Women and Gender in Early Christianity

REL568
Spring 2017
M 1:30pm - 3:20pm
Area: 
Area I
Professor: 
Permission Not Required
Limited Enrollment
Course Description: 

Was the early Jesus movement a discipleship of equals? Did women exercise the most authoritative roles in the early church? Was gender equality attained through erasure of the difference between male and female, in baptism, or through sexual asceticism? Did love patriarchalism overtake gender equality in the post-apostolic period? What can be reconstructed about early Christian women’s lives from the New Testament and other ancient sources? How did early Christian ideas about koinonia, the gifts of the Spirit, marriage, sex, and procreation affect the roles of women and men in these communities? This course will explore such questions by studying the key early Christian primary sources in parallelism with Second Temple Jewish and Greco-Roman sources on women and gender, and by drawing on the wealth of secondary literature on these subjects. The aim is to encourage a critical and historically informed understanding of the key primary texts and provide an exposure to a variety of contemporary perspectives and interpretations of this material.

Background Expected: 

At least one semester of NT Interpretation

Course Requirements: 

Blog on all of the assigned readings

Attendance and participation in class discussions on the assigned readings

20pp. research paper on one of the topics or texts treated in this course

Take-home final essay exam 

Basis of Evaluation: 

20% Blog on assigned readings

10% Attendance and participation in class discussions

50% 20pp. research paper

20% Take-home essay final exam