewed in terms of the gender stereotype?
3.3.1 Few Actions and a Limited Private Role. Matthew narrates no actions or words by Jesus which relate to management of his own household. Yet males in villages also enjoyed a vigorous "private" life with friends independent of the household. We saw how frequently Jesus eats in the homes of disciples (8:14-15) and followers (9:10-13). The "private" conversations with the disciples on the way to Jerusalem (Matt 16:1320:28) are a special case and will be discussed shortly. Hence, we find Jesus frequently in "private" non-kinship space, where he does what all ancient males did with great frequency, namely, "hang out" in the company of other males.
3.3.2 Shepherd, Warrior, Lawgiver and Benefactor. Judging from the importance Matthew gives to it, we focus now on what Jesus does in the "public" world where he acts out certain political roles. The simplest way to treat this is to compare Jesus in his "public"-political roles with what David or other kings of Israel did. 1. Shepherd. David was shepherd, not simply of sheep, but of the nation; he was also warrior, lawgiver, judge and benefactor-patron. Matthew describes Jesus as "shepherd" of a leaderless flock (9:36), who benefits them by his healings and feedings, relieves misery by miraculous acts, and forgives debts and sins. 2. Warrior. All of Jesus' conflicts with demons are properly the acts of a warrior-ruler attacking a rival, according to the symbolic world of that ancient culture (Robinson 1957:33-42). In defense of his power and authority, Jesus mounts an apology to the political charge that he is the agent of the "Prince of Demons"; he explains that kingdoms or "houses" in civil war collapse. But Jesus the warrior besieges the fortress of a rival warrior, captures him and plunders his kingdom (12:25-29). 3. Lawgiver-Judge. Jesus proposes a law (5:21-46; 16:24-26) and acts as enforcer of his law, namely, as a judge (16:27). As king, he will sit on his heavenly throne and separate his subjects like sheep and goats, rewarding some but requiting others (25:31-46). 4. Benefactor. As expected of a generous monarch, Jesus provides access to God's great storehouse of food, health and freedom. Despite the cultural perception of a radically limited supply of all good things, Jesus is able to increase the amount of goods, not by taking from others (i.e., spoils), but by divine benefaction which expands the supply and enriches all. In this, Jesus stands heads and shoulders over other benefactors of this world, who must despoil many to benefit a few.
3.3.3 Responder to Public, Even Political Challenges. Virtually every chreia about Jesus narrates a challenge to him and his response. All challenges, to be effective, must be "public," that is, face-to-face with Jesus before the eyes and ears of others. In that culture, every honorable male must not turn the other cheek, but to deliver a riposte (Neyrey 1998a:666-81). And Jesus indubitably does so, despite what he told his disciples (5:38-42). Two questions arise: (1) are Jesus' claims and the challenges to them those of a private or public-political nature (i.e., "only God can forgive sins?") and (2) what is the social location of the players who claim and who challenges? The content of most of the claims and of the challenges to them have to do with "public"-political matters. In regard to the social location of claimants and challengers, if the challengers to Jesus were merely private individuals who, out of envy of him (Mk 15:10) challenged him, then his riposte would be the appropriate behavior of a private person. If, however, his challengers are rulers and elites in the political institution, then challenge and riposte games should be upgraded to reflect the conflict over the public role and status of Jesus in that political institution. We saw earlier that at the beginning and ending of the gospel the political elite plot Jesus' death. The challenge-riposte game, then, is played among the male elite of the "public"-political world.
Does the picture change when we move from the capital city to Galilee? Who are the people who challenge Jesus (12:38) and test him (16:1)? By far the dominant opposition to Jesus in Galilee comes from the Pharisees (9:11, 34; 12:2, 14, 24, 38; 15:12; 19:3). Saldarini notes (1988:168-69) that in general the Galilean challenges from scribes and Pharisees touch on two areas: food rules (9:6-13, 14-17; 12:1-8; 15:12) and sources of power (9:32-34; 12:22-24). Yet, these should not be classified as "religious" issues. Daniel and 2 and 4 Maccabees witness that what one eats is a matter of political loyalty. The Pharisees belong to the retainer class who serve the governing elite (that is, those with wealth and direct political power) and who allied themselves with them to promote their own programs for Judaism. In Galilee, they were not the top level of leadership, but influential figures in local village leadership. They were a middle level of leadership between the governing class and the people and sometimes acted as brokers for the people with their higher contacts (Saldarini 1988:171-72). Thus Jesus is confronted by a high level class of retainers who serve the elite - no mean opponents. Therefore, challengers to Jesus, whether in the capital city or in Galilee, belong to the public-political world. The contents of the challenges, moreover, are political issues, either Jesus' identity and role or his agenda for the way the nation should act. Thus, both challengers and the topics of conflict confirm the presentation of Jesus as an honorable "public"-political figure. It is exclusively male behavior to seek honor, make claims and defend them. It is uniquely male behavior to engage in combat.
