Looking back to June 14 you listed 7 topics you were discussing at the Apocrypha Seminar at the National Humanities Center. I don’t believe we have discussed much of anything on feminism. It seems a broad subject for rich discussion. Were women disenfranchised later or were they denied any major roll right from the start? Of course, Dan Brown could be brought into the subject!



I’ll probably keep Dan Brown out of it! J Well, unless I feel inspired to talk a bit about Mary Magdalene and what we really do and don’t know about her, later on. But maybe it would be good to devote a few posts to the question of women in the early church. Our earliest author, of course, is Paul, and Paul’s views of women are widely misunderstood.

In my NT course I have every student participate, as part of their grade, in a formal debate on this or that topic. The topics are meant to be controversial, and one of them, years ago, was “Resolved: The Apostle Paul was a Misogynist.” Students had to choose a side to argue (I would often assign them to argue the opposite side of the side they said they preferred arguing!), they spent weeks doing research on the topic, and then they would present their debate before their small group recitation class. It was a great topic, made even more interesting by the fact that some students didn’t know what the term misogynist meant and didn’t bother to look it up. (!) Since then I’ve changed the topic to: “Resolved: Paul’s Views of Women Were Oppressive.” I think this too is a great topic, especially because of the tense of the verb: “were” (not “are”). It leads to some great debates.

So, I will give some posts over to the question of women in the early church, starting with Paul. I’ve written about this in various places, but most of those places will not be familiar to members of the blog, unless they’ve used my text book on the NT for a class. And so I will shamelessly steal some of my passages from there.


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