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Christian Women in the Patristic World

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From facing wild beasts in the arena to governing the Roman Empire, Christian women--as preachers and philosophers, martyrs and empresses, virgins and mothers--influenced the shape of the church in its formative centuries.

Christian Women in the Patristic World provides in a single volume a nearly complete compendium of extant evidence about Christian women in the second through fifth centuries. Through a careful examination of literary and material evidence, the book highlights the social and theological contributions women made to shaping early Christian beliefs and practices, integrating their influence into the history of the patristic church and showing how their achievements can be edifying for contemporary Christians.

Resource Experts
  • Comprehensive coverage over the first several centuries of the church
  • Detailed examination of the historical evidence and documents
  • Showcases the theological contributions made by the women of the early church
  • Introduction
  • Thecla: Christian Female Protomartyr and Virgin of the Church
  • Perpetua and Felicitas: Mothers and Martyrs
  • Christian Women in Catacomb Art
  • From Pagan to Christian, Martyr to Ascetic
  • Helena Augusta, &lquo;Mother of the Empire&rquo;
  • Egeria's Itinerary and Christian Pilgrimage
  • Macrina the Ascetic Entrepreneur and the "Unlearned" Wisdom of Monica
  • Paula, Marcella, and the Melanias: Ascetics, Scholars, and Compatriots in Controversy
  • Aelia Pulcheria, &lquo;Protectress of the Empire, &rquo; and Empress Eudocia, a Theological Poet
  • Conclusion: Responsibly Remembering
I constantly encourage students and pastors to tell more stories about women in the early church from the pulpit, in classes, and in casual conversations. The common response, which opens a window onto a bleak landscape in their knowledge and in the church's history with women, is this question: 'Where can I find those stories?' Christian Women in the Patristic World is now the answer, as it populates that bleak landscape with dynamic women. This is a book for every pastor's and teacher's bookshelf because it not only tells stories about women but also shows how the early church, which has often been maligned for its reputation when it comes to women, was more formed by women than many know.

—Scot McKnight, Julius R. Mantey Professor of New Testament, Northern Seminary

This engaging volume, accessible to students and general readers alike, highlights the theological contributions of women in the second through the fifth centuries CE. Informed by a thorough knowledge of the ancient historical context, the authors offer a nuanced discussion of the fascinating material. This book sheds new light on aspects of women's influence in early Christian communities, with a specific focus on their roles in theological debate and development.

—Margaret MacDonald, dean of arts, Saint Mary's University

This engaging and readable study of early Christian women is especially appealing because of its attention to a selection of fascinating characters. By adopting this kind of biographical approach, while still supporting their stories with excellent scholarly analysis and helpful historical context, Cohick and Hughes make their subjects--and their times and places--come alive.

—Robin Jensen, Luce Chancellor's Professor of the History of Christian Art and Worship, Vanderbilt University

Lynn H. Cohick (PhD, University of Pennsylvania) is provost/dean and professor of New Testament. She is the author of several books, including Women in the World of the Earliest Christians and commentaries on Philippians and Ephesians. She is also coauthor of The New Testament in Antiquity. Cohick previously taught at Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology.

Amy Brown Hughes (PhD, Wheaton College) is assistant professor of theology at Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts.


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  1. Emma Stolle J.
    110% worth your time and money!!