Fall 2013 Description for THEO 431

The literature of early Christianity is filled with ambiguity concerning women's role in the churches and in the story of salvation. Women's subordination was justified on the basis of Eve's role in bringing evil and sin into the world. At the same time, women were presented as heroiness and models of the ideal Christian life. They held roles of leadership within early church communities, even while early church writers argued against their right to do so. This course will examine a wide range of primary texts by and about women in the early Christian churches in order to explore the relationship between faith and culture as the context for understanding women's role and status in the early church. It will also look at ways in which these texts might be relevant for the modern context. This course fulfills the Human Diversity requirement in the core curriculum. Prerequisite: THEO 101(or 102 and 103) and one 200-level or 300-level THEO course, and PHIL 115