Fortress Press

Slavery in Early Christianity: Expanded Edition

Slavery in Early Christianity

Expanded Edition

Jennifer A. Glancy (Author), Daniel José Camacho (Foreword by)


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A classic work that exposed the centrality of enslaved people and slaveholders in early Christian circles. In this expanded edition, the distinguished scholar Jennifer A. Glancy reflects upon recent discoveries and future trajectories related to the study of ancient slavery's impact on Christianity's development.

What if the stories traditionally told about slavery, as something peripheral or contradictory to Christianity's emergence, are wrong? This book contends that some of the most cherished Christian texts from Jesus and the apostle Paul prioritized the perspectives of slaveholders. Jennifer A. Glancy highlights how the strong metaphorical uses of slavery in early Christian discourse can't be disconnected from the reality of enslaved people and their bodies. Deftly maneuvering among biblical texts, material evidence, and the literary and philosophical currents of the Greco-Roman world, she situates early Christian slavery in its broader cultural setting.

Glancy's penetrating study into slavery's impact on early Christianity, from the pages of the New Testament to the branded collars used by Christians who held people in bondage, will be of interest to those asking questions about slavery, power, and freedom in the long arc of history.

  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9798889830887
  • eBook ISBN 9798889830894
  • Dimensions 6 x 9
  • Pages 318
  • Publication Date March 12, 2024


This book remains genuinely a classic for its historiographical sophistication, historical insights, exegetical acuity, groundbreaking topics, and relevant ethics. As if these qualities were not enough, this work continues to challenge historians, interpreters, and theologians to revise their assumptions about the politics of early Christian literature.

Luis Menéndez-Antuña, assistant professor of New Testament, Boston University

There is no other way to say it: Slavery in Early Christianity is both paradigm shattering and the beginning of a new map for Christian scripture studies. Richly researched, devastatingly relevant, lucidly written, Glancy's work continues to challenge and inspire a new generation of creative scholarship and necessary activism. This expanded edition illuminates the wide-ranging influence of Glancy's clarion call to wrestle with slavery as a pervasive logic in New Testament texts and Christian histories.

Katherine A. Shaner, associate professor of New Testament, Wake Forest University, and author of Enslaved Leadership in Early Christianity