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Women and the Genesis of Christianity

This book presents in as clear a way as possible the New Testament material dealing with women and their roles in the context of the movement Jesus began. Dr Witherington begins by illustrating the roles of women in Judaism, in the Hellenistic world, and in the Roman Empire. She goes on to show how Jesus broke significantly with convention in the way he viewed women and their roles, offering as he did a wholly new conception of the legitimate rights of women in society. An analysis follows of the apostle Paul’s attitude toward women, which shows how he agreed with and differed from the ideas of his contemporaries. The concluding chapters discuss the evangelists, whose selection and presentation of material with respect to women casts much light on the early Church’s understanding of women and their roles. This comprehensive survey, which avoids slanting its material to serve a modern patriarchal or feminist bias, comes to the exciting conclusion that we can see in the New Testament an attempt to reform the patriarchal orientation of the day.

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