Archive for August 2nd, 2007

Women in the early church

August 2, 2007

One of the reasons Christianity grew was in that subculture women had a much greater status.The great church historian Harnack pointed out that in the Epistle to the Romans Paul sent greetings to 15 women and 18 men. Obviously women had early on achieved status. The question is why.

Many historians conject that infanticide was common practice among pagans.Both abortion and infanticide were proscribed in Christianity.Women it is noted are are always the primary converts, more so than men. When great plagues swept through the Empire, women stayed (while for example Galen the great doctor of antiquity,a non-Christian, ran). Was the obvious care the result of female socialization/and Christianity? Probably.

Most conversion are ‘secondary”. Wives lead husbands into the faith. This happened among the Roman nobility.Over the course of a few centuries, Christianity kept growing.Christianity also frowned on divorce,infidelity etc. thereby growing the status of women, affording them greater security.

The fact that the Pauline corpus is rife with deaconeses indicates great respect.To Paul they are co-workers.

Is there a lesson there somewhere?