Jewish and Christian Women in the Ancient Mediterranean  book cover
1st Edition

Jewish and Christian Women in the Ancient Mediterranean

ISBN 9781138543782
Published December 31, 2021 by Routledge
370 Pages 68 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This engaging and accessible textbook provides an introduction to the study of ancient Jewish and Christian women in their Hellenistic and Roman contexts.

This is the first textbook dedicated to introducing women’s religious roles in Judaism and Christianity in a way that is accessible to undergraduates from all disciplines. The textbook provides brief, contextualising overviews that then allow for deeper explorations of specific topics in women’s religion, including leadership, domestic ritual, women as readers and writers of scripture, and as innovators in their traditions. Using select examples from ancient sources, the textbook provides teachers and students with the raw tools to begin their own exploration of ancient religion. An introductory chapter provides an outline of common hermeneutics or "lenses" through which scholars approach the texts and artefacts of Judaism and Christianity in antiquity. The textbook also features a glossary of key terms, a list of further readings and discussion questions for each topic, and activities for classroom use. In short, the book is designed to be a complete, classroom-ready toolbox for teachers who may have never taught this subject as well as for those already familiar with it.

Jewish and Christian Women in the Ancient Mediterranean is intended for use in undergraduate classrooms, its target audience undergraduate students and their instructors, although Masters students may also find the book useful. In addition, the book is accessible and lively enough that religious communities’ study groups and interested laypersons could employ the book for their own education.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction  2. Religious Systems of Antiquity  3. Bodies of Literature  4. Accessing Ancient Sources  5. Ancient Judaism  6. Early Jesus Movement  7. Religion in Daily Life: From Birth to Death  8. Women as Consumers, Characters, and Creators of Literature  9. (Wo)manly Ways of Dying  10. The Second Century and Beyond

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Sara Parks is Assistant Professor in Biblical Studies (New Testament) at Dublin City University, Ireland. She researches gender in late Second-Temple Judaism and early Christianity. Parks is the author of Gender in the Rhetoric of Jesus: Women in Q (2019).

Shayna Sheinfeld is a Fellow at the Frankel Institute for Judaic Studies, University of Michigan, USA. Her current project examines diversity in Jewish leadership by challenging androcentric ideas of authority in both ancient sources and contemporary scholarship. Sheinfeld recently edited Gender and Second-Temple Judaism (2020).

Meredith J. C. Warren is Senior Lecturer at the University of Sheffield, UK, where she is Director of the Sheffield Institute for Interdisciplinary Biblical Studies. Author of Food and Transformation in Ancient Mediterranean Literature (2019), Warren researches shared cultural understandings of eating in ancient narratives.


"Attentive to our learning conditions and lived contexts, Parks, Sheinfeld, and Warren provide an often candid and accessible entrée into the study of women in ancient Judaism and Christianity. Their incredible new book guides us into both the scope and depth of the study of this complicated, yet exciting world, boosted by a range of creative, reflexive, and relevant exercises. This dynamic team of scholars has made an engaging and interactive textbook like no other!" - Joseph A. Marchal, Ball State University, USA

"The goal of this book is to be a one-stop shop for anyone who wants to incorporate Jewish and Christian women in their Greco-Roman contexts into courses on the ancient Mediterranean. By providing methodology and context chapters, the authors situate students and instructors both for a rich learning experience. Written at an accessible register using a vast range of source materials and with numerous explanatory boxes, illustrations, and useful discussion questions, this book will prove invaluable in diverse courses - from religious studies, to ancient history, to women’s and gender studies, and even race and ethnicity."Rebecca Futo Kennedy, Denison University, USA.