A seminal text that restores women’s stories to early Christian history and reclaims the place of women in a groundbreaking analysis of how power politics influenced the content and interpretation of the bible.

Reviews and endorsements as shown on the publishers website:

“This work is a first within the discipline of New Testament Studies.”
—New York Times Book Review

“A brilliant scholarly treatise which succeeds in bringing to our consciousness women who played an important role in the origins of Christianity.”
—Sisters Today

“One of those mind-arresting thought-turning books that angles the reader’s way of seeing old texts in new and fruitful ways . . . The vision she offers is engaging, enlightening and utterly interesting. Most important, it is plausible.”
—The Christian Century

“Ground-breaking, quietly but completely radical, thoroughly in union with Christian tradition at its best, and a cause for great hope in the church of the future.”
—Best Sellers

“New information and fresh insights expressed in facile prose make In Memory of Her a satisfying book.”
—National Catholic Reporter

“Must reading for scholars and students of the early church and New Testament, for church people (‘leadership’ included), for feminists and likely for others as well.”
—Choice

From a review on Amazon:

Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza (born 1938) is a leading feminist theologian, who identifies herself as a Catholic. She is currently a Professor of Divinity at Harvard Divinity School. She was the first woman elected as president of the Society of Biblical Literature. She has also written books such as Jesus: Miriam’s Child, Sophia’s Prophet : Critical Issues in Feminist Christology.

She states in her Introduction the the 10th Anniversary Edition, “As I finished the book in 1982, I became acutely aware that I was attempting to speak to two very different audiences: women in the academy and churches, and the academic community of religious studies and theology. Still, my effort to complete the manuscript was stymied because I subconsciously feared that neither audience would appreciate the book’s feminist rhetoric. Since I had decided early on not to write another popularizing book on ‘women in the Bible,’ I deliberately chose critical biblical scholarship and its discourses as my mode of operation. Nevertheless, I did not wish to write an academic book on ‘women in early Christianity.’ Instead, I set out to explore the problem of women’s historical agency in ancient Christianity in light of the theological and historical questions raised by the feminist movements in society and church.” She later adds, “In Memory of Her is firmly planted within liberation theories and theologies in general, and feminist epistemologies and interpretive practices in particular.”

The book is named, of course, after the anonymous woman who anointed Jesus in Mark 14, about whom Jesus said, “wherever the gospel is preached in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.’ Schussler Fiorenza points out that “The name of the betrayer (Judas) is remembered, but the name of the faithful disciple is forgotten because she was a woman.”

Here are some representative quotations from the book:

“Texts such as Rom 16:1-3 or 16:7 suggest that leading women in the early Christian missionary movement did not owe their position to Paul. It is more likely that Paul had no other choice but to cooperate with these women and to acknowledge their authority within the communities.” (Pg. 48)

“Women who belonged to a submerged group in antiquity could develop leadership in the emerging Christian movement because it stood in conflict with the dominant patriarchal ethos of the Greco-Roman world.” (Pg. 92)

“Although Phoebe (Rom 16:1, ff) is the only person in the Pauline literature to receive an official letter of recommendation and although she is given three substantive titles—sister, diakonis, and prostatis—her significance for the early Christian mission is far from acknowledged. Exegetes tend to denigrate these titles, or to interpret them differently, because they are given to a woman.” (Pg. 170)

“The Pauline literature and Acts still allow us to recognize that women were among the most prominent missionaries and leaders in the early Christian movement. They were apostles and ministers like Paul, and some were his co-workers. They were teachers, preachers, and competitors in the race for the gospel.” (Pg. 183)

“Women were among the prophetic leaders of the Pauline communites. Luke characterizes Mary and Elizabeth, as well as Anna, as prophets. He mentions the four prophetic daughters of Philip (Acts 21:9)…” (Pg. 299)

“While—for apologetic reasons—the post-Pauline and post-Petrine writers seek to limit women’s leadership roles in the Christian community … the evangelists called Mark and John highlight the alternative character of the Christian community, and therefore accord women apostolic and ministerial leadership.” (Pg. 334)

“Because the spiritual colonization of the male as divine, men have to relinquish their spiritual and religious control over women as well as over the church as the people of God, if mutuality should become a real possibility.” (Pg. 347)


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