Feminist Interpretation Of Nia And Luke's Acts Chapter 16

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Acts chapter 16 contains a story of an unnamed slave-girl who was following Paul and Silas. When read with a feminist interpretation, the seemingly minor text revealed unique and problematic power differentials between the girl and the other characters. Every character in the story used the girl for a purpose, which illustrated the power differentials. The spirit of divination that possessed her used her to speak through, the apostle Paul used her by casting out her spirit, the owners used and owned her fortunetelling abilities, and Luke, the author of the text, used her to progress the story and eliminated her voice.
Rather than referring to the slave-girl as “the slave-girl,” she has been named Nia, which means, “purpose” in Swahili. She was specifically named Nia to reflect that she was used for the purposes of the other characters in the text. Nia was possessed with a spirit of divination that allowed her to be a fortuneteller or medium. Although fortunetelling was condemned in Scripture, for example Deuteronomy 18: 9-11, 2 Kings 17:17, and Leviticus 19:3; it is assumed that the skill of
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The story led to the imprisonment of Paul and Silas. Luke, the author of Acts, used Nia to continue the progression of the story. She was not a believable messenger; her words were not valid, possibly because she was a woman. Luke took away her voice; again, it is possibly because she was a woman. She had little power of her life and in the lives of those around her. The story was not about her, it was about Paul and Silas. She was used as an object, which had something taken away, to progress the story for the author’s needs. The author needed Paul and Silas to do something that would cause them to be imprisoned, so that they could become heroes later in Acts. Nia was an easy way to achieve that. She was a slave girl, so nobody cared what happened to her or how she was used in the

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