Women's Religions in the Greco-Roman World: A SourceBook

Women's Religions in the Greco-Roman World: A SourceBook

by Ross Shepard Kraemer

This is a substantially expanded and completely revised edition of a book originally published in 1988 as Maenads, Martyrs, Matrons, Monastics. The book is a collection of translations of primary texts relevant to women's religion in Western antiquity, from the fourth century BCE to the fifth century CE. The selections are taken from the plethora of ancient

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This is a substantially expanded and completely revised edition of a book originally published in 1988 as Maenads, Martyrs, Matrons, Monastics. The book is a collection of translations of primary texts relevant to women's religion in Western antiquity, from the fourth century BCE to the fifth century CE. The selections are taken from the plethora of ancient religions, including Judaism and Christianity, and are translated from the six major languages of the Greco-Roman world: Greek, Latin, Aramaic, Hebrew, Syriac, and Coptic. The texts are grouped thematically in six sections: Observances, Rituals, and Festivals; Researching Real Women: Documents to, from and by Women; Religious Office; New Religious Affiliation and Conversion; Holy, Pious, and Exemplary Women; and The Feminine Divine. Women's Religions in the Greco-Roman World provides a unique and invaluable resource for scholars of classical antiquity, early Christianity and Judaism, and women's religion more generally.

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Oxford University Press, USA
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Table of Contents

