The Pater Familias as a Landowner in the Context of the Slave Laws of the Pentateuch. A Brief Response to Esias E. Meyer


In his review essay on my dissertation, Esias E. Meyer dedicates an important part to discussing the slave laws in the Pentateuch. A key role in his critique is played by his understanding of the term pater familias as “a man with a woman and children.” This, however, is not how I used the term; rather, a pater familias is the head of an extended family with land possession. In this response, I show that landownership is the key to understanding the relationship between the slave laws of the Pentateuch.