Women in the Early Church - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Women in the Early Church

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  1. Women in the Early Church

  2. Women: Called to be Apostles • An apostle is • One of the close followers of Jesus • One who “goes out” to teach and preach Jesus’ Good News and heal, comfort and challenge others in Jesus’ name • Mary Magdalene • Apostle to the apostles • Was with Jesus in his ministry • Was at the crucifixion (none of the guys were there) • Was first to check Jesus’ tomb • Was first to see the Risen Christ • Reported what she saw to Peter, who doubted her

  3. Gospel of Mary Magdalene • A codex (book form, not scroll form) found in Egypt in 1890s • Translated into English 1950s • Originally written in Greek in the 2nd Century CE • Gnostic • Mary explains secret teachings of Jesus to the other apostles

  4. Excerpt: Gospel of Mary • Chapter 5 • 5) Peter said to Mary, Sister we know that the Savior loved you more than the rest of woman. • 6) Tell us the words of the Savior which you remember which you know, but we do not, nor have we heard them. • 7) Mary answered and said, What is hidden from you I will proclaim to you. • 8) And she began to speak to them these words: I, she said, I saw the Lord in a vision and I said to Him, Lord I saw you today in a vision. He answered and said to me, • 9) Blessed are you that you did not waver at the sight of Me. For where the mind is there is the treasure. • 10) I said to Him, Lord, how does he who sees the vision see it, through the soul or through the spirit? • 11) The Savior answered and said, He does not see through the soul nor through the spirit, but the mind that is between the two that is what sees the vision and it is [...] • (pages 11 - 14 are missing from the manuscript)

  5. Female Deacons, Apostles and Liturgical Leaders • Phoebe (Romans 16:1) – deaconess • Leadership=service • Paul assumes that women are praying and prophesying during worship (I Corinthians 11) • Prisca (aka Priscilla), Junia, Julia, and Nereus' sister, who worked and traveled as missionaries in pairs with their husbands or brothers (Romans 16:3, 7, 15). • Euodia and Syntyche Paul’s co-workers in the gospel (Philippians 4:2-3).

  6. Female Householders • Were in charge of organizing the Mass services in the houses, and accommodating traveling apostles and missionaries • Apphiain Philemon 2; • Prisca in I Corinthians 16:19) (along with Aquila) • Lydia (Acts 16:15) • Nympha of Laodicea (Colossians 4:15)

  7. Order of Widows • Widows were all ages – as young as 20 and as old as 50 and above (life expectancy was late 40s, early 50s) • Some chose to dedicate their lives to the church • Had the role of deacons • Served the poor and the sick and the old • Checked in on people to be sure they were fed, clothed and bathed • Visited Christians who were arrested in prison • Took care of orphaned children

  8. Thecla • From a wealthy family • Refuses to marry fiance • Mother disowns her • Is imprisoned and will be burned • Miraculously set free • Paul respects her but does not baptize her – it might be interpreted wrongly • Baptizes herself

  9. Thecla – Symbol of Women Ascetics • Thecla • May be legendary but very popular • Women ascetics • Represents freedom from expected roles in society • Allowed women to pursue other goals • They became “like men” • They got to do stuff only men got to do • Be leaders • Travel • Do business

  10. Women’s Leadership from later Writings • Ecstatic (full of the Holy Spirit) public speech • Preaching • teaching • leading prayer

  11. Priscilla and Aquila • Made tents with Paul in Corinth • Were Jewish converts to the Way • Were missionaries • Helped establish and lead at least 3 house churches together: in Corinth, Ephesus and Rome

  12. Lydia • Was a purple dye dealer • Purple dye came from the animal living in a murex shell • The animal emitted a sort of purple ink that was collected for the dye • Collecting purple dye took time and cost money • Because of its expense, purple was reserved for royal garments