3.4 Jesus and Male Speech. According to the gender stereotype, males in "private" space outside the household have voice but females do not, a distinction all the more true of the "public"-political world. But not every male had public voice, as Plutarch implies in this maxim: "Nature has given us two ears and one tongue, because we ought to do less talking than listening" (Listening to Lectures 39B). Who, then, has voice? What have age, social location and public/private space to do with voice? First, young males generally do not enjoy voice, as Lysias indicates: "Some people are annoyed at me merely for attempting at too early an age to speak before the people" (Defense of Mantitheus 16.20; Luke 2:46-47). Second, perhaps Luke had this cultural issue this in mind when he stated that Jesus was "about thirty years of age" (3:23) when he went to the Jordan. Some scholars read this, not so much as calendar age, but as a claim that Jesus was sufficiently mature to be an elder (Buchanan 1995). Third, elite male citizens had "public" voice, but not male peasants. Thus, social location indicates whether in the eyes of others one has the right to speak. In general, then, elders, who are higher up the status ladder, enjoy public voice; less so, ordinary males and youth (Rohrbaugh 1995:192-95; Neyrey 1996:276-79). Let us examine now Jesus' public speaking in terms of his social role and the conventions of an honorable public male.
3.4.1 Jesus' Right to Public Speech. While Matthew remains silent on whether Jesus as "educated" (see John 7:15), which might qualify him to speak, he narrates that Jesus was authorized to speak and to act in public world by the highest-ranking person in the cosmos. At the Jordan with the Baptizer, John, not Jesus has public voice. But Matthew notes that Jesus immediately assumed public voice as he "taught in their synagogues and preached the gospel of the kingdom" (4:23). The function of the theophany at the Jordan (3:16-17) serves as the formal commissioning of Jesus to a public role with public voice. Rohrbaugh argued this case for the Lukan narrative (1995:186-95), and the same can be said of Matthew. God authorizes Jesus to the public role of "Son of God" (3:17), which, while challenged (4: 1-11 ), is subsequently acknowledged by the audiences who hear Jesus' successful speaking and see his actions (4:23-24; see Malina-Rohrbaugh 1992:304). Later in the narrative, when Jesus begins to speak a new word about the fate of the Son of man and the "way" of discipleship (16:21-26), God again appears in a theophany and authorizes the reluctant disciples to "Listen to him" (17:5). Jesus, then, has public voice because God commissions him what to say and what to do.
In addition, Jesus himself claims a unique bestowal of esoteric knowledge given to him by God (11:25-27), which he speaks to a select few (11:27). He claims, moreover, legitimacy to speak by comparing himself with Jonah and Solomon, whose public voices were most honorable, only he is "greater than Jonah" and "greater than Solomon" (12:41-42). Thus, Matthew has studiously attended to the issue of the legitimacy of Jesus' public voice. In virtue of his ascribed honor from God, he has a public role with a public voice, even a valid political voice.
3.4.2 The Content of Jesus' Public Speech. The content of Jesus' public speech includes materials from both male and female worlds. Jesus speaks about the ordinary roles and tasks of females: clothing production (6:28-30; 9:16), food preparation (i.e., leavening flour, 13:33) and child rearing (19:13-15; see 18:1-4). Five maids in a noble house (25:1-13) receive praise for performance of their domestic duties. While he mentions the Queen of the South (12:42), he praises her for listening to the wisdom of king Solomon. Not surprisingly, the bulk of his discourse is about male topics. Jesus, artisan and peasant, knows and speaks of the roles and tasks of ordinary males in the outdoor world of the village: carpenters (13:55), fishermen (4:18-22; 13:47-48), sowers (13:3), farmers buying fields (13:44), merchants (13:45), shepherds (18:12-13; 26:31), day laborers (20:1-16), tenant farmers (21:35-39), and servants abroad doing the master' s bidding (22:2-10).
