Counting women children restoring the lost heritage of formative judaism early christianity
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Counting Women & Children: Restoring the Lost Heritage of Formative Judaism & Early Christianity. Sheila E. McGinn, Ph.D. Professor of Biblical Studies & Early Christianity John Carroll University. Historical Research Depends upon Testimony. Testimony is Interpreted.

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Counting Women & Children: Restoring the Lost Heritage of Formative Judaism & Early Christianity

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Counting women children restoring the lost heritage of formative judaism early christianity

Counting Women & Children: Restoring the Lost Heritage of Formative Judaism& Early Christianity

Sheila E. McGinn, Ph.D.

Professor of Biblical Studies & Early Christianity

John Carroll University


Historical research depends upon testimony

Historical ResearchDepends upon Testimony

Sheila E. McGinn, Ph.D., "Shared Values, Divergent Paths" Symposium


Testimony is interpreted

Testimony is Interpreted

  • Interpreted witness (even material artifacts)

  • Requires further interpretation

  • Presuppositions influence interpretation

  • Nature and extent of testimony (texts, inscriptions, material artifacts, etc.) influences interpretation

Sheila E. McGinn, Ph.D., "Shared Values, Divergent Paths" Symposium


Testimony of material artifacts

Testimony of Material Artifacts

When possible, combine various types of evidence to support reconstruction (e.g., use textual evidence with support identification and interpretation of material artifacts)

Sheila E. McGinn, Ph.D., "Shared Values, Divergent Paths" Symposium


Testimony of material artifacts1

Testimony of Material Artifacts

The James Ossuary

  • Which James is it?

  • Is the “brother of Jesus” part of the inscription authentic?

  • What is its date?

Sheila E. McGinn, Ph.D., "Shared Values, Divergent Paths" Symposium


Objective of historical research most probable reconstruction

Objective of Historical Research: Most Probable Reconstruction

Tarsus

Sheila E. McGinn, Ph.D., "Shared Values, Divergent Paths" Symposium


Reconstructions are hypotheses

Reconstructions are Hypotheses

  • Not certain knowledge of the past

  • Usually a broad outline with some illustrative details

Corner of Mosaic Floor3rd–4th century Anatolia

Sheila E. McGinn, Ph.D., "Shared Values, Divergent Paths" Symposium


Readers interpret reconstruction

Tarsus, reconstruction of tents like those made by St. Paul

Readers Interpret Reconstruction

Sheila E. McGinn, Ph.D., "Shared Values, Divergent Paths" Symposium


The problem of memory loss

The Problem of Memory Loss

Historical “Some-timers”


Elite bias of texts

Elite Bias of Texts

  • Texts written for literate elite

  • Highlight their peers

    • I.e., aristocratic class, typically men

    • “Average” person not noted

    • Children rarely mentioned

    • Few women, fewer named

  • Cannot be taken as complete

  • Supplement with material evidence

Sheila E. McGinn, Ph.D., "Shared Values, Divergent Paths" Symposium


Elite bias of material evidence

Elite Bias of Material Evidence

Only wealthy can afford durable goods like

  • Dedicatory statues & inscriptions

  • Frescoes & mosaics

  • Stone v. wood structures

Sheila E. McGinn, Ph.D., "Shared Values, Divergent Paths" Symposium


A history of forgetfulness

A History of Forgetfulness

Library of Celsus, Ephesus (2nd century C.E.)

Sheila E. McGinn, Ph.D., "Shared Values, Divergent Paths" Symposium


Who counts depends upon who s counting

Who “counts” depends upon who’s counting

Terms indicating authority often re-defined when applied to women, e.g.

  • Synagogue inscriptions honoring women as archisynagogos, “ruler of the synagogue”

  • Authority of women prophets in I Cor 11:10

1st century CE Synagogue at Capernaum

Sheila E. McGinn, Ph.D., "Shared Values, Divergent Paths" Symposium


Who counts depends upon who s counting1

Who “counts” depends upon who’s counting

Terms indicating authority often re-defined when applied to women, e.g.

  • Synagogue inscriptions honoring women as archisynagogos, “ruler of the synagogue”

  • Authority of women prophets in I Cor 11:10

Sheila E. McGinn, Ph.D., "Shared Values, Divergent Paths" Symposium


Sex change operations

Sex-Change Operations

  • Junia, a Roman woman Paul calls a “noteworthy apostle” (Rom16:7) becomes the man “Junias”

  • The woman presider in the Priscilla catecombs

Sheila E. McGinn, Ph.D., "Shared Values, Divergent Paths" Symposium


The road to recovery

The Road to Recovery

The Ephesian Via Sacra

Sheila E. McGinn, Ph.D., "Shared Values, Divergent Paths" Symposium


How to overcome communal memory loss

How to Overcome Communal Memory Loss

  • Follow an explicit, consistent methodology

  • Cultivate gender blindness (i.e., give same level of credence to evidence concerning women and men)

  • Use material remains to supplement textual evidence

  • Read between the lines

  • Sometimes read “against the grain”

Sheila E. McGinn, Ph.D., "Shared Values, Divergent Paths" Symposium


Women disciples of jesus

Women Disciples of Jesus

Most images of “the Last Supper” depict only Jesus and twelve men, but women disciples also were there (cf. John 12:1–8).

Sheila E. McGinn, Ph.D., "Shared Values, Divergent Paths" Symposium


Mothers of synagogues

Mothers of Synagogues

The Temple Scroll (11Q19–20)

Sheila E. McGinn, Ph.D., "Shared Values, Divergent Paths" Symposium


Female priests in synagogues churches

Female Priests in Synagogues & Churches

Marin the Egyptian, a Jewish priestess

(CIJ 1514)

Sheila E. McGinn, Ph.D., "Shared Values, Divergent Paths" Symposium


History of jewish origins pilgrimage of remembrance

History of Jewish Origins: Pilgrimage of Remembrance

Sheila E. McGinn, Ph.D., "Shared Values, Divergent Paths" Symposium


Other resources

Other Resources

  • Bernadette Brooten, Women Leaders in the Synagogues

  • Tal Ilan, Integrating Women into Second Temple History

  • ______, Jewish Women in Greco-Roman Palestine

  • JCU Bible Web (http://www.jcu.edu/bible)

  • Sheila E. McGinn, presentation on the Maltz Museum Special Exhibit, Cradle of Christianity: Jewish and Christian Treasures from the Holy Land

Sheila E. McGinn, Ph.D., "Shared Values, Divergent Paths" Symposium


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