One of the most precious documents of early Christian history is The Passion of Perpetua and Felicity, an early third-century account of the martyrdom of two women and three men in the arena at Carthage in 203 CE. This document is invaluable because it contains the actual diary kept by Perpetua while she was imprisoned awaiting her death. Although it is framed by the comments of an editor, scholars universally accept the authenticity of Perpetua’s account as the earliest piece of writing by a known woman in Christian history. It grants a rare glimpse into what a woman thought about the meaning of the Christian faith, free from the gloss of male commentary.
Essay by Joan Nuth and Prayer by Christine Schenk, CSJ