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Women, Gender, and the Study of Christian History

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 July 2009

Elizabeth A. Clark
Elizabeth A. Clark is John Carlisle Kilgo Professor of Religion at Duke University


Anglo-Saxonist Allen Frantzen, addressing fellow medievalists in 1993, dismissed fears expressed by female colleaguesthat adopting the designation “gender studies” would signal a reinstatement of “familiar male canons while crowding hard-won courses on women writers out of the curriculum.” Such a regression, Frantzen retorted, was “inconceivable,” since “a return to a prefeminist curriculum is as likely in most universities as a resurgence of the electric typewriter.”

Copyright © American Society of Church History 2001

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1. Frantzen, Allen J., “When Women Aren't Enough,” Speculum 68 (1993): 454,CrossRefGoogle Scholarciting Showalter, Elaine, Speaking of Gender (New York, 1989), 10.Google Scholar

2. King, Ursula, “Introduction: Gender and the Study of Religion,” in Religion and Gender, ed. King, (Oxford: Blackwell, 1995), 23, 22.Google Scholar

3. For the “ghettoization” of women's studies within history, see Bennett, Judith M., “Feminism and History,” Gender & History 1 (1989): 252–53. Bennett blames this development in part on scholars' “toning down” the explicitly feminist orientation of their work to fit more comfortably into their a-feminist or anti-feminist disciplinary spaces.CrossRefGoogle ScholarAlso see the assessments by Nelson, Janet L., “Family, Gender and Sexuality in the Middle Ages,” in Companion to Historiography, ed. Bentley, Michael (New York: Routledge, 1997), 167–68,Google Scholar and by Dauphin, Cécile, Farge, Arlette, Fraisse, Geneviève et al. , in “Women's Culture and Power,” in Histories: French Constructions of the Past, eds. Revel, Jacques and Hunt, Lynn, Postwar French Thought I (New York: New Press, 1995), 620: “the fact remains that women's history is for the most part done by women, and it is tolerated on the fringes of a discipline on which it exerts no direct influence”Google Scholar (French original: “Culture et pouvoir des femmes: Essai d'historiographie,” Annales E.S.C. 41 [1986]: 271–94).Google Scholar

4. Bennett, , “Feminism and History,” 256: Bennett urges feminist historians “to regain our moral vision, our political nerve, our feminist indignation.”Google Scholar

5. Thus Liz James's blunt assessment of “stage one” feminist historiography: it is “boring” simply to write that “there were women saints and this is what they did”—yet this approach was acceptable to the patriarchal establishment, so that “we could all safely ‘do women.’ ” In “stage two” (and here she writes as an art historian) the “why” questions were asked, centering around the investigation of a “feminine aesthetic” and an investigation of the means of production (“Introduction,” Women, Men and Eunuchs: Gender in Byzantium [New York: Routledge, 1997), xii–xiv).Google Scholar

6. Smith, Jonathan Z., “Religion, Religions, Religious,” in Critical Terms for Religious Studies, ed. Taylor, Mark C. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998), 281–82.Google Scholar

7. Shaw, Rosalind, “Feminist Anthropology and the Gendering of Religious Studies,” in Religion and Gender, ed. King, , 6869.Google ScholarSee Bynum, Caroline Walker, “Introduction: The Complexity of Symbols,” in Gender and Religion: On the Complexity of Symbols, eds. Bynum, Caroline Walker, Harrell, Stevan, and Richman, Paula (Boston: Beacon, 1986), 2: if “there is no such thing as generic homo religiosus,” then “[n]o scholar studying religion, no participant in ritual, is ever neuter.”Google Scholar

8. See discussion in Scott, Joan W., “Gender: A Useful Category of Historical Analysis,” American Historical Review 91 (1986): 1066.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

9. In Signs 1 (1976): 809–23.CrossRefGoogle ScholarI cite from the version reprinted in the collection of Kelly's essays, Women, History, and Theory: The Essays of Joan Kelly (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984), 118.Google Scholar

10. Kelly, , “The Social Relation of the Sexes,” 1.Google Scholar

11. Kelly, , “The Social Relation of the Sexes,” 3,19.Google ScholarThe next year, Kelly, published a longer essay on this theme, “Did Women Have a Renaissance?” in Becoming Visible: Women in European History, eds. Bridenthal, Renate and Koonz, Claudia (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1977),Google Scholarreprinted in Kelly, , Women, History, and Theory, 19–50.Google Scholar

12. Kelly, , “The Social Relations of the Sexes,” 3–4.Google Scholar

13. Kelly, , “The Social Relation of the Sexes,” 8.Google Scholar

14. Kelly, , “The Social Relation of the Sexes,” 9.Google Scholar

15. Kelly, , “The Social Relation of the Sexes,” 12.Google ScholarThis latter theme Kelly developed in a third essay, “The Doubled Vision of Feminist Theory: A Postscript to the ‘Women and Power’ Conference,” Feminist Studies 5 (1979): 216–27,CrossRefGoogle Scholar reprinted in Kelly, , Women, History, and Theory, 21–64.Google Scholar

16. Kelly, , “The Social Relations of the Sexes,” 1. Fellow Renaissance historian Diane Owen Hughes notes the (somewhat limited) help that the Annales school of history contributed to this process: Annales historians weaned others away from a narrative history of politics and “great men” by suggesting that through the study of household relations and rituals, we could begin to map “the silent world of those ruled by structure rather than event”Google Scholar (“Invisible Madonnas? The Italian Historiographical Tradition and the Women of Medieval Italy,” in Women in Medieval History and Historiography, ed. Stuard, Susan Mosher [Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1987], 49).CrossRefGoogle Scholar

17. For example, Osiek, Carolyn, “Women in House Churches,” in Common Life in the Early Church: Essays Honoring Graydon F. Snyder, ed. Hills, Julian V. (Harrisburg, Pa.: Trinity Press International, 1998), 300–15.Google Scholar

18. For example, Clark, Elizabeth A., “Patrons, Not Priests: Women and Power in Late Ancient Christianity,” Gender & History 2 (1990): 253–73; for the medieval period, see the project “Women's Religious Life and Communities, A.D. 500–1500,”CrossRefGoogle Scholarled by McLaughlin, Mary Martin; interim report, “Looking for Medieval Women,” in Monastic Studies: The Continuity of Tradition, ed. Loades, Judith (Bangor [Wales]: Headstart History, 1991), esp. 274;Google ScholarMcNamara, Jo Ann, “The Need to Give: Suffering and Female Sanctity in the Middle Ages,” in Images of Sainthood in Medieval Europe, eds. Blumenthal-Kosinski, Renate and Szell, Timea (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1991), 199221.Google ScholarFor women as patrons in Buddhism, see Willis, Janice D., “Nuns and Benefactresses: The Role of Women in the Development of Buddhism,” in Women, Religion, and Social Change, eds. Haddad, Yvonne Yazbeck and Findly, Ellison Banks (Albany: SUNY Press, 1985), esp. 7377.Google Scholar

