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Contextualizing Gender in Early Christian Discourse: Thinking Beyond Thecla (Hardback)
  • Contextualizing Gender in Early Christian Discourse: Thinking Beyond Thecla (Hardback)

Contextualizing Gender in Early Christian Discourse: Thinking Beyond Thecla (Hardback)

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Hardback 256 Pages / Published: 30/06/2009
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In this book, Vander Stichele and Penner introduce their own gender-critical approach to the New Testament and other early Christian writings. Building on feminist and post-colonial insights, they explore the importance of gender in both text and context and discuss the diverse issues involved in interpretation as they relate to gender, sex, and sexuality. The authors also set out their methodology and highlight the various hermeneutical issues involved, such as the complexity of gendered and sexed identities in antiquity and the gap that exists between modern and ancient conceptions thereof. They further illustrate their gender-critical approach with concrete examples from the Acts of the Apostles, the letters of Paul, and the Acts of Paul and Thecla, in order to demonstrate how a gender-critical approach works in practice. As such, this book is unique in terms of its range as well as in the explicit methodological focus that is fostered throughout.

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
ISBN: 9780567030351
Number of pages: 256
Weight: 544 g
Dimensions: 234 x 156 x 25 mm

"This gender-critical approach introduced in this volume seeks to situate the NT and early Christian writings in the broader context of ancient literary and religious traditions, to focus on discourse as a constituent aspect of identity formation, to foster an appreciation for gender issues, to continue to value a historical approach, to stress the role of ideology in the formation of the worlds of the text as well as ancient and modern readers, and to highlight the colonizing nature of empire. After a ten-page introduction, it introduces a gender-critical approach, contextualizes gender in the Greco-Roman world, discusses boundaries and bodies in early Christian discourse, reflects on gender and the modern interpreter, and considers reading (for) gender. Vander Stichele, university docent in religious studies at the University of Amsterdam, and Penner, professor of religious studies at Austin College in Sherman, TX, conclude that thinking beyond Thecla entails giving serious consideration to the structures and mechanisms of boundary-crossing, which is one of the critical components of their gender-critical approach."
-New Testament Abstracts, Vol. 54
'Caroline Vander Stichele and Todd Penner are arguably the most creative and learned intellectual partnership in contemporary New Testament and Christian origins scholarship. Both are rightly known for their wide-ranging knowledge of critical theory, Christian origins scholarship and ancient sources. Contextualizing Gender in Early Christian Discourse is a predictably impressive addition to their published work but this time with a more introductory focus. In addition to functioning as a first-class introductory text, this book moves beyond standard introductions to the New Testament and Christian origins in that it offers readers valuable summaries of prominent thinkers (e.g. Foucault, Butler, Said, Bhabha), interwoven with their influence and potential applications in the study of the New Testament and Christian origins. There is a common and not unfair complaint that works grounded in contemporary critical theory can have a tendency to be near-impossible to understand for those outside the discourse. These authors, however, could not legitimately be accused of such a thing. Their book is clearly written, neatly laid out and full of valuable and creative examples from sources ancient and modern, both famous and not-so-famous. Not only does Contextualizing Gender in Early Christian Discourse deserve to be on the bibliography for New Testament and/or Christian origins courses, it would make a perfect entry point for more experienced scholars unfamiliar or out-of-touch with contemporary ideological criticism and critical theory. As the book contains plenty of original insights, seasoned ideological critics will also discover a thing or two. While we could all learn from the chapters in this book, the chapter on 'Gender and the Modern Interpreter' really ought to be read by all scholars in the guild, no matter what their favoured approaches may be, because it constitutes an accurate, incisive, morally-charged, and potentially revolutionary critique of the academic discipline of biblical studies.' - James Crossley, Department of Biblical Studies, University of Sheffield, UK
Theological Book Review

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