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Reading Guide

  1. What evidence exists to suggest that women played a prominent role in Paul’s churches?

  2. What evidence suggests that women played an important role in the ministry of Jesus?

  3. Was Jesus, in your view, a social revolutionary with regard to women? Was Paul?

  4. Did Paul try to implement his own view of women into the social arrangements of his churches? If so, how? If not, why not?

  5. How did women fare in Pauline churches after Paul passed off the scene? How do you explain their demise from positions of prestige and authority?

  6. How do ancient ideologies of gender help explain the fate of women in the early Christian churches, that is, their progressive oppression? Why were women thought to be inferior to men in that world? How did these views come to be implemented in the churches associated with Paul?

  7. Why did asceticism become popular among Christian women?

  8. Why do many scholars question the Pauline authorship of 1 Corinthians 14:34–35?

  9. How does Galatians 3:28 fit into Paul’s overall view of women?

  10. How is Mary Magdalene depicted in Gospel traditions?

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