Her Share of the Blessings: Women's Religions among Pagans, Jews, and Christians in the Greco-Roman World

Overview


Whether pagan, Jewish, or Christian, religion was an integral part of the lives of women in the Greco-Roman world. Yet studies of the ancient Mediterranean world have focused almost exclusively on the religious beliefs and practices of men.
In Her Share of the Blessings, Ross Shepard Kraemer provides the first comprehensive look at women's religions in Greco-Roman antiquity. She vividly recreates the religious lives of early Christian, Jewish, and pagan women, with many ...
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1992-06-25 Hardcover New in New jacket Brand New Hardcover w/ Dust Jacket-no marks or highlights-ships w/ tracking #

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New York, NY 1992 Hard Cover First Edition, First Printing Collectible-New in New jacket BRAND NEW & COLLECTIBLE. Study on religious beliefs of women in Greco-Roman times. ... Recreation of women's, be they pagan, Jewish or Christian, ultimate concerns in the ancient Mediterranean world---how they viewed themselves and lead life in relationship with men, as wife, as daughter, as sister, and as mother. A look at religious expressions of women towards an understanding of how they led their lives. Read more Show Less

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Overview


Whether pagan, Jewish, or Christian, religion was an integral part of the lives of women in the Greco-Roman world. Yet studies of the ancient Mediterranean world have focused almost exclusively on the religious beliefs and practices of men.
In Her Share of the Blessings, Ross Shepard Kraemer provides the first comprehensive look at women's religions in Greco-Roman antiquity. She vividly recreates the religious lives of early Christian, Jewish, and pagan women, with many fascinating examples: Greek women's devotion to goddesses, rites of Roman matrons, Jewish women in rabbinic and diaspora communities, Christian women's struggles to exercise authority and autonomy, and women's roles as leaders in the full spectrum of Greco-Roman religions. In every case, Kraemer reveals the connections between the social constraints under which women lived, and their religious beliefs and practices.
Women's religious devotion often reflected and reinforced social definitions of women in terms of their relationships to men, as daughters, wives, sisters and mothers. Yet religions such as the ecstatic worship of Dionysos (where women periodically abandoned husbands, children and social responsibilities for nocturnal mountain rites), enabled women to find increased autonomy and female community, at least temporarily.
The relationship between female autonomy, sexuality and religion emerges as a persistent theme. In antiquity, the body was associated with the female: soul and spirit with the male. Analyzing the monastic Jewish Therapeutae and various Christian communities, Kraemer demonstrates the paradoxical liberation which women achieved by rejection of sexuality, the body and the female. In the epilogue, Kraemer pursues the disturbing implications such findings have for contemporary women.
Based on epitaphs and public inscriptions, letters and personal documents, references in literary works, and feminist and anthropological studies, Her Share of the Blessings is an insightful work that goes beyond the limitations of previous scholarship to provide a more accurate portrait of Jewish, Christian and pagan women in the Greco-Roman world.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
This is an important, even groundbreaking study of women's culture. Kraemer provides careful analyses of the worship of Greek goddesses, Adonis, Dionysius Isis, the Judeo-Christain God, and heretical worship. She also discusses women's religious rites, offices, and leadership. Kraemer stresses the sociological theories of Mary Douglas in her analysis, supplemented by a broad range of interdisciplinary scholarship. Her tentative theory of women's religions is very thought-provoking. For most collections.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195066869
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 6/25/1992
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.38 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 1.18 (d)

Meet the Author

About the Author:
Ross S. Kraemer is Visiting Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Franklin and Marshall College and Adjunct Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. She is the editor of Maenads, Martyrs, Matrons, Monastics: A Sourcebook on Women's Religions in the Greco-Roman World (1988).

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Table of Contents

Preface
1 Introduction 3
2 Women's Devotion to Ancient Greek Goddesses 22
3 Women's Devotion to Adonis 30
4 Women's Devotion to Dionysos 36
5 Rites of Roman Matrons 50
6 Women's Devotion to the Egyptian Goddess Isis in the Greco-Roman World 71
7 Women's Religious Offices in Greco-Roman Paganism 80
8 Jewish Women's Religious Lives in Rabbinic Sources 93
9 Jewish Women's Religious Lives and Offices in the Greco-Roman Diaspora 106
10 Autonomy, Prophecy, and Gender in Early Christianity 128
11 Heresy as Women's Religion: Women's Religion as Heresy 157
12 Women's Leadership and Offices in Christian Communities 174
13 Women's Religious Leadership and Offices in Retrospect 191
Epilogue: Toward a Theory of Women's Religions 199
Abbreviations 209
Notes 211
Ancient Sources and Translations 248
Bibliography 253
Index 269
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