19. Nelson, Janet L., “Women and the Word in the Earlier Middle Ages,” in Women in the Church, eds. Sheils, W. J. and Woods, Diana, Studies in Church History 27 (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1990), 70; cf. 63, 77 for other examples.Google Scholar

20. Dauphin, , Farge, , Fraisse, et al. , “Women's Culture and Power,” 627: “Women, who frequently survive their spouses and are left in charge of jointly owned property, are the guardians of memory during long years of widowhood, which in some cases are the years of a woman's greatest power; others, however, must endure an extended period of growing loneliness and impoverishment.”Google Scholar

21. One primary goal of women's history is “to understand how a women's culture was constructed within a system of inegalitarian relations and how it concealed the flaws of that system”; see Dauphin, , Farge, , Fraisse, et al. , “Women's Culture and Power,” 624 for a discussion of this goal.Google Scholar

22. Harris, Barbara J., English Aristocratic Women, 1450–1550: Marriage and Family, Property and Careers, forthcoming (introduction and chap. 7). I thank Harris for snaring her work with me prior to publication.Google Scholar

23. The phrase is Nelson's, Janet L.; see her essay “Family, Gender and Sexuality in the Middle Ages,” 169. For a detailed examination of an early medieval widow's “will,”Google Scholarsee Nelson's, “The Wary Widow,” in Property and Power in the Early Middle Ages, eds. Davies, Wendy and Fouracre, Paul (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 82113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

24. See now Methuen, Charlotte, “Widows, Bishops and the Struggle for Authority in the Didascalia Apostolorum,” Journal of Ecclesiastical History 46 (1995): 203;CrossRefGoogle Scholaralso see her essay which makes clear that not all classed as “widows” were women with deceased husbands, “The ‘Virgin Widow’: A Problematic Social Role for the Early Church?Harvard Theological Review 90 (1997): 285–98;CrossRefGoogle ScholarTorjesen, Karen Jo, When Women Were Priests: Women's Leadership in the Early Church and the Scandal of their Subordination in the Rise of Christianity (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1993), 145–49, 151–52;Google ScholarThurston, Bonnie Bowman, The Widows: A Women's Ministry in the Early Church (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1989);Google Scholar and Jensen, Anne, God's Self-Confident Daughters: Early Christianity and the Liberation of Women, trans. Dean, O. C. Jr. (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1996; German original, 1992), 2225.Google Scholar

25. Methuen, Charlotte, “‘For Pagans Laugh to Hear Women Teach’: Gender Stereotypes in the Didascalia Apostolorum,” in Gender and Christian Religion, ed. Swanson, R. N., Studies in Church History 34 (Woodbridge, Suffolk: Boydell, 1998), 25. By way of comparison, religious and political contestations in nineteenth-and twentieth-century India over widows' rights—and deaths—provide further evidence for the vulnerability of the condition of widowhood. Recent scholarship on sati tends to emphasize the Western exploitation of a limited phenomenon for political ends.Google ScholarFor some interesting and politically informed discussions on sati, see, for example, Mani, Lata, “Contentious Traditions: the Debate on Sati in Colonial India,” in Recasting Women: Essays in Indian Colonial History, eds. Sangari, Kumkum and Vaid, Sudesh (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1990; 1st ed., New Delhi: Kali for Women, 1989), 88–126;Google ScholarHawley, John S., “Hinduism: Sati and Its Defenders,” in Fundamentalism and Gender, ed. Hawley, John Stratton (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994), 79110.Google ScholarFor a recent case in India in which Muslim custom and Indian law clashed, see Pathak, Zakia and Rajan, Rajeswari Sunder, “‘Shahbano’,” Signs 14 (1989): 558–82,CrossRefGoogle Scholarand Awn, Peter J., “Indian Islam: The Shah Bano Affair,” in Fundamentalism and Gender, 63–78.Google Scholar

26. Even Kelly, Joan, who doubtless wished to claim as much “agency” for women as possible, points to the mode of production and property relations as keys to understanding women's roles: “The Social Relations of the Sexes,” 9, 12.Google Scholar

27. Roper, Lyndal, Oedipus and the Devil: Witchcraft, Sexuality and Religion in Early Modern Europe (New York: Routledge, 1994), 37. Roper's overall argument is that historians have left out “the psychic” from their considerations.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

28. Frow, John, Marxism and Literary History (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1986), 76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

29. For one expression of this problem, see Conway, Jill K., Bourque, Susan C., and Scott, Joan W., “Introduction: The Concept of Gender,” Daedalus 116 (1987): xxii: “Recent social theory has led us to see that changes in the family in early modern and modern Europe did not neatly coincide with changes in the forms of government, economic organization, or religious practice.”Google Scholar

30. In early Christian texts pertaining to women that I have studied, “class” (in the sense of money and status, differently configured in antiquity than later) often reigns supreme: see various essays in my Jerome, Chrysostom, and Friends: Essays and Translations, Studies in Women and Religion 1 (New York: Edwin Mellen, 1979)Google Scholar and The Life of Melania the Younger: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary, Studies in Women and Religion 14 (New York: Edwin Mellen, 1984). The aristocratic associations of women religious continues into the early Middle Ages; see Jane Tibbetts Schulenburg's interesting observations on how biographers of women saints tried to make them “classless”Google Scholar (“Saints’ Lives as a Source for the History of Women, 500–1100,” in Medieval Women and the Sources of Medieval History, ed. Rosenthal, Joel T. [Athens, Ga.: University of Georgia Press, 1990], 287). For historians of the later Middle Ages, more could be known about those whose status was less than aristocratic.Google Scholar See, for example, Oliva, Marilyn, “Aristocracy or Meritocracy? Office-Holding Patterns in Late Medieval English Nunneries,” in Women in the Church, 197–208.Google Scholar

31. Ford, Caroline, “Female Martyrdom and the Politics of Sainthood in Nineteenth-Century France: The Cult of Sainte Philomène,” in Catholicism in Britain and France Since 1789, eds. Tallett, Frank and Atkin, Nicholas (London: Hambledon, 1996), 115–34.Google Scholar

32. McMillan, James F., “Reclaiming a Martyr: French Catholics and the Cult of Joan of Arc, 1890–1920,” in Martyrs and Martyrologies, ed. Wood, Diana (Oxford: Blackwell, 1993), 359–70.Google Scholar

