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date: 04 December 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter analyzes the practical and theoretical challenges to writing women’s history, particularly for the period in which Christianity begins. It explores problems of definition and the conjunction of the terms “history,” “women,” and “Christian.” It surveys the surviving data, including literary sources composed by women (or not), literary sources composed by men, documentary evidence, inscriptions, and legal materials, with an eye to both ancient women’s history in general and early Christian women specifically. The chapter concludes that, in spite of the enormous challenges, to abandon the effort to do this work is ethically problematic, in that it reproduces, reauthorizes, and reinscribes the exclusion of women from historical memory.

Keywords: women’s history, early Christian women, Jewish women, methodology, historiography

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