I have inadvertently found myself in a debate on Twitter about the differences of the term 'slavery' in the biblical sense and the way that we think of it today. Does anybody have any proof that this word has changed definitions over the past 2000 years? 

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When this country was first settled, indentured servants were brought over from Europe, long before this country ever had a constitution, and constitutionality has no bearing on the definition, which involves voluntarily submitting to serve a specific period of time for agreed-upon compensation.

To the best of my knowledge, there was nothing about indentured servitude that involved buying and selling such contracts - if you have information that will support your claim, I would like to hear it.

I was drafted into military service - just because my involuntary servitude was "Constitutional" didn't make my time any more my own. I've had friends who were killed and somehow, the "Constitutionality" of their deaths didn't make them any less dead.

Normally, I ignore your posts Feenstra, but this time, I decided to go back and review a few of them, and the one thing the majority of them appear to have in common, regardless of the subject of the thread, is that they rarely contribute anything positive to the discussion at hand, but seem more inclined toward criticizing the posts of others. Possibly you have some issues you may need to resolve.

From what I've read - and no, I can't cite sources, it was years ago - many of the colonists made their indenture agreements while still in Europe, before sailing to America, or made them through a broker afterward. I've read of no instances where servants were indentured to the ship's captain, who then sold their contracts.

Possibly you have more current sources?

Kris, military service is a sanitized form of indentured servitude.  It is modernized, just as labor laws have placed some limitations on what conditions laborers could work in, when they were not an aspect of original working conditions during the time of Upton Sinclair.

Modern forms of indentured servitude like military service have evolved, but the government still owns you.  It has restrictions as to what it can do with you and will technically deny you are owned, but it still owns you.  You still have to fulfill it's every demand just as a slave would.  The only difference is technicalities that do not change the essence of the relationship.  It can order you to die.

RE: "It can order you to die"

It tried; I declined.

This is what I am talking about Kris.  Points in conversations are often connected to previous points as thought progression occurs, that isn't something you would consider strange.  The discussion at the moment is a thought progression based on my first post.

But the "figured it all out" comment has to do with your employing the verb "to be" and so making a definitive statement.  That can only occur when someone thinks they have the conversation all figured out.  Otherwise they express less confidence.

It can be avoided though, if you just say "I haven't read everything here yet, but it doesn't make sense to me because slavery and indentured servitude seem very different from each other.

But if you had something that was true and it blew everything out of the water, I wouldn't be upset if you were overconfident either.  I just hate overconfidence if it becomes an interference to the absorption of accurate information for yourself or others.  But in this case I just have to redirect you to my first post.

The post does address your point.  For the purpose of the Greek under discussion and for hundreds of years they have been defined as both being slavery.  What is under discussion is what the bible says about slavery.

Saying slavery and servitude are not the same, ignores that for the subject matter at hand, they must be.

So if you were making a point about English definitions, it is very off topic.  When you are dealing with multiple languages, one language's definition is more of an opinion than a fact.  Since we are discussing more than English here, English is not definitive.

But saying slavery is different kind of misses the point that for hundreds of years, it wasn't to a large chunk of civilization that did more than pontificate on it, but rather actually practiced both and saw servants as slaves.  This is also the case for the Hebrew language and the word Ebed, so it wasn't just Greece.  The world that practiced slavery saw them as falling both under the umbrella of slavery.  

But you are saying that they aren't the same thing.  Both essentially own a person, and there is much to be said as seeing them them as both being related on principle as the Greeks clearly made no distinction.  

There was a time when a wife was considered property as well.  That isn't what a wife is defined by.  The essence of a slave isn't that the slave is your property.  It is that they are at your beck and call and may not refuse an order.  It is you owning their lives, more than it is you owning them specifically as persons.  Anyone in the military who doesn't think the government owns their lives to do their bidding for the duration of their enlistment is kidding themselves.

But this is certain.  Indentured servitude and slavery is the same thing according to  Koine Greek.  It is one word.  The thread is about what the bible says about slavery. In the passages under scrutiny, indentured servitude and slavery are the same word, as are masters also. 

Saying military service is not a type of indentured servitude is a dismissal of the obvious.  Saying that indentured servitude is not a type of slavery is also a dismissal of the obvious.  Slavery concerns owning ones life for the purpose of labor far more than it does concern owning one as property for the purpose of being a trade-able commodity.  The latter is an afterthought compared to the former.

In this, modern English definitions fail to grasp the essence of what a slave has been through history.  They are more interested in pointing out what in slavery appears most offensive to modern understanding, than the essence of slavery that slave-holding cultures saw more clearly.

I also need to point out that indentured servitude isn't merely "the most lenient" intepretation, it is a frequently appropriate interpretation at the same time.  Everyone, from indentured servants, to lifelong mine workers were all called slaves.

In Feenstra's defense, I'M the one who began discussing English indentured servitude, it's the form with which I'm most familiar --

Yeah, but I am talking English as in the language and it's definitions, rather than British.  Kris argued that his original objection was not ignoring thought progression as it was a context-free observation about the definitive meaning of the term, when he then appealed to its modern definition in our language.

The argument I made is that one can't use a singular language or the language of a singular era as a definitive boundary-setter when the use of a term spreads across centuries and multiple languages and the conversation itself concerns multiple languages and eras. 

Apparently you've gone to some effort to research this topic, and I don't mean to minimize the significance of it, but it's late here and I have a big day tomorrow that involves getting up early. I would not do justice to it if I tried to read and respond to it tonight - I will have to continue this later tomorrow, most likely in the evening.

@Kris Feenstra - sorry for the delay, but even a fossil needs, once in a while, to take a day off and have some fun, which I did.

I read both of your articles, and in the second one, though I found that in the case of debtors, those people might have been sold into indentured servitude to repay debts, and prisoners scheduled to die for crimes as petty as stealing a single shilling, could opt for indenturhood (is that even a word?), the majority, in fact, voluntarily sold themselves, albeit in some instances to the captain, to be resold later.

"In practice, the servant would sell himself to an agent or ship captain before leaving the British Isles. In turn, the contract would be sold to a buyer in the colonies to recover the cost of the passage."

I've never known you to apologize for anything, but I was under the impression (without going back and recovering your original post) that you were saying that as it was involuntary, it was slavery, and it was my intention to prove that it was not, in every case, involuntary.

Not that any of this has anything to do with the original premise, which, as I recall, was how has the concept of slavery changed since Biblical times.

No apology is necessary.

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