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Publication Date

Spring 4-23-2010


This paper seeks to demonstrate the fundamental importance of women in Paul's ministry. Contrary to many modern interpreters, I suggest that Paul had an inclusive attitude toward women–an attitude that was rather extraordinary for his times. Paul's inclusive attitude was however not maintained in the later Christian churches. I suggest that this loss of inclusivity has led people to read Paul incorrectly, through the lens of the Deutero-Pauline literature and the later church, rather than letting Paul's letters stand on their own. Through a literary-historical analysis of the authentic Pauline letters I will try to show the various and substantial roles that women played in Paul's churches and how their importance in Paul's churches was linked to Paul's larger theology. Like many other issues addressed in Paul’s letters, his perspective on women continues to be debated by Christians and scholars alike in order to better understand the ancient customs and traditions of the religion and how they shape modern practice.



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