Women in the Apostolic Fathers: Introduction

In the formative years between the time of the Apostles of Jesus and the Apologists of Christianity stand a number of texts which reflect the labor of early Church leaders as they attempted to outline acceptable ethics and what it meant to be the Christian Church. Long neglected, in recent decades scholars have turned toContinue reading “Women in the Apostolic Fathers: Introduction”

Marriage, Virginity, and Rhetoric for Gregory of Nyssa

This post is part of an ongoing series reflecting upon Women and Gender in Early Christianity. This post reflects on Morwenna Ludlow’s “Useful and Beautiful: A Reading of Gregory of Nyssa’s On Virginity and a Proposal for Understanding Early Christian Literature”,[1] which argues that Gregory defends both marriage and virginity through employment of artful andContinue reading “Marriage, Virginity, and Rhetoric for Gregory of Nyssa”

Montantism and the Authority of (Female) Confessor-Martyrs

This post is part of an ongoing series reflecting upon Women and Gender in Early Christianity. In “The Role of Martyrdom and Persecution in Developing the Priestly Authority of Women in Early Christianity: A Case Study in Montanism,”[1] Frederick Klawiter contends that from its beginnings Montanism enabled women to rise to ministerial status through theirContinue reading “Montantism and the Authority of (Female) Confessor-Martyrs”

Gnosticism, Women, and Elaine Pagels

This post is part of an ongoing series reflecting upon Women and Gender in Early Christianity. For today’s reflection, I outline and reflect on Elaine Pagels’ “What Became of God as Mother? Conflicting Images of God in Early Christianity.”[1] In so doing I argue that while Pagels’ approach to the question of the divine feminineContinue reading “Gnosticism, Women, and Elaine Pagels”

The Acts of Paul and Pastoral Epistles

This post is part of an ongoing series reflecting upon Women and Gender in Early Christianity. In his article “I Permit No Woman to Teach Except for Thecla: The Curious Case of the Pastoral Epistles and the Acts of Paul Reconsidered” (Novum Testamentum 54 (2012): 176-203), Matthijs den Dulk offers a reanalysis of the relationshipContinue reading “The Acts of Paul and Pastoral Epistles”

Pheobe the Deacon

This post is part of an ongoing series reflecting upon Women and Gender in Early Christianity. Pheobe the διάκονος: Reflections on a Program for Assessing Deaconesses in EC In the article “Deacons, Deaconesses, and Denominational Discussions,”[1] Clarence Agan III tackles the often controversial topic of NT women’s service is diaconal roles, employing Paul’s reference toContinue reading “Pheobe the Deacon”

A Feminist Introduction to Paul

This post is part of an ongoing series reflecting upon Women and Gender in Early Christianity. In her A Feminist Introduction to Paul (St. Louis: Chalice, 2005. 159 pp.), Sandra Hack Polaski outlines some of the major feminist concerns with the Apostle Paul and his writings. Methodologically, Polaski advocates a “transformative” reading of Paul whichContinue reading “A Feminist Introduction to Paul”

Women in the Greco-Roman Context

This post is part of an ongoing series reflecting upon Women and Gender in Early Christianity. One particular problem for establishing an adequate understanding of the Greco-Roman world constitutes the paucity of source materials and then, of course, the difficulties of interpreting that source material. This is especially true with regard to source material specificallyContinue reading “Women in the Greco-Roman Context”

Reflections on Method, Women, and Early Christianity

Over the next several weeks, I’ll be running a series of reflections stemming from a doctoral seminar on Women and Gender in Early Christianity, taught at Saint Louis University by Carolyn Osiek. These posts will proceed in (more or less) chronological order, beginning with today’s reflections on methodology. Introducing a “special edition” of Method andContinue reading “Reflections on Method, Women, and Early Christianity”

Book Review: The Body and Society (Brown)

In the updated 20th anniversary edition of his classic work, The Body and Society: Men, Women, and Sexual Renunciation in Early Christianity, Peter Brown examines the “practice of permanent sexual renunciation—continence, celibacy, life-long virginity” that developed in Christian circles from the first through fifth centuries.[1] In this work, Brown examines a vast array of perspectivesContinue reading “Book Review: The Body and Society (Brown)”