Friday, June 18, 2010

Paul and Thecla

James McGrath links to a post about Paul and Thecla. There is an interesting tradition that Thecla's eyes and hands were erased because they were a sign of her authority.
    Bart Ehrman (if I remember correctly) shares a photo of the same fresco in one of his books, and points out that Thecla's "teaching hand" has been deliberately defaced (as have her eyes), by someone who found this depiction of her authority threatening. Crossan and Reed also make this point.


Kristen said...

This is fascinating. It puts me in mind of articles I have read in Christianity Today and elsewhere, about how female leadership in churches was an accepted norm in the early church-- it changed when churches ceased to meet in homes (the woman's accepted sphere), and Christians, coming out of persecution, started wanting to be more socially acceptable in the surrounding culture.

Suzanna Krizo's book "When Dogmas Die" is said to explore this issue in full, but I haven't had a chance to read it yet.

Donald Johnson said...

As the actual story in Paul and Thecla is pretty strange, I agree with Davind Instone-Brewer in this area where he points out that it was NOT seen as obviously bogus for Thecla to be in ministry.