On Distracting and Disappearing Joy: An Exegetical Comparison of the Ethiopian Eunuch and the Slave-Girl Rhoda in Acts

in Horizons in Biblical Theology
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While the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8 and the slave-girl Rhoda in Acts 12 are not commonly compared or connected, they both present a distinctive expression of joy in the face of great opposition and oppression. It is argued that their overwhelming expressions of joy that drove them to distraction are not best understood as simple responses to recent events or experiences in their narratives, i.e. non-cognitive emotion, but rather as willful and decisive proclamations demonstrative of their character, values, and worldview, i.e. cognitive emotion. In this way, their joyful behavior was a means of asserting their inclusion into the communities and culture that marginalized them. Despite their sudden disappearance from the text, their last words and actions were of joy and vindication, which continue to stand as their legacy and challenge.

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