This book considers the place of the women disciples of Jesus in Christian Gnostic documents. It examines their significance and representation in Nag Hammadi documents (GosThom, GosPhil, SophJesChr, DialSav, 1ApocJas) and other early gnostic sources (GosMary, Pistis Sophia), in Patristic anti-Gnostic documents, and in Manichaean Psalms. In these documents, mostly composed during the second and third centuries C.E., Mary Magdalene, Salome, Martha and Mary, Arsinoe, Mary, the mother of Jesus, and other anonymous women appear as female disciples. A central issue of the book is the relation between the central role of these women disciples and the apparently contradictory statements about femininity and masculinity which appear in the same texts. The negative view of femininity proves to offer a background to the high assessment of the role of particular women. These female disciples transcend their femininity and become “male”.
...a model of clarity and meticulous documentation…an admirable piece of scholarship.’ Pheme Perkins,
The Catholic Biblical Quarterly, 2001. '
Full of penetrating insights into the texts and the social relationships reflected in them, a very important contribution to the study of early Christianity.' Birger A. Pearson,
Religious Studies Review, 2000. ‘
…a most welcome study of the women disciples of Jesus in Christian Gnostic documents…a major contribution to this field…thorough, stimulating, and challenging.’ Esther A. de Boer,
Yearbook of the European Society of Women in Theological Research, 2001.