33. Pope, Barbara Corrado, “Immaculate and Powerful: The Marian Revival in the Nineteenth Century,” in Immaculate and Powerful: The Female in Sacred Image and Social Reality, eds. Atkinson, Clarissa W., Buchanan, Constance H., and Miles, Margaret R. (Boston: Beacon, 1985), 173200.Google Scholar

34. Thus Judith Bennett calls historians to engage in studies of the workings of patriarchy throughout history—how it “adapted, changed, and survived over time and place. Women have a large part to play in this historical study of patriarchy, not merely as victims, but also as agents” (“Feminism and History,” 262–63).Google Scholar

35. Lierheimer, Linda, “Preaching or Teaching? Defining the Ursuline Mission in Seventeenth-Century France,” in Women Preachers and Prophets through Two Millennia of Christianity, eds. Kienzle, Beverly Mayne and Walker, Pamela J. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998), 212–26, esp. 213.Google Scholar

36. Vogt, Peter, “A Voice for Themselves: Women as Participants in Congregational Discourse in the Eighteenth-Century Moravian Movement,” in Women Preachers and Prophets, 234–35.Google ScholarAlso see King's, Karen L. comments (“Voices of the Spirit: Exercising Power, Embracing Responsibility”) along this line in the same volume, 339. Likewise, medieval Christian mystics engaged in practices that “pushed back the boundaries of male-defined spirituality” while still accepting “male-defined controls,” to cite Grace Jantzen's study of Christian mysticism.Google ScholarSee Jantzen, Grace M., Power, Gender and Christian Mysticism, Cambridge Studies in Ideology and Religion 8 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 160, although Jantzen largely stresses male attempts to control expressions of women's mystical spirituality.Google Scholar

37. See above, n. 11, for bibliographical information.Google Scholar

38. To be sure, re-periodizing human (and especially Western) history with a view to women's fate is not a recent preoccupation. From different perspectives, nineteenthcentury writers such as Sarah Hale, best-known as editor of the Godey's Lady's Book, and J. J. Bachofen offered their varying imaginative reconstructions; see Hale, Sarah, Woman's Record (2d ed., New York: Harper & Brothers, 1855),Google Scholar discussed in Baym, Nina, “Onward Christian Women: Sarah J. Hale's History of the World,” New England Quarterly 63 (1990): 249–70 (the narrative is one of women's progress under the influence of Christianity, culminating in contemporary America);CrossRefGoogle ScholarBachofen, J. J., Myth, Religion, and Mother Right: Selected Writings of J. J. Bachofen (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1967; translation of the 1927 German original, Mutterrecht und Urreligion, the story of primitive matriarchy's downfall).Google Scholar

39. King, Karen L., “Prophetic Power and Women's Authority: The Case of the Gospel of Mary (Magdalene)/” in Women Preachers and Prophets, 32–33. For a recent attempt to address the question of periodization from late antiquity to the Middle Ages, see Smith, Julia M. H., “ Did Women Have a Transformation of the Roman World?” Gender & History 12 (2000): 552–71.Google Scholar

40. Atkinson, Colin and Atkinson, Jo B., “Subordinating Women: Thomas Bentley's Use of Biblical Women in ‘The Monument of Matrones’ (1582),” Church History 60 (1992): 298–99.Google Scholar

41 See, for example, the essays of Moxey, Keith, “The Battle of the Sexes and the World Upside Down,”Google Scholarand of Head, Thomas, “The Religion of the Femmelettes: Ideals and Experience among Women in Fifteenth- and Sixteenth-Century France,” in That Gentle Strength: Historical Perspectives on Women in Christianity, eds. Coon, Lynda L., Haldane, Katherine J., and Sommer, Elizabeth W. (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1990), 134–48 and 149–75, respectively.Google Scholar

42. Roper, , Oedipus and the Devil, 5.Google Scholar

43. Nelson, Janet L., “Women and the Word in the Earlier Middle Ages,” 76–78 (in an effort to mark more deeply the boundaries between clergy and laity, the line between women and men was more sharply policed);Google ScholarElliott, Dyan, “The Priest's Wife: Female Erasure and the Gregorian Reform,” in Elliott, , Fallen Bodies: Pollution, Sexuality, & Demonology in the Middle Ages (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999), 80106. Conrad Leyser cautions, however, against imagining that misogynist texts map on to social reality; in his view, the Reform movement can be seen as a contest between male religious specialists, using women to “think with”Google Scholar (“Custom, Truth, and Gender in Eleventh-Century Reform,” in Gender and Christian Religion, 75–91, esp. 82–83, 87, 90–91.Google Scholar

44. McNamara, Jo Ann, “The Herrenfrage: The Restructuring of the Gender System, 1050–1150,” in Medieval Masculinities: Regarding Men in the Middle Ages, ed. Lees, Clare A., Medieval Cultures 7 (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1994), 5, 7;Google Scholarsee McNamara, , “The Need to Give,” 204, 221. McNamara plans a book that will reperiodize late antiquity and the early Middle Ages. In her broader scheme, women gained status, compared to their previous and subsequent statuses, in the period between the demise of the Roman Republic and the era of the Gregorian Reform. Private conversation with McNamara, 8 July 2000.Google Scholar

45. The phrase is Hanawalt's, Barbara A., “Golden Ages for the History of Medieval English Women,” in Women in Medieval History and Historiography, 17.Google Scholar

46. Some of the earlier writings by Rosemary Radford Ruether, Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, and myself elaborated this scheme, which became common.Google Scholar

47. See, for example, Hassan, Riffat, “Feminism in Islam,” in Feminism and World Religions, eds. Sharma, Arvind and Young, Katherine K. (Albany: SUNY Press, 1999), 248–78;Google ScholarSmith, Jane I., “Women, Religion and Social Change in Early Islam,” in Women, Religion, and Social Change, 1935.Google Scholar A helpful overview of the varied “historiographies” of early Islam's approach to women can be found in Judith Tucker, “Gender and Islamic History,” in Islamic & European Expansion: The Forging of a Global Order, ed. Adas, Michael (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1993), 3773,Google Scholar and in Ahmed, Leila, Women and Gender in Islam: Historical Roots of a Modern Debate (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992), part II; Ahmed is particularly keen to note the political uses to which discussions of women's place in Islam have been put (see, for example, 166, 237, 243).Google Scholar

48. Lopez, Donald, private conversation, 23 July 2000.Google Scholar

49. For example, see Schuster, Nancy, “Striking a Balance: Women and Images of Women in Early Chinese Buddhism,” in Women, Religion, and Social Change, esp. 103.Google Scholar

