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A Modest ApostleThecla and the History of Women in the Early Church$
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Susan E. Hylen

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780190243821

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190243821.001.0001

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Conclusion

Conclusion

Chapter:
(p.114) 6 Conclusion
Source:
A Modest Apostle
Author(s):

Susan E. Hylen

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190243821.003.0006

The conclusion summarizes the argument of the book with an eye to how the same approach may be applied to other early Christian texts. The interpretation of Thecla suggests a different way of understanding women’s leadership in the early church. Although women were broadly constrained by the inequities of their culture, both married and unmarried women took on leadership roles and exerted social influence. Like women in the culture at large, Christian women were not free to do whatever they pleased. However, social norms encouraged women to exercise leadership, even as they were exhorted to modesty. Virtuous women’s leadership and influence exist within and across various Christian subgroups rather than demarcating boundaries between them.

Keywords:   women in the early church, Thecla, modesty, leadership, Christian texts

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