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Philippians lends itself to a political-ideological reading. To take into account that the document is a writing from prison, and to read it from a political-religious and feminist perspective using new language, helps to re-create the letter as if it were a new document. In this analysis Elsa Tamez endeavors to utilize non-patriarchal, inclusive language, which helps us to see the contents of the letter with different eyes.
Cynthia Briggs Kittredge and Claire Miller Colombo argue that Colossians's contradictions and complications provide opportunities for entering imaginatively into the world of first-century Christian women and men. Rather than try to resolve the controversial portions-including the household code-they read the letter's tensions as evidence of lively conversation around key theological, spiritual, and social issues of the time.
Taking into account historical, structural, and rhetorical dimensions of Philemon, Alicia J. Batten argues against the "runaway slave" hypothesis that has so dominated the interpretation of this letter. Paul asks that Onesimus be treated well, but the commentary takes seriously the fact that we never hear what Onesimus's wishes may have been. Slaves throughout history have had similar experiences, as have many women. Like Onesimus, their lives and futures remain in the hands of others, whether those others seek good or ill.
Elsa Tamez is a Mexican-Costarrican New Testament biblical scholar. She is a member of the Methodist church and is professor emerita and former rector of the Latin American Biblical University. She earned her ThD at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland. Her most recent publications include Struggles for Power in Early Christianity (2007); No discriminen a los pobres. Lectura de Santiago (2008); El Nuevo Testamento, Palabra por Palabra, interlineal griego-Español (2012). Among the awards she has received are Prix de Facultá: Universitá de Lausanne (1990); Award of Excellence in Biblical Interpretation, twice (1996, 1997); Hans-Sigrist Award, University of Bern, Switzerland (2000), for her contribution to contextual biblical hermeneutics.
Cynthia Briggs Kittredge is dean and president and professor of New Testament at Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas. She is a contributor to The New Oxford Annotated Bible and Women's Bible Commentary, and the author of Conversations with Scripture: The Gospel of John and Community and Authority: The Rhetoric of Obedience in the Pauline Tradition. She co-edited The Bible in the Public Square: Reading the Signs of the Times and Walk in the Ways of Wisdom: Essays in Honor of Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza. Most recently, she is the co-editor of The Fortress Commentary on the Bible: The New Testament (2014) and author of A Lot of the Way Trees Were Walking: Poems from the Gospel of Mark (2015).
Claire Miller Colombo is director of the Center for Writing and Creative Expression at Seminary of the Southwest, where she also teaches in the areas of theopoetics, theology and literature, and writing. Her articles on English Romantic poetry and drama appear in Studies in Romanticism and Texas Studies in Literature and Language. She is literary co-editor of Theopoetics: A Journal of Theological Imagination, Literature, Embodiment, and Aesthetics and editor of the literary and arts journal Soul by Southwest.
Alicia J. Batten is associate professor of religious studies and theology at Conrad Grebel University College at the University of Waterloo. She is the author of Friendship and Benefaction in James (ESEC 15; Deo, 2010) and What Are they Saying about the Letter of James (Paulist, 2009); she is co-editor (with Carly Daniel-Hughes and Kristi Upson-Saia) of Dressing Judeans and Christians in Antiquity (Ashgate, 2014) and (with John S. Kloppenborg) James, 1 and 2 Peter, and Early Jesus Traditions (T& T Clark/Bloomsbury, 2014).