Women's Religions in the Greco-Roman World: A Sourcebook

By Ross Shepard Kraemer | Go to book overview

ONE
Observances, Rituals, and Festivals

This section assembles ancient descriptions of women's engagement in various religious practices. How accurate these descriptions are continues to be an unresolved issue.

At a fairly basic level, how shall we evaluate accounts by men who claim to know the details of women's rites from which men are supposedly excluded? The classical Athenian playwright Euripides, obviously needing to explain his source even within the confines of drama, solves the problem with hidden male observers. In his Bacchae, excerpted in this section (entries 1 and 2), a herdsman concealed behind the trees reports back to King Pentheus, who himself then spies on the women worshippers of Dionysos to his ultimate detriment. What sources Euridipes actually had and whether these sources were accurate, or even intended to be, remains uncertain.

The fourth-century orator Demosthenes, on the other hand, was apparently able to describe women's activities for two reasons: at least one male, his opponent Aeschines, is said to have participated in them and at least some of the activities took place in public, where any observer could have seen them (entry 3). This, of course, is no guarantor of the accuracy of his account, but it does address one fundamental difficulty.

With many of these texts, the question of historical reliability extends further. In the case of some Christian texts in particular, the authors report activities they wish to discredit, whether it is Epiphanius's description of women functioning as priests and baking cakes for the Virgin Mary (entry 38) or John Chrysostom's disapproval of the attendance of Christian women at synagogue festivals (entry 41). By a historical principle known sometimes as the criterion of embarrassment (or sometimes of dissimilarity), we might consider such narratives probable. According to this principle, writers are presumed to omit embarrassing or undesirable reports unless they themselves consider them true. Reports of victory by the victorious are to be scrutinized carefully, while reports of defeat by the defeated are more likely to be trustworthy.

-9-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Women's Religions in the Greco-Roman World: A Sourcebook
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Contents xi
  • Abbreviations xxv
  • Women's Religions in the Greco-Roman World *
  • Introduction 3
  • One - Observances, Rituals, and Festivals 9
  • Two - Researching Real Women: Documents To, From, and by Women 117
  • Three - Religious Office 241
  • Four - New Religious Affiliation and Conversion 279
  • Five - Holy, Pious, and Exemplary Women 329
  • Six - The Feminine Divine 415
  • Index of Female Names 479
  • Index of Ancient Sources 484
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 487

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.