1Why women are compelled to worship Dionysos12
2The rites of the first Bacchic worshipers13
3Women worshipers of a Dionysian deity, Sabos16
4Rituals for brides and pregnant women in the worship of Artemis17
5Objects dedicated to Artemis Brauronia18
6Women participants at a festival of Adonis18
7Ritual regulations in a Dionysiac20
8Epitaph of alcmeonis, a priestess of Dionysos Henrichs21
9The establishment of Dionysiac rites in Magnesia21
10Ritual equipment for a women's festival in Hellenistic Egypt22
11Three excerpts from Ovid on the rites of Roman women22
12Women's rites of Dionysos in Greek cities27
13Women members of a monastic Jewish community outside Alexandria28
14(Jewish?) women in Alexandrian public life32
15The women's court of the Jerusalem temple33
16Excerpts from Plutarch on Greek and Roman women's religions35
17Excerpts from the travel writer Pausanias on Greek women's religions39
18The religious activities of Roman women as viewed by a skeptical satirist43
19Women (and men) in a procession to Isis45
20The deeds of the Saga Meroe47
21Photis reveals the nefarious deeds of her mistress, Pamphile49
22A grieving mother resurrects and interrogates the corpse of her son using "magic arts"51
23Callirhoe entreats Aphrodite at her shrines and temple54
24Festivals and sacrifices at the birth of Callirhoe's son56
25Prospective brides and grooms at a festival of Artemis of Ephesos58
26Anthia entreats Isis and Apis59
27Offerings and festivals for Helios at Rhodes60
28Anthia and Habrocomes, reunited, at the temple of Artemis in Ephesos63
29Leucippe takes refuge in a sanctuary of Artemis63
30Chloe and Daphnis worship the nymphs64
31Devotions at a private feast in a temple of Hermes65
32A woman whose acceptance of ascetic Christianity causes her husband to bring charges against her and her Christian teachers65
33A tour of hellish torments related by a murdered Christian woman raised from the dead by the Apostle Thomas67
34Admonitions against the participation of menstruating Christian women (and of men who have had a nocturnal emission) in the eucharist72
35Rabbinic purity regulations concerning menstruating and other blood flow74
36Rabbinic arguments against a misogynist tradition78
37Discussions between Matrona and Rabbi Jose ben Halafta80
38Arabian Christian women of Thracian descent who bake cakes to the Virgin Mary and function as priests85
39A heresiologist's attempts to refute the teachings of Christian women with regard to Mary and to disparage the rituals and religious offices of women86
40Why Christian women may not write books in their own names93
41Christian women in Antioch participating in Jewish festivals and attending synagogue94
42A Christian matron from Rome visiting the hermitic abbot Arsenius96
43Women monastics and women visitors at a Pachomian women's monastery in fourth-century C.E. Egypt98
44Women blowing the shofar on Rosh Hashanah (the new year)100
45Exempting women from the obligation to eat in the Sukkah during the Jewish festival of Sukkoth100
46Rabbinic discussions on the differences in rabbinic law between a man and a woman103
47Jewish women forcibly converted to Christianity (and a Christian woman visionary) on the Island of Minorca110
48Epitaph of women from Leontopolis, site of an alternative Jewish temple121
49Disposition of a lawsuit between a woman and a man living in Egypt, both called "Jews/Judeans"123
50A Jewish/Judean woman's attacks on a pregnant neighbor124
51The contract of a wet nurse, possibly Jewish/Judean125
52A divorce agreement from Egypt, perhaps Jewish/Judean126
53A woman, possibly Jewish/Judean, settling her share of a debt127
54Sale of a house between two women, the buyer perhaps Jewish/Judean127
55Jewish women enumerated in a tax document from Egypt128
56Manumission of a Jewish/Judean female slave130
57Epitaph of a woman cursed by spells131
58A woman seeking to attract the love of another woman with a spell131
59A woman imploring Oserapis to avenge her against her daughter's father132
60Royal women of Judea133
61Historians' reports about the Herodian princess Berenice, coruler with her brother, King Agrippa II, and lover of the Roman emperor Titus138
62Personal papers of Babatha of Maoza143
63The personal papers of Salome, also called Komaise152
64A divorce bill, possibly given by a (Jewish) woman, Shelamzion, to her husband, Eleazar156
65Women associated with the famous Christian teacher Origen, (ca. 185 to ca. 254 C.E.)157
66Burial inscriptions, vows, and donations of and by women in Asia Minor159
67Tablet in Greek to reunite a woman and a man using language reminiscent of Jewish scriptures in Greek163
68Ten inscriptions from a synagogue commemorating contributions from women for the paving of a mosaic floor lifshitz165
69A letter from the abbot Shenoute to Tachom, head of a convent in Egypt165
70Instruction for rearing a virgin Christian daughter167
71The life of Paula, leader in women's early monasticism177
72Discord between an ascetic mother and daughter, each of whom was living with a monk204
73The life of Marcella, a founder of women's ascetic enclaves212
74A consoling letter from the exiled John Chrysostom to his friend Olympias, seeking her political support220
75The life of Olympias, ascetic and supporter of John Chrysostom227
76The pilgrim Egeria visits the shrine of St. Thecla and the Deaconess Marthana236
77Epitaph of a Gnostic woman, Flavia Sophe238
78Epitaph of Euterpe, a Christian woman called Companion of the Muses239
79Donation by a Christian shipowner and her daughter239
80Honors and privileges bestowed on a priestess of Athena after a procession to Pythian Apollo245
81The institution of the vestal virgins245
82How vestal virgins are chosen247
83Honors for priestesses248
84Juliane, the first high priestess of Asia250
85Three women heads of synagogues251
86An unnamed woman head of a synagogue in ancient Cappadocia252
87Epitaph of a Jewish woman "leader"253
88Seven epitaphs of Jewish women elders253
89Three epitaphs of Jewish women possibly called "priestesses"254
90Two epitaphs of Christian women elders256
91Six inscriptions of (Christian) women deacons257
92Opposition to teaching and baptizing by women259
93A montanist visionary who submits her revelation to careful scrutiny262
94Hippolytus on the montanist prophets Maximilla and Priscilla263
95Women bishops, presbyters, and prophets among the followers of Quintilla and Priscilla264
96Fourth-century writers on the montanist prophets Maximilla and Priscilla265
97The epitaph of the female prophet Nanas267
98A woman philosopher(?), probably Christian268
99Regulations for deaconesses268
100Regulations for Christian widows270
101Regulations for deaconesses, virgins, widows, and other Christians during the worship service277
102The spread of the Bacchic rites to Rome in 186 B.C.E., attracting women and men to their frenzied observance283
103Helena, Queen of Adiabene, converts to Judaism292
104The Jewish proclivities of some non-Jewish women296
105Thecla of Iconium, an ascetic Christian and the prototypical convert297
106How the Egyptian virgin Aseneth becomes a devotee of the God of Israel and marries the patriarch Joseph308
107Two Roman women proselytes327
108Two women called "God-fearers"328
109The exemplary self-control and piety of a Jewish mother forced to watch the martyrdom of her seven sons332
110The spiritual inheritance of the daughters of job340
111Two juxtaposed narratives of the gullibility of pious women343
112The trial account of Carthaginian Christian women and men346
113The martyrdom of the Christian Blandina and three male companions in 177 C.E.348
114A first-person account of a Christian woman's persecution356
115The martyrdom of Potamiena in the early third century C.E.368
116Women martyred at Antioch under Diocletian in the early fourth century C.E.369
117Three epitaphs from fourth-century Rome370
118Charikleia, condemned as a poisoner, rescued by divine intervention374
119A letter written in the name of a woman to "Ignatius of Antioch"375
120A former prostitute becomes a Christian ascetic, taking on male disguise377
121An orphaned prostitute returns to the Christian asceticism of her youth395
122The endurance of two Syrian Christian monastic women404
123A Syrian monastic woman living in a hut in her mother's garden405
124Sayings attributed to ascetic desert monastic women408
125The principal version of the myth of Demeter418
126Two accounts of the origins of the worship of the Great Mother at Rome427
127Imagery of lactation and childbearing in a Christian ode431
128The female spirit of the Lord432
129A version of the myth of Isis433
130The experiences of a male initiate of Isis438
131The titles of the Goddess Isis454
132Aspects of female divinity in three Gnostic texts458
133The fall and deliverance of the soul, which is feminine472
Index of names479
Index of ancient sources484

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