Veturia of Rome and Rufina of Smyrna as Counterbalance

Ross Shepard Kraemer

in Unreliable Witnesses

Published in print December 2010 | ISBN: 9780199743186
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199894680 | DOI:
Veturia of Rome and Rufina of Smyrna as Counterbalance

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This chapter moves away from an exclusive focus on literary materials, and their particular challenges, to two issues for which the sources are particularly (although not exclusively) epigraphical: non-Judean women’s adoption of Judean religious practices (often called conversion), and Judean women’s service as synagogue officers in diaspora Judean communities. Kraemer argues that both ancient literary claims and modern scholarly assertions that Gentile women were disproportionately interested in adopting either Judean or Christian practices turn out to be the use of gender in service to various polemical debates. Thus, neither the inscriptional evidence nor the literary accounts provide much access to either the actual demographic realities of the adoption of new religious practices, or the interests and motivations of such persons. Dissecting modern debates about whether women either held such offices, or exercised communal authority, Kraemer argues that these generally fail to recognize that women could only have done so in communities that constructed those offices themselves as gender appropriate.

Keywords: inscriptional; offices; conversion; gender; authority

Chapter.  31891 words. 

Subjects: History of Religion

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