Ordained Women in the Early Church: A Documentary History

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In a time when the ordination of women is an ongoing and passionate debate, the study of women's ministry in the early church is timely and significant. With this book, church historians Kevin Madigan and Carolyn Osiek present fully translated literary, epigraphical, and canonical references to women in early church offices. Through these documents, Madigan and Osiek seek to understand who these women were and how they related to and were received by the church through the sixth century. They chart women's ...

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Ordained Women in the Early Church: A Documentary History

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Overview

In a time when the ordination of women is an ongoing and passionate debate, the study of women's ministry in the early church is timely and significant. With this book, church historians Kevin Madigan and Carolyn Osiek present fully translated literary, epigraphical, and canonical references to women in early church offices. Through these documents, Madigan and Osiek seek to understand who these women were and how they related to and were received by the church through the sixth century. They chart women's participation in church office and their eventual exclusion from its leadership roles.

"Madigan and Osiek have produced the best, most comprehensive, and extremely useful documentary history to date regarding the ordination of women in the early church."— Catholic Historical Review

"An invaluable resource for all who are interested in the historical evidence relating to the ordination of women as deacons and presbyters in the early centuries up to roughly the sixth century."— Review of Biblical Literature

"An excellent resource for deeper study of original texts as well as for informed entry into current ecclesial discussions of practice and polity."— Journal of Religion

"A masterful compilation and translation."— Theological Studies

"Finally, readers have a single compendium in English of the evidence that women did hold church office as deacon, presbyter, and bishop, not simply as spouses of male officeholders and not in heretical sects but in their own right and in the Catholic Church."— Catholic Biblical Quarterly

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Church Times - Rev. Dr. John Binns
The richly varied texts introduce us to a remarkable group of women.
Review of Biblical Literature - Mary Coloe
An invaluable resource for all who are interested in the historical evidence relating to the ordination of women as deacons and presbyters in the early centuries up to roughly the sixth century.
Church of England Newspaper - Andrew Gregory
Kevin Madigan and Carolyn Osiek... have done the important work of bringing together into one volume all known Greek and Latin references to women deacons and presbyters.
Theological Studies - Phyllis Zagano
A masterful compilation and translation.
Currents in Theology and Mission - Bonnie Flessen
Madigan and Osiek bring considerable scholarly expertise and experience to this difficult task.
Henoch - Daniel Keating
A thorough, well-researched, and lucid documentary history.
Catholic Biblical Quarterly - Maureen A. Tilley
Finally, readers have a single compendium in English of the evidence that women did hold church office as deacon, presbyter, and bishop, not simply as spouses of male officeholders and not in heretical sects but in their own right and in the Catholic Church.
Religious Studies Review - Leslie Baynes
No academic library (and particularly seminary library) will want to be without this book.
Journal of Religion - Francine Cardman
An excellent resource for deeper study of original texts as well as for informed entry into current ecclesial discussions of practice and polity.
New Blackfriars - Morwenna Ludlow
It is impossible to come away from this excellent, erudite and evenly argued book without some very uncomfortable questions about how women in the church have from the beginning been fitted into wider society's conception of what is appropriate and expedient.
Catholic Historical Review - William Tabbernee
Madigan and Osiek have produced the best, most comprehensive, and extremely useful documentary history to date regarding the ordination of women in the early church.
Church Times
The richly varied texts introduce us to a remarkable group of women.

— Rev. Dr. John Binns

Review of Biblical Literature
Kevin Madigan and Carolyn Osiek's collection and analysis of the historical documents on the topic is important and relevant to church historians and modern church leaders alike.
Church of England Newspaper
Kevin Madigan and Carolyn Osiek... have done the important work of bringing together into one volume all known Greek and Latin references to women deacons and presbyters.

— Andrew Gregory

Distinctive Diaconate
Thanks to this work, most of the pieces of the jig saw of the history of women in the diaconate are laid out before us.
Theological Studies
A masterful compilation and translation.

— Phyllis Zagano

Currents in Theology and Mission
Madigan and Osiek bring considerable scholarly expertise and experience to this difficult task.

— Bonnie Flessen

Henoch
A thorough, well-researched, and lucid documentary history.

— Daniel Keating

Catholic Biblical Quarterly
Finally, readers have a single compendium in English of the evidence that women did hold church office as deacon, presbyter, and bishop, not simply as spouses of male officeholders and not in heretical sects but in their own right and in the Catholic Church.

— Maureen A. Tilley

Religious Studies Review
No academic library (and particularly seminary library) will want to be without this book.

— Leslie Baynes

Journal of Religion
An excellent resource for deeper study of original texts as well as for informed entry into current ecclesial discussions of practice and polity.

— Francine Cardman

New Blackfriars
It is impossible to come away from this excellent, erudite and evenly argued book without some very uncomfortable questions about how women in the church have from the beginning been fitted into wider society's conception of what is appropriate and expedient.

— Morwenna Ludlow

Catholic Historical Review
Madigan and Osiek have produced the best, most comprehensive, and extremely useful documentary history to date regarding the ordination of women in the early church.

— William Tabbernee

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801879326
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 6/15/2005
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Meet the Author

Kevin Madigan is the Winn Professor of Ecclesiastical History at Harvard Divinity School, Harvard University. Carolyn Osiek is the Charles Fischer Professor of New Testament (retired), Brite Divinity School, Texas Christian University.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Table of Contents

Ch. 1 Introduction 1
Ch. 2 New Testament texts and their patristic commentators 11
Ch. 3 Women deacons in the East : literary texts, literary allusions, inscriptions 25
Ch. 4 Women deacons in the East : canons and comments on church practice 106
Ch. 5 Women deacons in the East : later texts 133
Ch. 6 Women deacons in the West 141
Ch. 7 Women deacons : Testamentum Domini Nostri Jesu Christi and related texts 150
Ch. 8 Women presbyters 163
Ch. 9 Conclusion 203
App. A Locations of deacon inscriptions 207
App. B Locations of deacons in literary sources 209
App. C Locations of presbyters 210
App. D Family relationships identified for women in inscriptions 210
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