We use cookies to enhance your experience on our website. By continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Find out more
Select Bible Use this Lookup to open a specific Bible and passage. Start here to select a Bible.
Make selected Bible the default for Lookup tool.
Book: Ch.V. Select book from A-Z list, enter chapter and verse number, and click "Go."
:
OR
  • Previous Result
  • Results
  • Look It Up Highlight any word or phrase, then click the button to begin a new search.
  • Highlight On / Off
  • Next Result

The Oxford Study Bible Study Bible supplemented with commentary from scholars of various religions.

Men and Women

By the first century C.E., women in both the Greek and Latin cultural areas enjoyed more freedom and more legal rights than had been the case in classical Greece and Rome. Marriage came to be regarded more nearly as an agreement between equals, and the woman as well as the man could initiate divorce. Though single women still needed guardians in law, they were now free to choose them. Women owned property, conducted businesses, appeared in public, became benefactors of cities and patrons of clubs. Among the lower levels of society, women frequently labored alongside their husbands in crafts and trade, like the couple Prisca and Aquila so important as patrons of Paul's mission, or a husband-and-wife team of doctors commemorated in an inscription. A few philosophers, like the Roman Stoic Musonius Rufus, thought women ought to have the same education as men, even including training in philosophy. Still, the society remained fundamentally patriarchal in its organization and sentiments, and the changes just mentioned brought a backlash of extreme misogyny from some traditionalists, like the satirist Juvenal or the Jewish intellectual Philo.

Women appear among the first followers of Jesus, both as disciples and as financial supporters. Women leaders and patronesses were especially important in the Pauline communities, for Paul's letters frequently mention women as “fellow workers” or as benefactors. There were female prophets in local congregations as well as traveling missionaries, though sometimes their behavior provoked controversy (1 Cor. 11.2–16; Rev. 2.20–23 ). The importance of the household in the formation of urban Christianity led the Pauline groups and others to reaffirm the traditional role of women as “subordinate” to their husbands, just as they did in the case of slaves. Nevertheless, the wealthy female benefactor continued to be important for the growth of Christianity, as it frequently was for other cults and associations. Nor did the female charismatic leader entirely disappear in the second-century church, though the reaction to such figures grew more vehement. The apocryphal Acts of Paul and Thecla depicts a young, aristocratic woman who responds to Paul's preaching by assuming a celibate life, adopting the hairstyle and traveling garments of a man, and imitating Paul as a missionary. The author of the Pastoral Epistles warns against such women (1 Tim. 2.9–15 ). Female prophets would be important in the second-century millenarian movement (believing that Christ's rule, the millennium, would come soon) called Montanism, and women would also gain an honored place among the early martyrs, e.g., Blandina at Lyons, Perpetua and Felicitas in North Africa.

  • Previous Result
  • Results
  • Look It Up Highlight any word or phrase, then click the button to begin a new search.
  • Highlight On / Off
  • Next Result
Oxford University Press

© 2019. All Rights Reserved. Cookie Policy | Privacy Policy | Legal Notice