- Dear John Lupia,
Thank you very much for your erudite reply to my suggestion about the
female slave who questioned Peter.
I have one or two problems.
1) I can find no references to female 'doorkeepers' or 'porters' in the
LXX or the OT. There was one reference in Josephus, Antiquities 7.48,
where the woman was keeping watch over Ishbosheth. (She went to sleep
and he was murdered.)
I'm not sure that women slaves keeping watch at a doorway were on the
same level as 'porters' who, in the OT, do not seem to be slaves. I
cannot agree that the role of 'nomenclatores' could possibly apply to
this female slave.
2) I am not sure that the word of a female slave would have any worth in
a Roman court. Certainly in a Hebrew court, any free woman's testimony
had to be ratified by two suitable men.
3) I stand by my assertion that, in Hebrew households, the chore of
footwashing was a female responsibility. When Jesus visits Martha and
Mary (Luke 10:38f), who took off his sandals and washed his feet?
Lazarus was clearly not there. It must have been Mary, the younger
sister. When Peter escapes from jail and goes to Mary's house, Rhoda, a
female slave, goes to the outer door to answer the knocking. She hears
Peter's voice and tears back inside. When those in the household are
convinced it is Peter and not some authority come to threaten them, they
do not send Rhoda back but go themselves to let Peter in. Rhoda does not
seem to me to be a 'doorkeeper' here. (Acts 12:12f)
John, I do not believe I have reduced the role of the 'doorkeeper' at
all. I have tried to show that the word 'doorkeeper' is not used
elsewhere in the Bible for any woman. This woman was a slave. Her word
as a woman was not valued. I find it interesting that the next time
Peter is questioned, it is by a group of army officers standing around
the fire. Thus the word of a woman is supported by several appropriate
men. The final time, Peter is questioned by a male slave. It is then
that the cock crows. There is no way that Peter could ever claim he
never denied Jesus. He could not plead the ravings of a female slave, or
even of a male one.
What we have here is an unusual situation with a female slave watching
at the entrance to the courtyard of the high priest's palace. All I have
tried to do is find what the significance of this incident is within the
overall purpose of the FG.
Anyway, thanks John for your work. Let's agree to differ on a couple of
Ross Saunders from DownUnder.