Her Share of the Blessings: Women's Religions among Pagans, Jews, and Christians in the Greco-Roman World (Oxford Paperbacks)
Ross Shepard Kraemer
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In this pathbreaking volume, Ross Shepard Kraemer provides the first comprehensive look at women's religions in Greco-Roman antiquity. She vividly recreates the religious lives of early Christian, Jewish, and pagan women, with many fascinating examples: Greek women's devotion to goddesses, rites of Roman matrons, Jewish women in rabbinic and diaspora communities, Christian women's struggles to exercise authority and autonomy, and women's roles as leaders in the full spectrum of Greco-Roman religions. In every case, Kraemer reveals the connections between the social constraints under which women lived, and their religious beliefs and practices.
The relationship among female autonomy, sexuality, and religion emerges as a persistent theme. Analyzing the monastic Jewish Therapeutae and various Christian communities, Kraemer demonstrates the paradoxical liberation which women achieved by rejection of sexuality, the body, and the female. In the epilogue, Kraemer pursues the disturbing implications such findings have for contemporary women.
Based on an astonishing variety of primary sources, Her Share of the Blessings is an insightful work that goes beyond the limitations of previous scholarship to provide a more accurate portrait of women in the Greco-Roman world.
determine what cultic offices existed among the Montanists. We have examined Epiphanius' report that groups he associated with Priscilla and the otherwise unknown female prophet named Quintilla had women bishops, presbyters, and so forth.26 Whether Epiphanius's description applies to the second century is almost impossible to tell: some scholars think that Quintilla was a later prophet and that this passage cannot be safely read back into the second century.27 On the basis of Epiphanius, Elsa
foreign lands already participated in this particular form of homage to Dionysos. From the behavior of the possessed women in the play, other aspects of Dionysiac ecstasy may be deduced. In a state of temporary insanity, women left their homes, abandoned nursing infants, relieving their overflowing breasts by nursing wild animals instead, fled dancing to the mountains in bands led by a chief maenad, wore the ritual garments described earlier, consumed honey, wine, and milk, and engaged in
date.97 Of all the titles Brooten analyzes, this is the only one that may conceivably honor the person so called without connoting any specific duties or obligations. But as she also points out, if the title is "honorary" it must be so both Jewish Women 's Religious Lives and Offtees 121 for fathers of the synagogue and for mothers.98 In fact, the primary reason scholars traditionally interpreted "father of the synagogue" as honorary was precisely because it was the male correlate of "mother
After the death of Jesus, women who joined a Christian community found themselves within a restructured version of the Greco-Roman household, both literally (to some extent) and figuratively. The letters of Paul demonstrate that early Christian communities were centered in the homes of individuals whose houses could accommodate such a gathering, although it is hard for us to say just how many persons gathered and just how large a house would have been needed. The familial terminology Christians
opaque to parents for whom "radical" referred to politics or mathematics, and "dude" to ranches. Where things must be spelled out explicitly, the level of grid is likely to be relatively low." Grid also measures the value of individual autonomy and the strength of free interactions between individuals. At high grid, individual autonomy is neither valued nor present in reality. Strong grid is "visible in the segregated places and times and physical signs of discriminated rank, such as clothing and