50. See the excellent studies and critiques by Falk, Nancy, “Gender and the Contest over the Indian Past,” Religion 28 (1998): 309–18;CrossRefGoogle ScholarChakravarti, Uma, “Whatever Happened to the Vedic Dasi? Orientalism, Nationalism and a Script for the Past,” in Recasting Women, 2787;Google Scholarand Mani, Lata, “Contentious Traditions,” esp. 111–14 (those working for the abolition of sati in the nineteenth century privileged more ancient texts to enable “the belief that Hindu society had fallen from a prior Golden Age” [111]). These studies on India are informed by a more sophisticated approach to the intersections of politics, women, religion, and postcolonial theory than most others I have read. For an example of an author who accepts the “devolution” theme in Indian religion,Google Scholar see Banks, Ellen Findly, “Gargi at the King's Court: Women and Philosophic Innovation in Ancient India,” in Women, Religion and Social Change, 3841; for example, 38: The Vedic period was “an era of unsurpassed advantage and opportunity for women.”Google Scholar

51. See, for example, Meyers, Carol, “Gender Roles and Genesis 3:16 Revisited,” in The Word of the Lord Shall Go Forth, eds. Meyers, Carol and O'Connor, M. (Philadelphia: Oriental Schools of Research, 1983), 337–54;Google Scholaridem, “Procreation, Production, and Protection: Male-Female Balance in Early Israel,” Journal of the American Academy of Religion 51 (1983): 569–93.

52. King, , “Voices of the Spirit,” 340.Google Scholar

53. See the classic essay by Swidler, Leonard, “Jesus Was a Feminist,” Catholic World 212 (1971): 177–83;Google Scholar and the also classic response from Plaskow, Judith, “Blaming the Jews for Inventing Patriarchy,” Lilith 7 (1980): 1112;Google Scholar and idem, “Anti-Judaism in Feminist Christian Interpretation,” in Searching the Scriptures. Vol. I: A Feminist Introduction, ed. Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza (New York: Crossroad, 1993), 117–29. Kraemer, Ross S. notes that some Christian scholars (especially feminists) “have had considerable interest in painting a particularly gloomy portrait of Jewish women's participation in Jewish life at the time of Jesus, so that Jesus himself can be seen as a first-century liberator of women” (“Jewish Women and Christian Origins,” in Women & Christian Origins, eds. Kraemer, Ross Shephard and D'Angelo, Mary Rose [New York: Oxford University Press, 1999], 35).Google Scholar

54. Falk, , “Gender and the Contest over the Indian Past,” 312;Google ScholarChakravarti, , “Whatever Happened to the Vedic Dasi?” 38, 55–56. If Christian feminists gave up the appeal to “origins” as foundational for their views, would they be any the worse for their renunciation? Or is Christian tradition so rooted in historical explanation that any move to renounce the search for historical foundations would necessarily be counted as a blasphemous misrepresentation? Here, it is tempting to reflect on Rita Gross's observation that such historical questions are not so important for Buddhist feminists as for Christian ones “because history is neither exemplary nor normative for Buddhists.”Google ScholarSee Gross, Rita M., “Strategies for a Feminist Revalorization of Buddhism,” in Feminism and World Religions, 84.Google Scholar

55. For Islam, see Moallem, Minoo, “Transnationalism, Feminism, and Fundamentalism,” in Between Woman and Nation: Nationalisms, Transnational Feminisms, and the State, eds. Alarcón, Norma, Caplan, Karen, and Moallem, Minoo (Durham: Duke University Press, 1999), 334;Google Scholaron Protestant fundamentalism, see Balmer, Randall, “American Fundamentalism: The Ideal of Femininity,” in Fundamentalism and Gender, esp. 53.Google Scholar

56. Donaldson, Laura E., “On Medicine Women and White Shame-ans: New Age Native Americanism and Commodity Fetishism as Pop Culture Feminism,” Signs 24 (1999): 677–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

57. A good critique by archeologists Tringham, Ruth and Conkey, Margaret is “Rethinking Figurines: A Critical View from Archaeology of Gimbutas, the ‘Goddess’ and Popular Culture,” in Ancient Goddesses: The Myths and the Evidence, eds. Goodison, Lucy and Morris, Christine (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1998), 2245, 197–202.Google Scholar Now see Eller, Cynthia, The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory: Why an Invented Past Won't Give Women a Future (Boston: Beacon, 2000), esp. chaps. 6, 7, and 9.Google Scholar Also see the critique by classicist Foley, Helene P., “A Question of Origins: Goddess Cults Greek and Modern,” Women's Studies 23 (1994): 193215.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

58. Chakravarti, , “Whatever Happened to the Vedic Dasi?” 78. The phrase “the invention of tradition,” as she acknowledges, comes from Eric Hobsbawm; see chaps. 1 and 7 in The Invention of Tradition, eds. Hobsbawm, and Ranger, Terence (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983);Google Scholar and his interesting earlier essay, The Social Function of the Past: Some Questions,” Past and Present 55 (1972): 316.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

59. Hall, Catherine, “A Jamaica of the Mind: Gender, Colonialism, and the Missionary Venture,” in Gender and Christian Religion, 361–90.Google ScholarAlso see Steinberg's, Jonah exploration of how the Modern Orthodox movement within Judaism has recast the rabbinic and medieval Jewish past by proclaiming that niddah had not to do with menstrual impurity, but allows couples to enjoy “an eternally renewing honeymoon,” stands as another nice example of the mythic recasting of tradition for purposes of present edification;Google Scholar see Steinberg, , “From a ‘Pot of Filth’ to a ‘Hedge of Roses’ (and Back): Changing Theorizations of Menstruation in Judaism,” Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion 13 (1997): 526.Google Scholar

60. King, Ursula, “Introduction,” 19–20.Google Scholar Also see O'Connor, June, “The Epistemological Significance of Feminist Research in Religion,” in Religion and Gender, 57.Google Scholar

61. Scott, Joan W., “The Evidence of Experience,” Critical Inquiry 17 (1991): 787.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

62. Scott, Joan W., “The Evidence of Experience,” Critical Inquiry 17 (1991): 780, 786.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

63. Scott, especially emphasizes this problem in regard to historian E. P. Thompson's book, The Making of the English Working Class; although “experience” is introduced as a category for historical analysis, the “experiences” were all of men (“The Evidence of Experience,” 784–85).Google Scholar

64. For example, Mohanty, Chandra Talpade, “Feminist Encounters: Locating the Politics of Experience,” in Destabilizing Theory: Contemporary Debates, eds. Barrett, Michéle and Phillips, Anne (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1992), 27 (original essay in Copyright 1 [1988]: 30–44).Google Scholar For similar critiques from those working in women's studies in religion, see, for example, Devaney, Sheila Greeve, “The Limits of the Appeal to Women's Experience,” in Shaping New Vision: Gender and Values in American Culture, eds. Atkinson, Clarissa W., Buchanan, Constance H., and Miles, Margaret R. (Ann Arbor: UMI Research Press, 1987), 32;Google ScholarCastelli, Elizabeth A., “Heteroglossia, Hermeneutics, and History: A Review Essay of Recent Feminist Studies of Early Christianity,” Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion 19 (1994): 77.Google Scholar

