'This Female Man of God:' Women and Spiritual Power in the Patristic Age, AD 350-450

'This Female Man of God:' Women and Spiritual Power in the Patristic Age, AD 350-450

'This Female Man of God:' Women and Spiritual Power in the Patristic Age, AD 350-450

'This Female Man of God:' Women and Spiritual Power in the Patristic Age, AD 350-450

Synopsis

This Female Man of Godis a study of holy women in late Roman society. In the early church, many women were considered "holy" and were revered by their peers and by the male establishment for their profound piety. These women preached and converted both men and women; they gave up families, homes and possessions; they confounded secular potentates and religious authorities in their uncompromising pursuit of God; and they revolutionized their own domestic spheres. While many studies have focused on the great men of the period, these women have been largely forgotten. This groundbreaking book examines the role of Christian women in the patristic age and shows how their experiences were deeply revealing of both the temporal and church politics of the time.

Excerpt

This book attempts to convey something of the lives and nature of certain women at a certain period of history; it has used a diversity of odd bed-fellows as its source material in so doing. In apology for occasional translational inconsistencies in presentation, then, I can only say in my own defence that I have found it to be common to this area of work. I have usually translated titles to Latin and Greek works, exceptions being where the original title seemed to me more instantly recognisable and thus affording less confusion; and those (for instance some of John Chrysostom's tracts) where the titles are equally unwieldy in both languages and easier to abbreviate in the original. Periodical titles are abbreviated following the conventions of l' Année Philologique.

It is a great pleasure to me to be able to set down in print the debts of gratitude I owe, to colleagues, friends riends and family. From my former studies which led me finally to this point, my deepest respect and affection go first and foremost to Eda Forbes, without whom I should have fallen at the very first hurdle; and to Miriam Griffin and John Matthews, both of whom have inspired so many besides myself with a desire to 'do something more' in this field. In St Andrews, where this book originated in a research degree, I owe more than I can say to the Department of Ancient History with its unique talent for blending scholasticism, support, humour, gossip, and a boot from behind where needed; and particularly to my colleague in the enviable life of a research student, Scottie, who kept me sane and instilled in me a little of each of his humanity, his sense of proportion, and his Gaelic. The greatest debt of gratitude, however, goes to my former supervisor and current mentor, confidante and prop, Jill Harries. Jill's meticulous scholarship lifted my aspirations; her unstinted assistance lifted my spirit at times of crisis and uncertainty.

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