Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Paidagogos in Gal. 3.24

Commentaries on Gal. 3.24 frequently draw attention to the negative portrayal of the paidagogos or "guardian" in extant literature as they were often harsh and brutal in their disciplining of youngsters. Nonetheless, some paidagogoi had a genuine affection for those in their care and while many children loathed their nurses or guardians, others developed a very strong bond with them, in some cases, a relationship stronger than with their biological parents. This is evidence by at least one inscription where an epitaph was erected by the paedagogus of a girl betrothed to marry, no less than, the Roman emperor Claudius, but unfortunately died prematurely. It reads:

"Who died on the day when the later Emperor Claudius was to have married her ... To Medullina, daughter of Camillus, espoused to Tiberius Claudius Nero Germanicus. The freedman of Acratus, her paedogogus."

Cited from CIL 10.6561 and Peter Balla, The Child-Parent Relationship in the NT and its Environment, p. 43, n. 10.


Anonymous said...


jrrdodson said...

Is this not but an exception which proves the rule?

Michael F. Bird said...

Yeah probably. I'm not arguing that paidagogos is positive in Galatians. I'm just saying that there are SOME positive references!