65. Scott, , “The Evidence of Experience,” 777.Google Scholar

66. Scott, , “The Evidence of Experience,” 778–79.Google Scholar And as historian Denise Riley pointedly reminds scholars who celebrate “women's experience,” those “experiences” are not likely to be the result of “womanhood alone, but [exist] as traces of domination” (“Am I That Name?” Feminism and the Category of “Women” in History [Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1988], 99).Google Scholar

67. Scott, , “The Evidence of Experience,” 797.Google Scholar

68. Scott's summary of Riley's book, “Am I That Name?” in Scott, “The Evidence of Experience,” 777.Google Scholar

69. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1987.Google Scholar

70. New York: Zone Books, 1991.Google Scholar

71. New York: Columbia University Press, 1988.Google Scholar

72. Brown, , The Body and Society, esp. chap. 1;Google Scholaridem, “The Notion of Virginity in the Early Church,” Christian Spirituality: Origins to the Twelfth Century, eds. Bernard McGinn, John Meyendorff, and Jean Leclercq, World Spirituality 16 (New York: Crossroad, 1986), 429, 430, 436.

73. Douglas, Mary, Natural Symbols: Explorations in Cosmology (New York: Pantheon Books, 1970).Google Scholar Also see the warning to historians against effacing “the material praxis of people's lives” in Bordo, Susan, “‘Material Girl’: The Effacements of Postmodern Culture,” in Negotiating at the Margins: The Gendered Discourses of Power and Resistance, eds. Fisher, Sue and Davis, Kathy (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1993), esp. 314. Bordo here warns against what she calls “a new inscription of mind/body dualism. What the body does is immaterial, so long as the imagination is free.”Google Scholar

74. Especially Foucault's Discipline and Punish, The Birth of the Prison, and the volumes of The History of Sexuality.Google Scholar

75. See discussion in Grosz, Elizabeth, “Conclusion: A Note on Essentialism and Difference,” in Feminist Knowledge: Critique and Construct, ed. Gunew, Sneja (London: Routledge, 1990), 338;Google Scholar and Smith, Paul, Discerning the Subject, Theory and History of Literature 55 (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1988), 142–47.Google ScholarScholars of French feminism now often point out that for theorists such as Irigaray and Cixous, “the body” means “the written body.” Moreover, it is helpful to recall that some French feminist writing emerged from an intellectual culture that had privileged a psychoanalytic understanding of the female as “lack”; over against this, French feminists reacted by emphasizing the “positivity” of the female, especially the maternal, body.Google Scholar

76. Foley, , “A Question of Origins,” 199 (critiquing some recent exaltations of “the Goddess”).Google ScholarSee Joy, Morny, “God and Gender: Some Reflections on Women's Invocations of the Divine,” in Religion and Gender, 137: the most problematic idealization of “women's experience” lies in the appeal to “the Goddess.”Google Scholar

77. Weedon, Chris, Feminism, Theory and the Politics of Difference (Oxford: Blackwell, 1999), 102.Google Scholar

78. Published as Studies in Spirituality and Theology, vol. 1 (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1995).Google Scholar

79. Hollywood, The Soul as Virgin Wife, 5.Google Scholar

80. Hollywood, The Soul as Virgin Wife, 24.Google Scholar

81. Hollywood, The Soul as Virgin Wife, 26, 35. She urges close attention to the genre in which accounts of women are written, differentiating male-authored hagiographies from the theologies that Mechthild and Marguerite produced. In Mechthild's text, “the will increasingly displaces the body as an adversary who must be quelled, closed off, and reshaped through ascetic acts” (86). Hollywood faults scholars for not noting the strong distinction between hagiographies of women by men and works such as the ones that Hollywood here studies (27–31).Google Scholar Hollywood's interest in apophatic mysticism (for example, 24), prompted her further study of Luce Irigaray's link to this tradition: Deconstructing Belief: Irigaray and the Philosophy of Religion,” Journal of Religion 78 (1998): 230–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

82. Hollywood, The Soul as Virgin Wife, esp. 50.Google Scholar

83. Yet historian Lyndal Roper, reacting to what she considers “an excessive emphasis on the cultural creation of subjectivity” in recent historical writing, urges historians to a reconsideration of the body, understood in all its physicality; see Roper, Oedipus and the Devil, 3, 4, 17, 21.Google Scholar

84. This argument has been advanced especially by Torjesen, Karen Jo; see her When Women Were Priests, chaps. 4–6 and her essay “Reconstruction of Women's Early Christian History,” in Searching the Scriptures, chap. 19.Google Scholar

85. Stuard, Susan Mosher, “A New Dimension? North American Scholars Contribute Their Perspective,” in Women in Medieval History and Historiography, 94.Google Scholar

86. Osiek, , “Women in House Churches,” 302–3. Simply because women were not addressed in public settings (as recorded in literary texts), she notes, “does not mean that they were not there”; that women were indeed active in business and the professions suggests that that the “social invisibility” accorded women in many ancient texts should not be interpreted as “actual invisibility.” Also note Charlotte Methuen's critique of the other assumption that church space is “public”: the issue is not that “the Church should act as a proper public institution, but that it should represent the right kind of household with the right kind of social roles” (“‘For Pagans Laugh to Hear Women Teach,’” 34).Google Scholar

87. Nelson, , “Women and the Word in the Earlier Middle Ages,” 74.Google Scholar

88. Nelson, Janet L., “The ProblemaUc in the Private,” Social History 15 (1990): 355, 363–64.CrossRefGoogle ScholarHer views reinforce those earlier voiced by Kelly, Joan: in the Middle Ages, the family order was a public order (“The Social Relation of the Sexes,” 14).Google Scholar

89. Yet the public /private distinction can be questioned by scholars of Italian Renaissance/early modern history.Google Scholar See, for example, Chittolini, Giorgio, “The ‘Private,’ the ‘Public,’ the State,” in The Origins of the State in Italy 1300–1600, ed. Kirschner, Julius (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996), 3461;Google Scholar and Chojnacki, Stanley, “Daughters and Oligarchs: Gender and the Early Renaissance State,” in Gender and Society in Renaissance Italy, eds. Brown, Judith C. and Davis, Robert C. (London: Longman, 1998), 6386).Google Scholar Also see Kerber's, Linda fascinating discussion of the ways that the trope of “separate spheres” has been deployed by commentators and historians since the time of De Tocqueville: “Separate Spheres, Female Worlds, Woman's Place: The Rhetoric of Women's History,” Journal of American History 75 (1988): 939.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

