Her Share of the Blessings

Her Share of the Blessings : Women's Religions Among Pagans, Jews and Christians in the Greco-Roman World

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Description

Whether pagan, Jewish, or Christian, religion was an integral part of the lives of women in the Greco-Roman world. Yet studies of the ancient Mediterranean world have focused almost exclusively on the religious beliefs and practices of men. In Her Share of the Blessings, Ross Shepard Kraemer provides the first comprehensive look at women's religions in Greco-Roman antiquity. She vividly recreates the religious lives of early Christian, Jewish, and pagan women, with many fascinating examples: Greek women's devotion to goddesses, rites of Roman matrons, Jewish women in rabbinic and diaspora communities, Christian women's struggles to exercise authority and autonomy, and women's roles as leaders in the full spectrum of Greco-Roman religions. In every case, Kraemer reveals the connections between the social constraints under which women lived, and their religious beliefs and practices. Women's religious devotion often reflected and reinforced social definitions of women in terms of their relationships to men, as daughters, wives, sisters and mothers. Yet religions such as the ecstatic worship of Dionysos (where women periodically abandoned husbands, children and social responsibilities for nocturnal mountain rites), enabled women to find increased autonomy and female community, at least temporarily. The relationship between female autonomy, sexuality and religion emerges as a persistent theme. In antiquity, the body was associated with the female: soul and spirit with the male. Analyzing the monastic Jewish Therapeutae and various Christian communities, Kraemer demonstrates the paradoxical liberation which women achieved by rejection of sexuality, the body and the female. In the epilogue, Kraemer pursues the disturbing implications such findings have for contemporary women. Based on epitaphs and public inscriptions, letters and personal documents, references in literary works, and feminist and anthropological studies, Her Share of the Blessings is an insightful work that goes beyond the limitations of previous scholarship to provide a more accurate portrait of Jewish, Christian and pagan women in the Greco-Roman world.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 286 pages
  • 162.56 x 241.3 x 27.94mm | 612.35g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 1 line drawing
  • 0195066863
  • 9780195066869

About Ross Shepard Kraemer

About the Author Ross S. Kraemer is Visiting Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Franklin and Marshall College and Adjunct Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. She is the editor of Maenads, Martyrs, Matrons, Monastics: A Sourcebook on Women's Religions in the Greco-Roman World (1988).show more

Rating details

33 ratings
3.3 out of 5 stars
5 18% (6)
4 27% (9)
3 27% (9)
2 21% (7)
1 6% (2)
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