A Postcolonial Re-Reading of Ephesians 6:5-9 in the Light of Teachers’ Service in Nigeria
Although the authorship of the epistle of Ephesians has been contested, this paper holds that Paul is the author of the epistle. This paper focuses on one aspect of the household codes in Ephesians on the issue of δοῦλος „slave‟ and Κύριός „master‟, which is showing Roman Empire ideology of inequality between the employees and employers relationships. The relationship was related to the particular ways in which employee and employer were constructed according to hierarchical notions, seen to provide the framework for a relationship which is relevant to the Nigerian hierarchy. Slavery was perceived to provide continuity and stability within the social order both during the Graeco-Roman time and present Nigerian context. Despite the various interpretations of Ephesians 6:5-9, it has often tolerated an uncritical stance on cultural-historical biases during its patriarchal history of interpretation. Therefore, dynamic processes of interpretation and reinterpretation within this epistle have often been neglected as important hermeneutic keys for contemporary Nigerian readers. Did Paul in a systematic way endorse slavery in Ephesians? This paper argues that Paul supported both the institution of slavery by legitimizing the role of the slaves to the relationship with Christ. This study examines the Nigerian context to explore possible new kinds of slavery found in the teachers' service which may be equivalent, wicked and more deadly than the treatment of slaves by their masters in Ephesus. In view of postcolonial criticism, this paper argues that the code serves as an ongoing invitation to resist any form of exploitation in Nigeria as well as ancient Roman Empire, the text serves as a yardstick for re-imagination of the teacher service in the Nigerian context.
Keywords: Postcolonial, Ephesians, Teachers‟ service, Nigeria