90. Pagels, Elaine, The Gnostic Gospels (New York: Random House, 1979), chap. 3;Google ScholarKing, Karen L., ed., Images of Women in Gnosticism, (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1988);Google ScholarKraemer, Ross Shepard, Her Share of the Blessings: Women's Religion among Pagans, Jews, and Christians in the Greco-Roman World (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992), chap. 11 (“Heresy as Women's Religion: Women's Religion as Heresy”);Google ScholarTrevett, Christine, “Gender, Authority and Church History: A Case Study of Montanism,” Feminist Theology 17 (1998): 924;CrossRefGoogle ScholarJensen, , God's Self-Confident Daughters, 133–82 (on Montanist women); Virginia Burrus, The Making of a Heretic: Gender, Authority, and the Priscillianist Controversy (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995), passim;Google ScholarClark, Elizabeth A., “Elite Networks and Heresy Accusations: Towards a Social Description of the Origenist Controversy,” Semeia 56 (1991): 81117.Google Scholar

91. See Abels, Richard and Harrison, Ellen, “Participation of Women in Languedocian Catharism,” Medieval Studies 41 (1979): 215–51;CrossRefGoogle ScholarBrenon, Anne, “The Voice of the Good Women: An Essay on the Pastoral and Sacerdotal Role of Women in the Cathar Church,” in Women Preachers and Prophets, 114–33;Google Scholar see also her book, Les Cathars: Vie et mart d'une églisle chrétienne (Paris: J. Grancher, 1996).Google Scholar

92. McDonnell, Ernest W., The Beguines and Beghards in Medieval Culture (New York: Octagon, 1969; 1st ed., 1953).Google Scholar For selections from Beguine literature, see Petroff, Elizabeth Alvilda, ed., Medieval Women's Visionary Literature (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986), chaps. 4, 5, and 7.Google ScholarFor extended discussions of the theology of Beguines Mechthild of Magdeburg and Marguerite Porete, see Hollywood, The Soul as Virgin Bride, chaps. 3 and 4. Jantzen, Power, Gender and Christian Mysticism, emphasizes the dangers incurred by women mystics from charges of “heresy” (chap. 7 and 325–27).Google Scholar

93. Trevor-Roper, Hugh, “Witches and Witchcraft: An Historical Essay,” Encounter 28, 5 (1967): 325 and 28, 6 (1967): 13–34;Google Scholar also see his The European Witch-Craze of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries (Harmondsworth, U.K.: Penguin, 1969).Google Scholar Among the numerous studies are Barstow, Anne Llewellyn, Witchcraze: A New History of the European Witch Hunts (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1994);Google ScholarAnkarloo, Bengt and Henningsen, Gustav, eds., Early Modern European Witchcraft: Centers and Peripheries (Oxford: Clarendon, 1990);Google ScholarRoper, , Oedipus and the Devil, part III. For other studies, see notes in Clark, Elizabeth A. and Richardson, Herbert, eds., Women and Religion (rev. ed.; San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1996), 351–54.Google Scholar

94. Whitney, Elspeth, “The Witch ‘She’/The Historian ‘He’: Gender and the Historiography of the European Witch Hunts,” Journal of Women's History 7 (1995): esp. 86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

95. Peters, Kate, “‘Women's Speaking Justified’: Women and Discipline in the Early Quaker Movement,” in Gender and Christian Religion, 227 (the London gutter-press accused Quaker women of sexual depravity).Google Scholar

96. Walker, Pamela J., “A Chaste and Fervid Eloquence: Catherine Booth and the Ministry of Women in the Salvation Army,” in Women Preachers and Prophets, 297–98.Google Scholar

97. Walker, Pamela J., “A Chaste and Fervid Eloquence,” 298.Google Scholar

98. Burrus, Virginia, “The Heretical Woman as Symbol in Alexander, Athanasius, Epiphanius, and Jerome,” Harvard Theological Review 83 (1991): 229–48;Google Scholaridem, “‘Equipped for Victory’: Ambrose and the Gendering of Orthodoxy,” Journal of Early Christian Studies 4 (1996): 461–76.

99. See Elliott, , Fallen Bodies, chap. 4 and 118, 160. For an analysis of the phenomenon that emphasizes the side of rhetoric, see Leyser, “Custom, Truth, and Gender in Eleventh-Century Reform.”Google Scholar

100. Bock, Gisela, “Women's History and Gender History: Aspects of an International Debate,” Gender & History 1 (1989): 11, 14, 17.CrossRefGoogle ScholarFor Bock, women's history and gender history (here elided) attempt to render visible “the concrete, manifold and changing forms of women's and men's bodily experience, activity, and representation.” That “gender studies” is often taken to mean “women's studies” is also noted by Ursula King, in her “Introduction: Gender and the Study of Religion,” 4–5, 30; likewise Susan Mosher Stuard, “Fashion's Captives: Medieval Women in French Historiography,” in Women in Medieval History and Historiography, 71.Google Scholar

101. Bock, , “Women's History and Gender History,” 18. As one example, Bock argued that the history of religions remained “incomprehensible” if treated as a “gender-neutral” field of study (21).Google Scholar

102. Haraway, Donna J., “‘Gender’ for a Marxist Dictionary,” in Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: The Reinvention of Nature (New York: Routledge, 1991; German original, 1987), 132—a distinction that Haraway claims goes back to Marx's and Engels's inability to historicize the man/woman relation.Google Scholar

103. Haraway's succinct analysis of Rubin, “‘Gender’,” 137 (Rubin would doubtless add, “men's sexual needs”).Google Scholar See Rubin, Gayle, “The Traffic in Women,” in Toward an Anthropology of Women, ed. Reiter, Rayna Rapp (New York: Monthly Review, 1975), 157210. Rubin's thesis was overtly political: “At the most general level, the social organization of sex rests upon gender, obligatory heterosexuality, and the constraint of female sexuality” (179).Google Scholar

104. Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky, “Gender Criticism,” in Redrawing the Boundaries: The Transformation of English and American Literary Studies, eds. Greenblatt, Stephen and Gunn, Giles (New York: Modern Language Association of America, 1992), 274.Google Scholar

105. The history of this discussion is well reviewed in Haraway, “‘Gender’,” 137–46.Google Scholar

106. Butler, Judith, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (New York: Routledge, 1990), esp. chap. 1.Google Scholar

107. Butler, Gender Trouble, 7.Google Scholar

108. Butler, Gender Trouble, 140.Google Scholar

109. Sedgwick, “Gender Criticism,” 273.Google Scholar

110. Sedgwick, “Gender Criticism,” 293.Google Scholar

111. Scott, “Gender,” 1053, 1054.Google Scholar

112. Scott, “Gender,” 1063, 1066.Google Scholar

113. Scott, “Gender,” 1067, 1070.Google Scholar

114. Scott, “Gender,” 1073. The concepts of “man” and “woman” are both empty and overflowing categories—“[e]mpty because they have no ultimate, transcendent meaning. Overflowing because even when they appear to be fixed, they still contain within them alternative, denied, or suppressed definitions” (1074).Google Scholar

