Women and Religion in Antiquity

Fall 2003, Prof. Schroeder

Department of History, Ithaca College

311-385 sec. 02
T/Th 2:35-3:50, Williams 222

How did women participate in the different religious traditions of the ancient world?
How did religion affect the social construction of gender?
How did gender affect the development of religious beliefs and institutions?

This course will examine women in antiquity, with a focus on women in the Roman Empire.  We will use religion as lens to direct our studies, since religion provided one of the most important means by which women participated in the public, civic arena in antiquity. We begin with women in the so-called "pagan" traditions in Greece and Rome and then move to women in early Judaism. We conclude with an extensive section on women in early Christianity.

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Portrait of the Nursing Virgin Mary at the Monastery of the Syrians in Egypt
Priestess of the goddess Isis from a wall painting in Pompeii
Mosaic from a Jewish community in Sepphoris in the Galilee