The perspectives of the Greek papyri of Egypt on the religious beliefs, practices and experiences of Christian and Jewish women from 100 CE to 400 CE

Erica Ann Mathieson
The documentary papyri are an unparalleled source for the study of women in antiquity providing information about women's lives and relationships. Among the papyri are numbers of female-authored texts which allow women's own voices to be heard. The perspectives of the papyri nuance what is known about women from other sources. This thesis identifies and analyses the papyri from 100 CE to 400 CE that contain information about the religious lives of Jewish and Christian women. As sources, the
more » ... ri function in distinctly different ways for the two religious groups. The choice of Jewish and Christian women reflects the communities' shared monotheism within a polytheistic though increasingly henotheistic background, and their shared literary and revelatory foundation in the Septuagint. The study of both communities is consistent with what is now understood of the complex interrelation between them in the first centuries of the Christian Era. To the extent possible in each text the women's religious identities, participation in their religious communities and personal religious practice are examined. The thesis uses a methodology that allows the women's beliefs, practices and experiences to be embedded in their 'ordinary' lives. This approach makes possible the study of women while avoiding the historiographical problems of considering women's lives in isolation from men's lives and from the rest of history, and presuming a single entity 'woman'. It allows the women's religious status to be explored in relation to its expression in their concerns and behaviour.
doi:10.25949/19435250.v1 fatcat:aods4fceyvhilpx4nnmcfvfc6e