Women Erased: Women’s Authorship in Jewish and Christian Literature
Professor Ross Kraemer joins FutureChurch for this “Women Erased” presentation which explores a few texts that may have been composed by women, ending with a conversation about why and to whom this matters in the 21st century. Was authorship of Jewish and Christian texts from the Greco-Roman period a “male only” enterprise? Or did Jewish and Christian women also shape the writings that are foundational for Christians today? Since a significant portion of early literature is either anonymous or pseudonymous, past assumptions of male authorship are rightly subject to new lines of feminist inquiry.
Ross S. Kraemer is Professor Emerita of Religious Studies and Judaic Studies at Brown University, where she specialized in early Christianity, Jews and Jewish religion in late antiquity (especially the Mediterranean diaspora) and other religions of the Greco-Roman Mediterranean, often with an emphasis on issues of women and gender. She’s the editor of Women and Christian Origins (Oxford, 1998, with Mary Rose D’Angelo), and the New Testament editor for The Dictionary of Women in Scripture(Houghton-Mifflin, 2000). She’s also the author of Unreliable Witnesses: Religion, Gender and History in the Greco-Roman Mediterranean (Oxford, 2011), Her Share of the Blessings: Women’s Religions Among Pagans, Jews and Christians in the Greco-Roman World (Oxford, 1992) and many articles on Jewish and Christian women in antiquity. Her most recent book, The Mediterranean Diaspora in Late Antiquity: What Christianity Cost the Jews (Oxford, 2020) examines what happened to Jews living in the late antique Mediterranean diaspora in the wake of Christianization.
Texts for Further Exploration
- “Women’s Authorship of Jewish and Christian Literature in the Greco-Roman Period” in Women Like Us (used with permission of Prof. Kraemer): Ross Kraemer Chapter
- Philo: On Contemplative Life: http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/yonge/book34.html
- The Martyrdom of Saints Perpetua and Felicitas: https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/maps/primary/perpetua.html