Yet in contrast to these ordinary concerns of village non-elites, Matthew presents Jesus speaking of affairs in the public-political world, namely God's "kingdom" (Chilton 1994; Malina 2001:15-35). In a programmatic summary of his public speech, Jesus declared that it is his role to "preach the gospel of the kingdom" (4:23; see also 9:35). And his parables from 13:19 onward speak about the "kingdom." Modern translations of Jesus' words, however, reduce his discourse on "kingdom of God" to the politically innocuous "God reigning." Moreover, modern political ideology separates "church" from "state," making it difficult to interpret "kingdom" except in terms of "religion" which is not embedded in politics (Malina 2001:91-95 and 1986:92-101). But these recent trends are anachronistic Euro-American concerns which skew the perspective of religion-embedded-in-politics commonly found in antiquity. We argue that when Jesus speaks of "kingdom," he generally speaks of the public world and the institution of politics.
At first, Jesus' discourse about this political "kingdom" seems problematic because of the metaphors used to describe it. Some compare it items and actions within the ordinary male "outdoors" world and the female world of the household. The kingdom of heaven is like a woman putting leaven into flour (13:33) and a man sowing seed (13:24) or a grain of mustard seed (13:31; see 13:44, 45, 47). Balancing these metaphors, Matthew likens the kingdom of heaven to a king's wedding feast for his son (22: 1), a significant political event. It resembles some great landowner hiring many workers (20:1 ) or a king settling great debts (18:23). Some metaphors accentuate the greatness of the kingdom, others stress its lack of honor and significance or its strangeness. What metaphor Jesus uses to describe the "kingdom," while important, is ultimately less important here than the fact that he talks about it so frequently and claims to know it intimately. He exercises public voice on a most public topic.
Jesus' discourse on "the kingdom" contains many typical topics, the first of which is membership: who belongs in this kingdom? Jesus declares that some unlikely people will be accepted in the kingdom (8:11-12; 21:43; 22:8-10; 25:34-40), while others who thought they had a claim to it will be cast out of it (22:2-7 & 13; 25:41-46). Second, is there social stratification as one finds in a political kingdom? Evidently, for we are told that there are "greatest" and "least"; status sometimes based on observance of the rule of Jesus (5:19), sometimes on benefaction ( 11: 11 ) and sometimes on the new code of worth and honor proclaimed by Jesus (19:14; see 18:1, 4 and 20:21). Third, in it benefaction is practiced (13:11; 11:25-27), albeit a benefaction quite different from that practiced by rulers in the world (20:25-26). Fourth, The ancestors of the kingdom are well remembered, both patriarchs (8:11) and monarchs such as David and Solomon (6:29; 12:3, 42). Finally, Jesus describes the great triumphal approach () of the vindicated monarch (24:27, 37, 39). Thus a large part of Jesus' speech concerns the "public"-political world in which Matthew insists that Jesus has a valid right to speak.
3.4.3 The Honor Component in Jesus' Public Speech. Finally, we briefly consider the times when Jesus redefines the prevailing male value of honor. I have argued elsewhere that Jesus began his Sermon on the Mount declaring "honorable" those who were dishonored for his sake (5:3-12; Neyrey 1998:164-87; Hanson 1996). Moreover he called off the typical games whereby males pursued honor, physical, sexual and verbal aggression (5:21-48; Neyrey 1998:190-211), and he demanded that his disciples on select occasions vacate the playing field where honor is claimed and awarded (6:1-18; Neyrey 1998:212-28). While the content of this first public discourse is about the male value of honor, Jesus discredits conventional honor-gaining and honor-maintaining behavior. In this regard he challenges much of the prevailing male gender stereotype.
Jesus' redefinition of honor constitutes the commanding feature of other remarks, namely Jesus' teaching of "the Way" on his way to Jerusalem. Although Jesus spoke often to crowds "outdoors," he gave distinctive teaching to the inner circle of disciples whom he leads to Jerusalem. Matthew bracketed this material about Jesus' "way" in terms of the group addressed (i.e., inner circle), the time when it was spoken (after Caesarea Philippi and before Jerusalem) and the locale (on route to Jerusalem). Of what does Jesus' new honor code consist? We confess to seeing in Jesus' teaching on the way to Jerusalem (16:21-20:28) a new code of honor and shame.
