Women in the Earliest Churches

  • Series: Society for New Testament Studies Monograph
  • Author: Ben Witherington III
  • Pub. Year: 1991
  • Language: English
  • Pages: 320
  • ISBN-10: 0521407893
  • ISBN-13: 9780521407892
  • Format: PDF

This book examines the roles and functions that women assumed in the early Christian communities from AD 33 to the Council of Nicaea. It surveys, too, the views about women held by various New Testament authors including Paul and the Evangelists. In a careful and judicious study, Ben Witherington shows that early Christianity was neither unreservedly patriarchal nor adamantly feminist in its view of women and their roles, but rather charted a middle course which combined a reforming of the predominantly patriarchal framework of society with an affirmation of new religious roles for women. This is the first book to survey such a large amount of material exegetically, and make use, at the same time, of original languages and texts.

“The most significant study to be written on the women question so far…No serious debate about the Biblical teaching on women can now take place without taking into account the range of material and conclusions in this book.” Christian Book News

“It presents a full and impartial discussion of material which is often used selectively and polemically in contemporary debate.” The Expository Times

“The best and fairest discussion of the horrendously controversial issue of the place of women in early Christianity.” Journal of Ecclesiastical History

“Commendable for its thoroughness and rejection of ideological biases.” Religious Studies Review

“…Witherington has written a thought-provoking work which affirms the validity of questioning traditional rules and doctrine about what is proper and allowable for women in the Christian ministry.” Ohioana Quarterly

“By surveying a large amount of material and making use of original languages and texts, this book is a valuable attempt to bring to the discussion some balance and breadth of exegetical coverage without imposing twentieth-century categories on the biblical texts.” Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences

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