Roman Honor And Shame Society

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The point of this essay is to describe the honor and shame society that Jesus lived in, and how he challenged the Roman perspective of what honor and shame meant. From the Roman perspective, honor was only achieved through: aristocracy, legal status and wealth. “Dignitas” meaning dignity or prestige, showed how much honor one achieved through these three things. Romans created three categories that would show one were an honorable person: if they were pure and clean, if they were faithful and loyal and if they were strong. Purity and cleanliness didn’t mean whether someone had bathed or not and was literally clean, rather it was an evaluation of cultural acceptability and whether the people of Rome thought that a person had good morals and…show more content…
As discussed in the presentation from the group of Honor and Shame, they bring up the author Neyrey whose article Honor and Shame in the Gospel of Matthew, describes two methods that the peasants in the Roman society used to establish whether one was honorable or not: ascribed and merit. For example, if you were a first-born son, you were attributed honor because of your family’s legacy. The author explains that in order for one to gain more nobility in this peasant society, one would have to shame the honor of someone else, so they challenged one another publicly until one achieved more honor than the other. The Pharisees used these two factors that made one honorable, against Jesus, in order to try and challenge his superiority. This challenge against Jesus is present in Matthew 16:1 The Demand for a Sign, when the Pharisees and Sadducees demand that Jesus produce a sign from heaven that would show his relationship with God and the coming Kingdom he was preaching about. Jesus explained that to request a sign be shown, was evil and shameful and that no sign would be produced because he did not care whether he was seen as honorable or not, since that would be allowing the Roman perspectives of an honor and shame society to come into

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