16:21-28 honor comes from taking up one's cross and imitating Jesus
17:14-20 shame comes from having too little "faith"
17:24-27 honor comes from taking tribute, shame from paying taxes
18:1-6 honor comes from being worthless, like a child
18:7-9 discipleship may require the shame of loss of an honorable limb
18:15-20 the honorable (i.e., private) way of correcting deviants
18:21-35 honor comes from forgiveness of wrongs, not vengeance
19:1-9/10-12 honor through sexual aggression denied disciples
19:16-30 honor comes from loss of wealth and power
20:1 - 16 generous patrons impartially share their wealth, showing no favoritism
20:20-28 honor comes from being last and servant of all.
Most of this instruction seems concerned with the issues of stratification and social location, generally a male concern. The "greatest in the kingdom of heaven" is not the ruler or leader, but a "worthless" child (18:1-6). Although kings of the earth take tribute and do not pay taxes (17:25), Jesus and his followers, who now are reckoned among that elite, still pay the shekel tax. Jesus denies session at his right and hands to James and John (20:20-23). The "great ones" and the "first" should be like Jesus, the servant and last of all (20:25-28). The creation of a new social hierarchy challenges that of the public-political world, in keeping with which Jesus denies all elite titles and power to his disciples (23:8-12). Other examples of Jesus' new social hierarchy include:
1. last is first, first is last (19:30; 20:16)
2. least is greatest, greatest is least (18:1-4)
3. humbled is exalted, exalted is humbled (23:12)
4. servant is "a great one" (20:26) or greatest (23:11); slave is first (20:27).
5. no one is greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom
of heaven is greater than he (11:1).
A social hierarchy there is, which is now based on values not thought of as male or honorable. This constitutes, then, the most egregious variance of Jesus from the male stereotype.
Other materials, however, touch on the manly virtue of courage. Honorable courage is required to face trials (16:21-26), to lose face and worth (18:7-9), to forego vengeance in favor of pardon (18:20-35), to foreswear sexual aggression (19:4-12), and to lose wealth, a typical mark of honor (19:16-30). But clearly most of the remarks of Jesus "on the way" to Jerusalem serve to redefine "honor" for males in the kingdom of God.
This material is all the more striking in view of the "love of honor" (µ) which characterized the ancients (Neyrey 1988:16-19), and Jesus regularly discourses on it. He knows that it is "love of honor" which drives people to public display of socially commended actions. Some practice their piety in public "in order to be seen by men" (6:1, 2, 5, 16). Similarly, Jesus criticizes the Pharisees for their love of honor: They do all their deeds to be seen by men; they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, and they love the places of honor at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues, salutations in the market place and being called rabbi by men (23:5-7). These Pharisees appear to be no different from other males in the ancient world: they dress for success, seek prominent social space, and thrive on public acknowledgment of their worth. Even Jesus laments the loss of his share of it when he is not acknowledged at home (13:57). But Matthew relentlessly portrays Jesus opposing this part of the male stereotype. Therefore, we see that the bulk of Jesus' public speech directly engages the conventions of male honor. All, including Jesus and God, seek acknowledgment of their worth, role, and status by others. What differs in Matthew is the reform of the honor code. Jesus' discourse on honor is a male gender phenomenon in their "private" outdoors and "public"-political realms.
4.0 Summary and Conclusions
From this study of gender in antiquity we draw the following conclusions. 1. We have clearly in view a stereotype of a radically gender-divided world. The stereotype, moreover, was replicated the basic institutions of antiquity (politics and kinship), and structured the whole lives of males and females, their roles, places, tasks and tools. The corollary to this was a set of the social expectations shared by all according to which both males and females would be evaluated and either praised or blamed.
2. Our ancient informants describe a simple stereotype of gender-divided space (i.e., males/public and females/private), in that male tasks take them "out of doors," whereas female tasks focus them "indoors." Our data urge us to nuance this, for males belong in three places: "public"-political, "private"-household and "private"-association. Females belong only to the "private"-household world, even if tasks take them out of the house. Thus males are not simply "public" as the ancient stereotypes suggest, but move in and out of relationship to both the political world and the world of the household. The same is not true for females.
