Women 's Influence On Women

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Although rarely talked about, women were a driving force in the establishment and growth of Christianity. Jesus Christ is remarked by some historians as the first feminists, believing women should have the equality to study, teach, and preach. “If you leave out Jesus and the Apostle Paul, it’s perfectly possibly to tell the story of early Christianity without ever mentioning a man.” (“Handmaids” 2/1) Women played key roles in Jesus’s birth, ministry, death, and resurrection. Women have always been a part of Christianity, although often overlooked and hidden. Constantine legalizing Christianity was the beginning of many changes ahead for women in this time. Matthew, Mark, Paul, and Luke all document that a noteworthy amount of women had becoming the following basis for Jesus. Celsus, a 2nd century detractor of the faith, wrote that the church only attracted “the silly and the mean and the stupid, with women and children.” This gives us the image of the church members being a majority of women. Some scholars believe that in the first century, the majority of Christians were women. This shift in the sex ratio can be attributed to Christians keeping girl infants, unlike other cultures who wanted only boys. Christians prohibited any form of infanticide or abortion, this was the their way of trying to even out the gender imbalance that was currently existing among pagans. This would account for more females being around compared to elsewhere. Due to this imbalance, Christian women had the pleasure of receiving superior status. Much unlike their pagan equivalent. Henry Chadwick, a British historian, said “Christianity seems to have been successful among women. If was often through the wives that it penetrated the upper classes of socie... ... middle of paper ... ...oritative. Wayne Meeks says “..a number of women broke through the normal expectations of female roles.” (1983:71) Christian women soon started having more power and status in religion and within their family. Paul may have even utilized women more than Jesus. The New Testament mentions he has thirty-six colleagues, and of those sixteen were women. Junia “was the foremost among apostles” (Romans 16:7) Romans and Philippians gives evidence of women apostles being involved in the earliest spreading of the Christian message. In the Letters of Paul, he acknowledges Prisca, Junia, Julia, and Nereus’ sister. They were all missionaries in pairs with their husbands or brothers that would work and travel. Paul explains that Prisca and her husband risked losing their lives to save his. Junia, who had been put in jail for her labor, is described as an important apostle.

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