This volume examines the prevalence, function, and socio-political effects of slavery discourse in the major theological formulations of the late third to early fifth centuries AD, arguably the most formative period of early Christian doctrine. The question the book poses is this: in what way did the Christian theologians of the third, fourth, and early fifth centuries appropriate the discourse of slavery in their theological formulations, and what could the effect of this appropriation have been for actual physical slaves? This fascinating study is crucial reading for anyone with an interest in early Christianity or Late Antiquity, and slavery more generally.

chapter 1|39 pages

Introducing early Christian doulology

Slavery to God, doulological classifications, and early Christian identity

chapter 2|38 pages

Savior or slave?

Philippians 2:6–11 and the problem of slavery in Origen’s Christology

chapter 3|26 pages

Emancipating the Spirit

Slavery and early Christian pneumatology in Eunomius and Basil of Caesarea

chapter 4|42 pages

The curse of Ham (Gen. 9:18–27)

Slavery, sin, and punishment in John Chrysostom, Augustine, and the Cave of Treasures

chapter 5|5 pages


The unbound God