Her Share of the Blessings: Women's Religions among Pagans, by Ross Shepard Kraemer

By Ross Shepard Kraemer

During this pathbreaking quantity, Ross Shepard Kraemer offers the 1st accomplished examine women's religions in Greco-Roman antiquity. She vividly recreates the non secular lives of early Christian, Jewish, and pagan girls, with many desirable examples: Greek women's devotion to goddesses, rites of Roman matrons, Jewish ladies in rabbinic and diaspora groups, Christian women's struggles to workout authority and autonomy, and women's roles as leaders within the complete spectrum of Greco-Roman religions. In each case, Kraemer unearths the connections among the social constraints lower than which ladies lived, and their non secular ideals and practices.
The courting between woman autonomy, sexuality, and faith emerges as a chronic subject matter. reading the monastic Jewish Therapeutae and numerous Christian groups, Kraemer demonstrates the paradoxical liberation which girls accomplished by means of rejection of sexuality, the physique, and the feminine. within the epilogue, Kraemer pursues the tense implications such findings have for modern women.
Based on an staggering number of basic assets, Her proportion of the advantages is an insightful paintings that is going past the restrictions of earlier scholarship to supply a extra exact portrait of ladies within the Greco-Roman global.

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Extra resources for Her Share of the Blessings: Women's Religions among Pagans, Jews, and Christians in the Greco-Roman World

Sample text

Still, my debt to her work, and my repeated references to it through this book, require me to say a little more about the kinds of unavoidable dilemmas that this sort of endeavor encounters. As I hope to demonstrate, Douglas's theory, in a gender-sensitized form, may be exceptionally useful for the study o f religious diversity in GrecoRoman antiquity, especially for the analysis of gender-related differences in practices and beliefs. Conversely, of course, Greco-Roman religions offer a significant set of test cases for Douglas's theory.

2 Winkler points out that for Greek men, such stories were undoubtedly understood as warnings about the dangerous powers of female sexuality. For Greek women, he suggests, the Adonia afforded alternative interpretations. "3 The laughter of the celebrating women, long associated with obscenity and instructions for sexual misbehavior, may then be seen as women's amusement at men's misconception of their own importance in fertility and productivity. 6 It is nevertheless an admirable inquiry into the possible ways in which Greek women might have understood their own activities in contradistinction to the interpretations of Greek men.

Pine cones and wheat cakes baked in the shape of serpents and penises were apparently also thrown into the megara and similarly retrieved. The decomposed remains of the pigs, pine cones, and cakes were placed on the altar of Demeter and mixed with the seed corn about to be planted, presumably to ensure a fertile harvest. Several sources associate the Thesmophoria with jesting obscenity. Diodorus of Sicily23 reports that women at this festival engaged in mschrologia, dirty talk, in imitation of the crude jokes that cheered Demeter when she grieved for Persephone.

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