Women, the Roman Empire, and Early Christianity
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Disclaimer: Some links jump to outside sites for further information on Corinthians, the Bible, Paul, and other resources. Links do not constitute an endorsement by the Women's Division of the information on other web sites. External web sites offer us diverse perspectives; afford us an opportunity to compare them to United Methodist positions; and, encourage us to critically analyze the issues raised by the Corinthians web pages.
- Annotated Bibliography: Women in the Early Church Compiled by Fr. William Harmless, S.J.., Spring Hill College
An extensive listing of key books.
- The Apostolic Life
Chapter 1, background about women and the early church, of the book Sisters in Arms Catholic Nuns Through Two Millennia by Jo Ann Kay McNamara
- Death and the Maidens: Women Martyrs and Their Sexual Identity in the Early Christian Period by Sarah Barnett
This paper looks at women martyrs in relation to two things. Firstly the sexualising of their punishment by the Roman authorities. And secondly the downplaying of martyrdom and the ‘making male' of women martyrs by Christians.
- In Memory of Her
Short excerpts from Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza's classic feminist book
- Jesus and Courageous Women
Resources for United Methodist Women's spiritual growth study, 2001-2002.
- On the Apparel of Women, Christian Classics Ethereal Library
In the opening words before telling women what they should wear, Tertullian makes the following infamous remarks: "And do you not know that you are (each) an Eve? The sentence of God on this sex of yours lives in this age: the guilt must of necessity live too. You are the devil's gateway: you are the unsealer of that (forbidden) tree: you are the first deserter of the divine law: you are she who persuaded him whom the devil was not valiant enough to attack. You destroyed so easily God's image, man. On account of your desert-that is, death-even the Son of God had to die."
- On the Veiling of Virgins, Christian Classics Ethereal Library
Includes an interpretation of 1 Corinthians 11:5-16 and Of the Reasons Assigned by the Apostle for Bidding Women to Be Veiled, where he comments, "If 'the man is head of the woman,' of course (he is) of the virgin too, from whom comes the woman who has married; unless the virgin is a third generic class, some monstrosity with a head of its own."
- Roles for Women, PBS Frontline, "From Jesus to Christ"
A variety of scholars on women and house churches, Paul and Thecla, Paul and Galatians 3:28, and much more.
- Women in Ancient Christianity: The New Discoveries, PBS Frontline, "From Jesus to Christ"
In the last twenty years, the history of women in ancient Christianity has been almost completely revised. As women historians entered the field in record numbers, they brought with them new questions, developed new methods, and sought for evidence of women's presence in neglected texts and exciting new findings.
- Women in Early Christianity
An annotated bibliography: there are many works on feminist theology and on early Christianity which include relevant sections; this list gives only some of the most useful recent publications.
- Women in Late Antiquity: Pagan and Christian Lifestyles
Excerpts from a book by Gillian Clark
Paul and Women
- Paul and Corinthian Women's Head Coverings, Conflict and Community in the Corinthian Church
If Paul wanted the Corinthian women prophets to wear head coverings, he may have been asking them to follow the customs of the dominant Greco-Roman culture.
- Paul and Corinthian Women's Hairstyles, Conflict and Community in the Corinthian Church
A look at the archaeological evidence for women's hairstyles worn in Paul's day to help understand his comments about the Corinthian women prophets.
- The History of Women Deacons
A short summary written from a Roman Catholic perspective
- Paul and Marriage: A Feminist Hermeneutical Reading of I Corinthians 7:1-7 by Carolyn Stover
For Paul, the concept of sexual identity is a moot point. What matters is the underlying mutual commitment to reciprocity in the marriage relationship in Christ. This definitely manifests for the Apostle that there is no male or female in Christ.
- Priscilla and Phoebe Show Us about Paul
Thoughts on this topic, written in a non-academic style
- Acts of Paul and Thecla, Translated probably by Jeremiah Jones (1693-1724), Conflict and Community in the Corinthian Church
This version ends with Thecla's assumption in Syria; the Roberts & Donaldson version below ends with Thecla's dying in Rome and also provides the alternate ending
- Acts of Paul and Thecla, Ante-Nicene Fathers to A.D. 325, Volume VIII,
Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, editors
- The Acts of Thecla: A Pauline Tradition Linked to Women by Nancy A. Carter, Conflict and Community in the Corinthian Church
The Acts of Paul and Thecla is part of a Pauline tradition that provided apostolic blessing for women's leadership roles in the church.
