What pleases God? What offends God? To what is God indifferent? Shaykh Yassir Chadly at Starr King told me at the start of the last semester that proper etiquette was important because it pleases God. I'm not a Muslim, nor do I believe in God in a firm, definite sense. Something about the idea of etiquette being important to God really stuck with me, though, and I'm still mulling it over. What are the rules that govern our relationships with one another? Where do ethics come from? Are they pragmatic constructs, or do they come from a deeper source? Just idle thoughts from an early morning walk home from a late-night beer and bs session with Garrick and Neal.
I mentioned below that Prof. Diane Lipsett delivered a wonderful lecture on the conversation currently taking place between New Testament scholars, family historians, social archaeologists and the like. The title of this post is actually the title of en entire semester-long course taught by Prof. Lipsett, so for our, geez, ninety minute session she condensed her focus to Men, Women, and Children in Ancient Rome. With her permission, I am posting my notes from this lecture below, tweaked a little for readability. Prof. Lipsett is interested in studies of gender formation among non-elites as well as elites, those people about whom we know much less because they did not have the resources or clout to commemorate and study themselves, generally speaking. Roman households were much broader than we conceive of in modern terms, with a wide spectrum of people connected by family and employment living under one roof (the terms domus/eikos/ikea capture this idea of an indiscriminate household