3. In regard to Jesus, Matthew rarely locates him "inside" and mentions no duties which he has toward his household, either to mother, wife or children. He appears in the "private" world of non-related males and females (e.g., in marketplaces, synagogues, dining rooms or traveling to wilderness, mountains, temple and the like). Moreover, Matthew credits Jesus with an exalted role and status which belong to persons in the public-political world. Thus, in our analysis, Jesus has nothing to do with the institution of kinship, except to encourage disciples to stand against its pressures to conform. Thus, Matthew presents the male Jesus in both public and private space, the public-political and a private-association realms.
4. Jesus' actions are generally those expected of honorable, public males. He performs splendidly in the local game of push-and-shove, that is, the challenge and riposte exchange (Neyrey 1998a; Malina and Neyrey 1988:71-91). His adversaries are generally socially prominent people, whose hostility to Jesus only raises his status.
5. One of the striking features of Matthew' s presentation of Jesus is his public voice. Jesus' audiences regularly credit him with public voice by comparing him with others: "he taught them as one with authority, and not as their scribes" (7:29). Although the contents of his speech cover a wide range of topics, two aspects stand out. First, he speaks often about the kingdom of God, which we consider a genuinely political topic. His high-status, political roles as "Son of God," "King of Israel," "Son of David" and "Christ" go hand in hand with this discourse. Second, the cultural value of honor was a constant features in Jesus' discourse. His remarks on honor, however, often conflict with those of the great code of honor to which all males in some fashion were socialized. Jesus reforms aspects of the code by declaring that certain behaviors honorable in the eyes of one's family and peers are not praiseworthy before God, and vice-versa.
This study, then, contributes to the study of gender in antiquity by making salient what the ancients understood by male gender, which as an historical matter should not be left to intuition or political correctness. The gender stereotype of a totally divided world is an historical fact. In light of this, Matthew portrays the male Jesus as most honorable: he acts where honorable males should act ("outside" and in public); he behaves as males should, whether in challenge-riposte exchanges or with socially approved voice to speak boldly and authoritatively. Jesus may seem not to conform to the gender stereotype when he demands of his followers that they: 1. eschew male games of physical and sexual aggression to gain honor; 2. vacate the public forum to perform their piety; 3. endure shameful actions, such as ostracization, 4. forsaking family wealth, 5. become lowly and serve others. But these shameful actions actually become the way to honor in the eyes of God and Jesus. Thus knowing the ancient gender stereotype allows a reader of Matthew to assess the gospel presentation of Jesus as an ideal, honorable male.
|[H]uman beings live not in the open air, like beasts, but obviously need shelter. Nevertheless, those who mean to win store to fill the covered place, have need of someone to work at the open-air occupations; since plowing, sowing, planting and grazing are all such open-air employments; and these supply the needful food. Then again, as soon as this is stored in the covered place, then there is need for someone to keep it and to work at the things that must be done under cover. Cover is needed for the nursing of the infants; cover is needed for the making of corn into bread, and likewise for the manufacture of clothing from the wool. And since both the indoor and the outdoor tasks demand labour and attention, God from the first adapted the woman's nature, I think, to the indoor and man's to the outdoor tasks and cares" (Xenophon, Oeconomicus 7.19-22)||For Providence has made man stronger and woman weaker, so that he in virtue of his manly prowess may be more ready to defend the home, and she, by reason of her timid nature, more ready to keep watch over it; and while he brings in fresh supplies from without, she may keep safe what lies within. In handicrafts again, woman was given a sedentary patience, though denied stamina for endurance of exposure; while man, though inferior to her in quiet employments, is endowed with vigour for every active occupation. In the production of children both share alike; but each makes a different contribution to their upbringing. It is the mother who nurtures, and the father who educates" (Aristotle, Oeconomica 1.3.4 (1343b 30 - 1344a 9).||Market-places and council-halls and law-courts and gatherings and meetings where a large number of people are assembled, and open-air life with full scope for discussion and action -- all these are suitable to men both in war and peace. The women are best suited to the indoor life which never strays from the house, within which the middle door is taken by the maidens as their boundary, and the outer door by those who have reached full womanhood (Philo, Special Laws 3.169).||Before anything else I should speak about the occupations by which a household is maintained. They should be divided in the usual manner, namely, to the husband should be assigned those which have to do with agriculture, commerce, and the affairs of the city; to the wife those which have to do with spinning and the preparation of food, in short, those of a domestic nature (Hierocles, On Duties (4:28.21).|
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