Ordained Women in the Early Church
A Documentary History
Publication Year: 2011
Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Title Page, Copyright Page
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In the collection that follows, we believe that we have included all known evidence for women deacons and presbyters, at least in the Greek- and Latin-speaking worlds. The existing evidence is published in many sources, some accessible to the general reader, but some published only in old and obscure reports, and a considerable amount not translated from the original languages...
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Chapter One. INTRODUCTION
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While there have been several studies of women in church office in recent years, none has attempted to collect all the evidence, both literary and epigraphical. That is the goal of the present volume. It builds on and supplements the collection of literary texts made by Josephine Mayer...
Chapter Two. NEW TESTAMENT TEXTS AND THEIR PATRISTIC COMMENTATORS
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The New Testament texts most frequently understood to refer to women in church office and that have been commented upon favorably with respect to women deacons are Rom 16:1–2 and 1 Tim 3:11. While today scholars are divided on whether the women of 1 Tim 3:11 are deacons or wives of deacons, the ancient consensus, in a world in which women...
Chapter Three. WOMEN DEACONS IN THE EAST: Literary Texts, Literary Allusions, Inscriptions
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It is clear that the office of female deacon or deaconess was much more present in the East than in the West. We can probably assume that Phoebe and other unnamed women deacons like her in the first and perhaps second century belonged to an office or function that was not distinguished by sex (see discussion in chapter 2)...
Chapter Four. WOMEN DEACONS IN THE EAST: Canons and Comments on Church Practice
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After having seen some of the real data about the lives and activities of female deacons, we turn to some of the prescriptive texts to compare images of their functions in the church...
Chapter Five. WOMEN DEACONS IN THE EAST: Later Texts Bearing on Earlier Evidence
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The following discussions in the Eastern Church from the seventh century and later all shed light on further interpretation of some of the texts presented in the previous chapter. Several, for example, witness to the belief in their day that, though deaconesses no longer functioned liturgically, they were once fully ordained members of the clergy and even entrusted...
Chapter Six. WOMEN DEACONS IN THE WEST
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There is no evidence for female deacons in the West until the fifth century, about the same time, curiously, that the inscriptions about female presbyters appear. The objections to women serving at the altar, however, are from the previous century, probably under the influence of Priscillian (see chapter 8, First Synod of Saragossa)...
Chapter Seven. WOMEN DEACONS: Testamentum Domini Nostri Jesu Christi and Related Texts
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The TD is an early Christian church order, depending literarily on some form of Hippolytus’ Apostolic Tradition, as well as an apocalypse and other sources.1 It purports to include the instructions Christ gave to the Twelve after the Resurrection, on issues of ecclesiastical order,...
Chapter Eight. WOMEN PRESBYTERS
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The title of presbyter is always subject to contextual interpretation. Whether of males or females, it can refer to an elderly person, as for example the presbyteroi and presbyterai in 1 Tim 5:1–2, while the presbyteroi of 5:17 are probably in some position of authority. Moreover...
Chapter Nine. CONCLUSION
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In the preceding pages, we have presented what we believe to be all the extant evidence in Latin and Greek for women holding the offices of deacon and presbyter in both the Eastern and Western Church. Also included are a few references from the Syriac-speaking churches...
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Index of Ancient Names
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Index of Deaconesses, Presbyters, and Episcopa
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Index of Modern Authors
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Page Count: 240
Illustrations: 14 halftones, 2 maps
Publication Year: 2011