Pauline Epistles and the Role of Women in Early Christian Communities Argumentative Essay

A look at early Christian communities and the roles occupied by women as depicted by the Pauline Epistles.
# 150467 | 2,987 words | 9 sources | MLA | 2009 | US


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Description:

This paper examines the role of women in Early Christian communities, as demonstrated in the Pauline Epistles, which were recorded between 50 C.E. until the mid-second century. According to the paper, the Pauline Epistles can be used to chronicle the evolution of women as Christianity developed its theology, structure, and scriptures. The paper further notes that through a consideration of the passages concerning females, it becomes clear that Christianity, in relation to its religious and cultural antecedents, initially possessed a progressive stance regarding the role and treatment of women within communities. The paper explores various factors that encouraged such a progressive view, noting the influence of Greek culture on the Early Church. The paper also analyzes New Testament textual passages to show when the shift away from Egalitarianism began to take place. The paper concludes by stating that although the apostle Paul originally intended for women to have an equal role in the Church, eventually the Church became more structured and women had to subscribe to significantly different rules than men, assuming a more repressed role within Christian communities.

From the Paper:

"Cultural and religious notions about the position of women in society and faith around the inception of Christianity cast women into a subordinate role in the community and even prohibited women from enjoying certain liberties. The Judaic tradition concerning the relations between men and women are founded in the interpretation of the laws which Moses spoke to Israel after receiving the Ten Commandments. The interpretation of the laws "led to women being classified along with her husband's ox or ass; women were in fact movable possessions" (Cumming 520). Although the seventh of the Ten Commandments - thou shall not commit adultery - appears to be without a gender bias, adultery was only committed, in practice, when a legal wife who was acquired by purchase had sexual intercourse with a man who was not her husband (Exodus 21: 7,8). Though laws did not ignore the moral aspect of male-female relations, "the emphasis was on the property value and usefulness of women" (Cumming 520). Moreover, men and women were required to pray separately, and women could hold no positions of authority in the Temple."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • "The First Letter to the Corinthians." The New Testament and Other Early Christian Writings: a Reader. Ed. Bart Ehrman. New York: Oxford UP, 2004. 205-217
  • "The First Letter to Timothy." The New Testament and Other Early Christian Writings: a Reader. Ed. Bart Ehrman. New York: Oxford UP, 2004. 253-257
  • "The Letter to the Ephesians." The New Testament and Other Early Christian Writings: a Reader. Ed. Bart Ehrman. New York: Oxford UP, 2004. 233-237
  • "The Letter to the Romans." The New Testament and Other Early Christian Writings: a Reader. Ed. Bart Ehrman. New York: Oxford UP, 2004. 191-204
  • "The Letter to Titus." The New Testament and Other Early Christian Writings: a Reader. Ed. Bart Ehrman. New York: Oxford UP, 2004. 262-263

Cite this Argumentative Essay:

APA Format

Pauline Epistles and the Role of Women in Early Christian Communities (2012, February 19) Retrieved July 15, 2019, from https://www.academon.com/argumentative-essay/pauline-epistles-and-the-role-of-women-in-early-christian-communities-150467/

MLA Format

"Pauline Epistles and the Role of Women in Early Christian Communities" 19 February 2012. Web. 15 July. 2019. <https://www.academon.com/argumentative-essay/pauline-epistles-and-the-role-of-women-in-early-christian-communities-150467/>

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