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Thecla and the Virgin Martyrs

Thecla and the Virgin Martyrs

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Thecla and the Virgin Martyrs

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  1. Thecla and the Virgin Martyrs

  2. Thecla • From apocryphal (outside the scriptures) books • Extremely popular 2nd century Syrian saint story (hagiography) • Tells us about what “ordinary” people valued • Later women call themselves “Thecla” • Still today there are churches dedicated to Thecla • Images of Thecla • Virgin “martyr” • Friend of Paul • Bad family relations • Apostle • Full text

  3. Images of Thecla • Virgin • The way to be a disciple • “Beatitudes” of Jesus (Luke 6) transformed here • Put on trial for refusing marriage • Martyr • Mom calls for her to be burned at stake, but it rains • Later thrown to lions and bears, ravenous seals (!), bulls • Friend of Paul • Very positive male-female partnership • Reciprocal (she frees him, he’s the shepherd to her lamb) • Apostle • Thecla takes initiative: baptizes herself when Paul won’t do it • Preaches to crowds • Dresses like a man • She declares her intent, then Paul commissions her to go out and preach

  4. Norris’s argument • What is virginity, for her? • What is wrong with the typical definitions? • Can her definition work? • Do you agree, that stories of virgin martyrs can be important today? How? • What do you make of the last story (girl in El Mozote massacre)? Is she a virgin martyr? If so, what might her story mean for us?

  5. For next time • Why is women’s adornment (dress, cosmetics, jewelry) a matter of concern? • How/why are women connected with Eve?