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Women in the World of the Earliest Christians by Lynn H. Cohick was published by Baker in January 2010 and is our 49843rd best seller. The ISBN for Women in the World of the Earliest Christians is 9780801031724.
Lynn Cohick combines insights from ancient Roman and Jewish texts with current scholarship on the lifestyles and limitations of being female in the first Christian century. The New Testament is not her primary focus, but it is frequently discussed, providing many fascinating parallels, which sometimes confirm and sometimes question traditional interpretations. As well as summarizing previous findings, the book includes many provocative new ideas, which will become the focus of much new work.
Many preconceptions exist about the role of women in the Greco-Roman and Jewish worlds at the time of Jesus. Cohick offers a solid glimpse of first-century culture - a wonderful window into the world of the New Testament that is well worth the read.
Thorough scholarly investigation, with scholarly speculation, characterizes this study of Jewish and Christian women of first-century Greco-Roman areas. Cohick draws on ancient classical, Jewish, and Christian writings to determine, as far as possible, what daily life in family, religion, and society was like for women elite (for whom there are naturally the most records), as well as for freed women, slaves, and prostitutes. The author documents social customs and laws, noting biases of male writers of the age, and demonstrates that women could be seen as both subservient by nature and accepted as political and cultural leaders. A bibliography covers the substantial body of literature available, and the author's own unique suggestions and interpretations for present times add to the corpus. VERDICT This book, for its subject and its well-reasoned arguments, especially on patronage by women, will appeal largely to academic readers.
It is something of an understatement to say that the role of women in the leadership of the church is something which has attracted its fair share of controversy in recent decades. This has resulted in many books which seek to argue a particular position, or to recreate theological positions within the early church. What has been broadly absent, however, is a sustained engagement with the broader Greco-Roman cultural milieu against which the New Testament is to be read. Without this context it is all too easy to read into New Testament writings twenty-first century concerns.
This book is a welcome addition to the literature. Cohick is not seeking to draw theological conclusions, but simply to "provide an engaging and accurate reconstruction of ancient women's way of life". This she does admirably.
The book is divided into 9 chapters which concentrate on differing spheres of influence from daughters to benefactors. Each chapter considers the differing roles within Jewish and Greco-Roman society and considers both negative and positive views. There are inevitably attempts at reconstruction, as much surviving literature is rhetorical in one way or another, but such attempts are even handed and fair. There is wide engagement with ancient sources and the author betrays a good knowledge of the field.
This is a useful resource, especially as it seeks to give a purely historical record and refuses to deal in caricatures. There is a useful index and it is not hard to see this book being of great use to all who deal with the New Testament.
|Author / Artist||Lynn H. Cohick|
|Publisher||Baker (January 2010)|
|Number of Pages||352|
|Page last updated||22nd April 2018|