Moral Education for Women in the Pastoral and Pythagorean Letters

Philosophers of the Household


In Moral Education for Women in the Pastoral and Pythagorean Letters: Philosophers of the Household, Annette Bourland Huizenga examines the Greco-Roman moral-philosophical “curriculum” for women by comparing these two pseudepigraphic epistolary collections. The analysis is organized around four elements: textual resources, teachers and learners, instructional strategies, and subject matter. Huizenga shows that the author of the Pastorals has adopted nearly all of the “pagan” aspects of this curriculum, but has supplemented these with theological justifications drawn from Pauline literature and traditions.

The letters attributed to female Pythagoreans have long been suggested as comparanda for the Pastorals, but are not well-known as sources. This volume provides a Greek edition, a new English translation, and a text history of these letters.

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Annette Bourland Huizenga, Ph.D. (2010), University of Chicago Divinity School, is Assistant Professor of New Testament at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary.
"I began this review by saying that Moral Education for Women in the Pastoral and Pythagorean Letters was a delight to read. To that observation I would add that this study makes a significant contribution to feminist studies of the New Testament, provides a useful introduction to a corpus of ancient literature virtually unknown in New Testament studies, and constitutes an almost necessary-to-read complement to most scholarly studies of the Pastorals."
Raymond F. COLLINS, Saunderstown, RI, USA, Biblica 96/3

"One of Huizenga’s major contributions in this volume is to provide a Greek edition of the Pythagorean letters (Appendix A) along with a new English translation [...] This is a detailed and learned study that breaks new ground."
Paul Foster, Journal for the Study of the New Testament 36:5

"This is a well written and compelling analysis of the Pythagorean letters and the Pastorals. I especially appreciated Huizenga’s attention to the role and power of letter collections, and teaching methods for women. The book is necessary reading for anyone working on the Pastorals, the Pythagorean letters, or, more generally, topics related to women and gender in antiquity."
Alicia J. Batten, Conrad Grebel University College at the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Biblical Theology Bulletin, Volume 46
Part one: The Pythagorean Women’s Letters
1. The Pythagorean Letter Collection
2. Female Pythagorean Teachers
3. Teaching Strategies
4. Topics for Women
Conclusion to Part one: The Good Woman topos
Part two: The Pastoral Letters
5. The Pastoral Letter Collection
6. Teachers and Learners in the Pastorals
7. Teaching Strategies
8. Topics for Women
Appendix A: Greek Text of Pythagorean Letters
Appendix B: Translated Selections from the Pastorals
Those studying gender ideology in the New Testament and other early Christian literature, and those interested in the roles of women in ancient philosophical texts.
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