I’m nearly finished reading the page proofs for the second edition of After the New Testament.  Gods willing, I finish tomorrow – a good thing, because I’m heading out of town (well, I’m already out of town; so I’m heading out of town out of town) to do some hiking.  I’ll be able to keep the blog up (let’s hear it for wi-fi!).  But proof reading is outta the question!   Anyway, yesterday I gave the first half of the Introduction to one of the new sections in the second edition of the book (that I call ANT), on Women in Early Christianity.   You may want to reread that bit from yesterday if it’s not fresh in your mind.  Here’s the final part of the Introduction.  (Please note: I give a very small bibliography at the end.  The reason it is so small: it is for college students in a beginning course.  Many of you will probably want to suggest other readings.  I too would like to suggest more – lots more!  But my idea is not to overwhelm students and to give them some of the best stuff out there.  No slight is meant to anyone whose book has been left off the list.  There is a *lot* of good work available….)


Whatever roles women played in his churches, Paul’s attitudes toward and views of women have been matters of great dispute over the years, in no small measure because of the ambiguities of the evidence.  On one hand, Paul makes pronouncements that sound remarkably liberated for the patriarchal world he inhabited, especially Gal. 3:28, that “in Christ there is no male and female.”  On the other hand, when it comes to social – as opposed to hypothetical or eschatological – realities Paul appears to bow to the pressures of his environment.  In his letter to the Corinthians he is quite insistent that women wear head coverings in church, in no small measure in order to show that they are subservient to their husbands, their “heads” (a complicated passage: 1 Cor. 11: 2-15).

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