For centuries the Christian church insisted that its leaders be male, and much of Christian history is dominated by stories of men’s achievements. Yet, recent scholarship has uncovered long lost scriptures and art that reveal new insights. This seminar examines the leading roles women have played. Their voices were often suppressed but never totally silenced.
Sarah Morice Brubaker is Assistant Professor of Theology at Phillips Theological Seminary in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and author of The Place of the Spirit (2013). Her shorter writing has appeared in The Christian Century, Religion Dispatches, Geez Magazine, This Land Press, and Salon. She currently serves as program chair of the Liberal Theologies Consultation of the American Academy of Religion.
Deborah Niederer Saxon is the author of The Care of the Self in Early Christian Literature (Palgrave Macmillan, Oct 2017). Her research re-conceptualizes early Christian history not as a matter of heresies or “gnosticism” splitting off from some supposed orthodoxy but rather by highlighting differing perspectives and practices regarding the care of the self
Recovering the Historic Voices of Women It is often assumed that women lacked voices in the ancient and medieval worlds, but this is not the case. More often, women’s voices were present, but ignored. This session looks at the influence women did hold in ancient societies and the way their portrayals shaped the rise of Christ communities and the subsequent centuries of medieval Christianity.
Deborah Saxon and Sarah Morice Brubaker Friday Evening 7:30-9:00
Women in Early Christ Communities It is increasingly evident that women played active roles in the early Christ communities. Women were often leaders, even apostles. This session looks at the depictions of women in newly-discovered writings and early Christian art that help us to re-imagine their significance.
Deborah Saxon Saturday 9:30-10:30
Women and Political Christianity In the early Middle Ages after Christianity became a State religion; power played the central role in church structures. Men often over-estimated both the authority of theology and their own authority, but women were not silent. Many outstanding women influenced theological ideas with alternative understandings of authority and power. This session looks at some of these alternatives.
Sarah Morice-Brubaker Saturday 11:00-12:00
Women Breaking the Mold This session looks at the Gospel of Mary where a woman (Mary) speaks out boldly and exhorts the male disciples to preach the gospel, sharing the special insights she has received from Jesus. However, Peter and Andrew strongly question Mary’s authority. Such suspicion and ambivalence toward women have haunted their status throughout Western history. How and why do Christian communities today continue to imitate the cultural tropes found in the Gospel of Mary?
Deborah Saxon and Sarah Morice-Brubaker Saturday 1:30-2:30
Questions, Answers, and Conversation with Sarah and Deborah An informal session of open conversation.