115. Stansell, Christine, “A Response to Joan Scott,” International Labor and Working-Class History 31 (1987): 29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

116. Bock, , “Women's History and Gender History,” 16.Google Scholar

117. Poovey, Mary, “Recent Studies of Gender,” Modern Philology 88 (1991): 420.Google Scholar

118. Koonz, Claudia, “Post Scripts,” The Women's Review of Books 6 (1989): 19.CrossRefGoogle ScholarHistorian Christine Stansell complained, “While we were occupied with realigning social history with formal politics, the edge of speculation has moved away from the nature of society to the nature of knowing; experience lost out to epistemology … the franchise on the big questions … has gone to the literati” (“A Response to Joan Scott,” 25). Even the history of sexuality, Lyndal Roper objected, should not be reduced to a “linguistic taxonomy” (Oedipus and the Devil, 160). Feminist historian Claudia Koonz pointedly asked, “[a]re political battles to be won or lost on the field of discourse?” (“Post Scripts,” 20).Google Scholar

119. I thank Amy Hollywood for stressing this point in her response to an earlier version of this paper delivered at “Congress 2000: The Future of the Study of Religion,” Boston University, 14 September 2000.Google Scholar

120. Scott, “Evidence/’ 792–93.Google Scholar

121. Scott, Joan Wallach, “‘L'ouvriere! Mot impie, sordide…’: Women Workers in the Discourse of French Political Economy, 1840–1860,” in Scott, Gender and the Politics of History (New York: Columbia University Press, 1988), 162.Google Scholar

122. Scott, Joan Wallach, “Introduction,” in Gender and the Politics of History, 4.Google Scholar

123. Scott, Joan Wallach, “Women's History,” in Gender and the Politics of History, 27 (an original version of this essay appeared in Past and Present 101 [1983]: 141–57).Google Scholar Nor does moving from a more “objective,” analytical view of history to one that holds history to be an interpretive practice mean that standards are being abandoned, since the community of historians shares “a commitment to accuracy and to procedures of verification and documentation,” although the latter are themselves open to debate and to change (Scott, Joan Wallach, “AHR Forum: History in Crisis? The Others’ Side of the Story,” American Historical Review 94 [1989]: 690).CrossRefGoogle Scholar

124. Weedon, , Feminism, Theory and the Politics of Difference, 107.Google Scholar

125. Scott, , “AHR Forum: History in Crisis?” 690.Google Scholar

126. Bennett, , “Feminism and History,” 258. In this citation, Bennett (writing ca. 1988) does not yet fully register the newer, discursive understandings of “gender” as used by Scott.Google Scholar

127. I thank Barbara Harris of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's department of history for helping to clarify this point for me.Google Scholar

128. Borresen, Kari, a scholar of women in Christian history and theology, is one of the few who outrightly rejects the sex/gender distinction on which much earlier women's scholarship was based. Blaming the prevalence of the distinction on social scientists, she believes that the “sharp distinction between sex as biologically determined and gender as culturally constructed” is simply “a relic of androcentrism in asexual disguise.” Labeling her own approach more “holistic,” she argues that “gender” should mean both “psycho-physical sex” and “socio-cultural [constructed] gender.” Her own work, however, does not appear to replicate Judith Butler's argument, that is, that sex as well as gender should be considered a “performance.”Google Scholar See Borresen, Kari Elisabeth, “Women's Studies of the Christian Tradition: New Perspectives,” in Religion and Gender, 246–47;Google Scholaridem, “Recent and Current Research on Women in the Christian Tradition,” Studia Patristica (Texte und Untersuchungen zur Geschichte der altchristlichen Literatur) 29 (1997): 224. Børresen's larger project, however, is to trace the intellectual history of the notion of the “imago Dei” in Christian theology; see Børresen, Kari Elisabeth, ed., The Image of God: Gender Models in Judaeo-Christian Tradition (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1995).Google Scholar

129. Frantzen, “When Women Aren't Enough,” 451.Google Scholar

130. Boyd, Stephen B., Longwood, W. Merle, and Muesse, Mark W., eds., Redeeming Men: Religion and Masculinities (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1996).Google Scholar

131. Boyd, et al. , Redeeming Men, xiii–xiv, citing Brod, “The Case for Men's Studies,” in The Making of Masculinities: The New Men's Studies, ed. Brod, Harry (Winchester, Mass.: George Allen & Unwin, 1987), 40.Google Scholar

132. Kirkley, Evelyn A., “Is It Manly To Be Christian? The Debate in Victorian and Modern America,” in Redeeming Men, esp. 80–83.Google Scholar

133. Fout, John C., “Policing Gender: Moral Purity Movements in Pre-Nazi Germany and Contemporary America,” in Redeeming Men, 104.Google Scholar Also see Fout's, longer study of the topic in the Journal of Men's Studies 1 (1992): 531.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

134. For example, Leyser, Conrad, “Masculinity in Flux: Nocturnal Emission and the Limits of Celibacy in the Early Middle Ages”;Google ScholarNelson, Janet L., “Monks, Secular Men and Masculinity, c. 900”;Google ScholarBalzaretti, Ross, “Men and Sex in Tenth-century Italy”;Google ScholarSwanson, Robert N., “Clergy and Masculinity from Gregorian Reform to Reformation”;Google ScholarCullum, Patricia H., “Clergy, Masculinity and Transgression in Late Medieval England,” all in Masculinity in Medieval Europe, ed. Hadley, D. M. (London: Longman, 1999), 103–96.Google Scholar

135. Boyarin, Daniel, Unheroic Conduct and the Rise of Heterosexuality: The Invention of the Jewish Man (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997);Google ScholarSatlow, Michael L., “Try To Be a Man': The Rabbinic Construction of Masculinity,” Harvard Theological Review 89 (1996): 1940;CrossRefGoogle Scholaridem, “Jewish Constructions of Nakedness in Late Antiquity,” Journal of Biblical Literature 116 (1997): 429–54; Eilberg-Schwartz, Howard, God's Phallus and Other Problems for Men and Monotheism (Boston: Beacon, 1994).Google Scholar

136. McNamara, , “The Herrenfrage,” esp. 3–8.Google Scholar

137. Burrus, Virginia, “Begotten, Not Made”: Conceiving Manhood in Late Antiquity (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2000).Google Scholar