- Acts of Xanthippe, Polyxena, and Rebecca
Some women in Spain hear Paul's preaching and leave their husbands to follow him. Thecla is mentioned too.
- An Antiochene Legacy: Greek Orthodox in Syria Catholic Near East magazine, Volume 25, Number 1
The long-standing tradition of Syrian monastic life continues at the monastery of St. Tekla in Maaloula. A destination for both Christian and Muslim pilgrims, the monastery is named for an early Christian saint — Brikhta, or "the blessed" in Aramaic — who embraced Christianity after hearing of the words and deeds of St. Paul the Apostle.
- The Banquet of the Ten Virgins Or, Concerning Chastity by Methodius, bishop of Olympus in Lycia, Asia Minor (c. 300)
Persons of the Dialogue are: Euboulios, Gregorion, Arete;
Marcella, Theophila, Thaleia, Theopatra, Thallousa, Agathe, Procilla, Thekla, Tusiane, Domnina. Thecla is held up as the chief of virgins and leads them in song.
- BOOK REVIEW: Stephen J. Davis, The Cult of St. Thecla: a Tradition of Women's Piety in Late Antiquity, by Catherine Burris, Vol. 5, No. 2, July 2002.
Stephen Davis' recent book . . . is an important and substantial contribution to our study of the cult of saints in ancient Christianity, and further, to our reconstruction of women's piety during the late antique period.
- Discovery of St. Paul's Grotto in Ephesus, Some Recent Archeological Findings by Professor Renate Pillinger of Austria, translated by Peri Chapar
- St. Thekla the Protomartyr
According to ancient Syrian and Greek manuscripts, Saint Thekla was born into a prosperous pagan family in the Lycaonian city of Iconium (present-day south central Turkey) in A.D. 16.... Because of her many sufferings for the Faith the Orthodox Church counts her as a "Protomartyr". And because she converted so many people to Christianity she is also known as an "Equal-to-the-Apostles."
- Portrait of Paul in Ephesus Cave, Zenit News Agency, May 11, 2000
Inside the cave, there are paintings depicting the Transfiguration and a sequence inspired in the Acts of the Apostles, referring to St. Thecla and St. Paul's preaching. Paul's portrait is one of the best preserved frescoes in the cave.
- Some Further Notes on Thecla in Syriac Christianity, by Catherine Burris and Lucas Van Rompay, Hugoye: Journal of Syriac Studies, Vol. 6, No. 2, July 2003.
This paper is a follow up to an earlier publication in which data related to the Syriac Acts of Thecla and to the cult of Thecla in Syria were provisionally collected and surveyed. Some further data are presented here. They are taken from Syriac literary sources: the letters of Severus of Antioch, a liturgical hymn, and the biography of John of Tella. In addition, the Armenian tradition of the Acts of Thecla is briefly mentioned as a witness to the early Syriac text.
- Stronghold Aainst Time , Cairo Times, January 13-19 2000
Maaloula is one of 3 villages in the world where Aramaic--widely known as the language of Jesus Christ--is still spoken.... A Convent of St. Thecla is located here.
- Women Evangelists in the Early Church by Katherine Riss
Begins with some general background about women in the early church; goes most in depth about Thecla.
- Arena: Gladitorial Games by Barbara McManus
Has information about the execution of Christians in the arena, including women.
- Ovid: On the Painting of the Face, by the famous Roman poet (43 B.C.-A.D. 17)
"Learn, ladies, what care can enhance your appearance, and how your beauty may be preserved...." Also in Latin.
- Women in the Roman World
In the Roman world, women could be rulers’ wives but not rulers, Vestal Virgins but not chief priests, Christian martyrs but not bishops.
- Women in Roman Society
Short Biographies of noble women, warrior queens, soldiers' wives, farmer's daughters, and slaves
- The Vestal Virgins: Handmaidens of the Hearth
Paul's Letters to the Corinthians
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"Corinthians Study Links" has been compiled by the Rev. Nancy A. Carter, Ph.D. Please send suggestions and corrections to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Carter has an M.Div. from Union Theological Seminary in New York City, where she won the Hitchcock Award in Church History. Her Ph.D. is in literary studies (literature and theology) from American University in Washington, D.C. She has authored books for church laity including Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew: Who Do You Say That I Am?, a spiritual growth study for United Methodist Women written with Bishop Leontine T. C. Kelly.