138. Burrus, , “Begotten, Not Made,” 3.Google Scholar

139. Burrus, , “Begotten, Not Made,” 5. But divine “transcendence,” too, was masculinized: the symbolization of the doctrine of the Trinity, Burrus argues, entails “a radical suppression of materiality … accompanied by an explicit masculinization of the constructed ‘self,’ articulated in the theological terms of a motherless patriliny” (185, 57).Google Scholar

140. Burrus, , “Begotten, Not Made,” 190.Google Scholar

141. Provocatively developed by Nelson, Janet in “Women and the Word in the Earlier Middle Ages,” 58–59 and n. 20. On the one hand, we should ask, “For whom was it good to think?”; on the other, we should reflect on the translation of the phrase, for “bonnes a penser” can also mean “goods to think” (that is, “women as property”). In a forthcoming essay, Shelly Matthews correctly stresses that Lévi-Strauss meant more than that woman was “a sign in the text.” She quotes his caveat, that women are not to be reduced to “pure sign,” as phonemes and words are:“ [f]or words do not speak, while women do; as producers of signs, women can never be reduced to the status of symbols or tokens”Google Scholar(Levi-Strauss, Claude, Structural Anthropology [New York: Basic Books, 1963], 61,Google Scholarcited in Matthews, , “Thinking With Thecla: Issues in Feminist Historiography,” Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion 17 (2001, forthcoming). Lévi-Strauss appears to react to allegations that his notion of the “exchange of women” in his Les Structures élémentaire de la parenté is “anti-feminist.”Google Scholar

142. See, for example, Smith, Julia M. H., “Gender and Ideology in the Early Middle Ages,” in Gender and the Christian Religion, 5173; and Leyser, “Custom, Truth, and Gender,” in the same volume, 75–91.Google Scholar

143. Leyser, “Custom, Truth, and Gender,” 91.Google Scholar

144. Strathern, Marilyn, “Marriage Exchanges: A Melanesian Comment,” Annual Review of Anthropology 13 (1984): 50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

145. Bynum, Caroline Walker, “‘ … And Woman His Humanity’: Female Imagery in the Religious Writing of the Later Middle Ages,” in Gender and Religion: On the Complexity of Symbols, 257288;Google Scholaridem, Jesus as Mother: Studies in the Spirituality of the High Middle Ages, Publications for the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, UCLA, 16 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1982); Coakley, John, “Gender and the Authority of the Friars: The Significance of Holy Women for Thirteenth-Century Franciscans and Dominicans,” Church History 60 (1991): 445–60;CrossRefGoogle Scholaridem, “Friars, Sanctity, and Gender: Mendicant Encounters with Saints, 1250–1325,” in Medieval Masculinities, 91–110.

146. Malamud, Margaret, “Gender and Spiritual Self-Fashioning: The Master-Disciple Relationship in Classical Sufism,” Journal of the American Academy of Religion 64 (1996): esp. 101–2: when female imagery was applied to the disciples, it betokened their “dependence and subordination,” but when applied to the master, it suggested creative and nurturing powers.Google Scholar

147. Jay, Nancy, “Sacrifice as Remedy for Having Been Born of Woman,” in Immaculate and Powerful, 283309.Google Scholar

148. Mani, “Contentious Traditions,” 90, 118. Mani writes, “Tradition was thus not the ground on which the status of women was being contested. Rather the reverse was true: women in fact became the site on which tradition was debated and reformulated. What was at stake was not women but tradition” (118). Or in one last example, how female characters in religious literature could be used to introduce novel ways of thinking about philosophy, as in the story of Gargi at the king's court in the Brhadaranyaka Upanishad;Google Scholarsee Findly, in “Gargi at the King's Court,” in Women, Religion and Social Change, esp. 38, 45.Google Scholar

149. Scott, “Gender,” 1069, 1073, emphasizing that the nature of the process depends on its specific historical determination.Google Scholar

150. Cameron, Averil, “Sacred and Profane Love: Thoughts on Byzantine Gender,” in Women, Men and Eunuchs, 17.Google Scholar

151. Another essay that also falls into this category is by art historian Brubaker, Leslie and is entitled, “Memories of Helena: Patterns in Imperial Female Matronage in the Fourth and Fifth Centuries” (in Women, Men and Eunuchs, 5275). Helena, the Emperor Constantine's mother, was of course a “real woman,” and she is credited with the extravagant patronage (or Brubaker prefers, “matronage”) of building projects that secured the church's presence in the Holy Land and elsewhere in the early fourth century. As Brubaker documents, until the mid-fifth century, monuments were commissioned (often by women) that imitated Helena's activities and honored her contributions to the church. But thereafter, imperial women, doubtless stimulated by ecclesiastical decrees honoring the Virgin Mary as the “Mother of God,” began increasingly to dedicate buildings and other monuments to the Virgin, a chief exemplar of the new ascetic ideal. Women had helped to construct “Helena” through their material projects, and now they apparently abandoned dedications to her, although “Helena-as-symbol” lived on into the Byzantine period. Brubaker asks “why?” and posits (provocatively if speculatively) that Helena's ideologically loaded exemplification as “upholder of traditional Roman social codes,” “the honour of men,” “commitment to family,” and “specific lineage claims” were values increasingly called into question as the highest “goods” of society. Brubaker's essay, I think, weds the strengths of “women's history” with those of “gender history” to good advantage.Google Scholar

152. Cooper, Kate, The Virgin and the Bride: Idealized Womanhood in Late Antiquity (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1996).Google Scholar

153. Cooper, , The Virgin and the Bride, 4.Google Scholar

154. Cooper, , The Virgin and the Bride, 5–11.Google Scholar

155. Cooper, , The Virgin and the Bride, 5. A man's practice of sexual temperance—manifest in his harmonious, faithful relationship to a wife—was understood to signal “the selfcontrol of a male protagonist in matters other than the sexual” (11).Google Scholar

156. Cooper, , The Virgin and the Bride, 14, 82. See 16–17: Cooper aims “to chart the subversion of the rhetorical economy itself.”Google Scholar

157. Cooper, , The Virgin and the Bride, 85–86, 113.Google Scholar

158. Cooper, , The Virgin and the Bride, 147.Google Scholar

159. Likewise, , Cooper's essay, “Apostles, Ascetic Women, and Questions of Audience: New Reflections on the Rhetoric of Gender in the Apocryphal Acts” (Society of Biblical literature 1992 Seminar Papers [Atlanta: Scholars, 1992], 147–53), explores texts that, she argues, were “made-to-measure for rhetorical purposes” (149); the fight to win women for Christianity in the Apocryphal Acts is “not really about women,” but “represents a challenge to the social order” (151).Google Scholar

160. Chartier, Roger, Cultural History: Between Practices and Representations, trans. Cochrane, Lydia G. (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1988), 1314, 34.Google Scholar

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