This schedule is subject to change at the Professor’s discretion. It is the responsibility of each student to keep up with schedule changes, even if absent.

Revisions to original syllabus are marked in RED.

Page last updated 4/9/2013 6:00 pm

Assignments should be completed in time for class on the day on which they are listed on the syllabus. Students should bring to class any texts assigned for the day or detailed notes.

I will be scheduling workshops in the Library and individual meetings with you during the semester. You will also schedule meeetings with our Writing Mentor, Jillian Hall. To accommodate these special events, this syllabus is subject to change. An updated schedule can always be found online.

Prologue: Methods and Problems in Studying Women’s Religious History

T Jan 8 The History of Women in Christianity

Th Jan 10 Gender Analysis and Women as Symbols
• Handout: Joan Scott, “Women’s History” & “Gender: A Useful Category of Historical Analysis.” Use the study guides here and here to work through the articles.

I. Women in the Bible: Scripture and the Construction of Christian Womanhood

T Jan 15 Eve: Primal Woman
• Handout: Clark, “The Lady Vanishes” selections
• Bible: Genesis 1-3 (if you do not have a Bible, go to and search for Genesis)
• Handout: article on Eve and Genesis (Updated Niditch, Women’s Bible Commentary, “Genesis” selections)

Th Jan 17 Mary, the New Eve
• Clark pp. 15-16
• Bible passages Matthew 1-2, Luke 1-2
• Sakai: Clark, Early Church, 28-29, 33-36, 38-42, 42-44
• article on Mary Magdalene TBA (Updated Sakai: Mary Rose D’Angelo, “Reconstructing “Real” Women from Gospel Literature: The Case of Mary Magdalene”)
• In class: inscriptions about women leaders in synagogues Updated
micro paper: Adam; macro: Brittney

T Jan 22 Women as Disciples and Apostles
• Clark pp. 9-15
• MacHaffie pp. 1-20, 32-33
• Updated 1/12 Review as necessary alongside Clark and MacHaffee bible passages on p. 18 in Clark; definitely read the Household Codes:

  • Col 3:18-4:1
  • Eph 5:22-6:9
  • 1Tim 2:11-15, 5:3-8, 6:1-2
  • Titus 2:2-10, 3:1-2
  • 1 Peter 2:11-3:7

• Sakai: Acts of Thecla, article TBA (possibly Margaret MacDonald, “Rereading Paul” in Women and Christian Origins)
micro: Emily; macro: Steph

II. Early Christianity: From Virgin Martyrs to Desert Mothers

Th Jan 24 Female leaders and Women Martyrs
• MacHaffie pp. 26-33, 36-45
• Sakai: Apostolic Tradition and Didache selections
• Sakai: Martyrdom of Perpetua and Felicitas
Sakai: Clark Early Church pp. 106-14 (Ambrose and Prudentius) Updated 1/12
Sakai: Kraemer, Her Share of the Blessings, ch. 11
micro: Shawna; macro: Sierra

T Jan 29 “Heretical” churches
• Clark pp. 19-37
• Sakai: Selections from the Gospel of Philip and Montanist documents
• MacHaffee pp. 20-22
The following has been added:
The Gospel of Mary is actually in Clark — you don’t need to click this link. Gospel of Mary Magdalene (
Gospel of Jesus’s Wife (
• Sakai: Karen King, “Prophetic Power and Women’s Authority: The Case of the Gospel of Mary
micro: Jacob; macro: Shawna

Th Jan 31 Asceticism and Marriage: In Theory
• MacHaffie pp. 22-25
• Clark pp. 38-66
micro: Steph; macro: Adam

T Feb 5 Asceticism and Monasticism: In Practice
• Sakai: Life of Mary of Egypt
• Sakai: Clark Early Church pp. 213-23 (The Melanias), 137-44 (rules)
• Sakai: Desert Fathers
micro: Leah; macro: Jacob

III. Women in the Middle Ages and Reformation: Witches, Saints, and Sinners

Th Feb 7 Models of Womanhood; Virginity and Monasticism
• MacHaffie, pp. 50-65, 75-78
• Clark, pp. 67-104
micro: Sierra; macro: Emily

T Feb 12 Women as Witches
• MacHaffie, pp. 65-68, 78-82
• Clark, pp. 119-135
plus possibly Mary Magdalene in the Golden Legend?
micro: Brittney; macro: Leah

Th Feb 14 Medieval Women Envisioning Jesus as Mother and Lover
• MacHaffie, pp. 68-74
• Clark, pp. 104-9
• Sakai: Book of Margery Kempe & Love Songs of Hadewijch

T Feb 19 Library workshop today
Meet in Classroom 1 at the Library

Th Feb 21 Medieval Women Challenging Authority; Protestant Reformation Part I
• MacHaffie, pp. 86-95, 111-14
• Clark 144-48, 152-68
• Sakai: Christine de Pisan
Sakai: Merry Weisner, “Luther and the Two Marys”

T Feb 26 Women in the Protestant Reformation II and Catholic Responses
• MacHaffie, pp. 96-107, 114-24 revised 2/19
• Sakai: Teresa of Avila

IV. Women in American Christianities

Th Feb 28 Women in Colonial America and the 19th c. Cult of True Womanhood revised 2/26
• MacHaffee, chapter 4 & pp. 159-163, 179-83
• Sakai: Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, pp. 24-30, 74-80 (section on Sakai is longer than that); relates to issues in the Cult of True Womanhood — how is womanhood defined? do black women have access to womanhood the way it’s defined?
• Clark 135-143 (On salem witch trials — read last, prioritize the others)

Paper: Jacob

Mar 5, 7: No Classes–Spring Break

T Mar 12 Missionary and Evangelical Women
• MacHaffee, pp. 164-78, 188-207, 212-27 Revised 2/28
Paper: Brittney

Th Mar 14 Women in Catholicism and Sectarianism
MacHaffee, pp. 233-72 deleted 3/12
• Clark, 201-236 + Cady Stanton’s Women’s Bible pp. 246-56 revised 3/12

T Mar 19 Meet with professor about papers this week
Women’s Ordination
• MacHaffee, 273-322, 331-37
Paper: Lea. Stephanie

Th Mar 21 Sexuality and Reproductive Rights
• Clark, 265-293
• Student research: find writings (such as a NYT op-ed) or speeches by politicians, religious figures, or average Americans on more than one side of the issue who discuss contraception and abortion in religious terms, especially in the past 2-5 years

T Mar 26 Sexuality and Gay Marriage
• Clark 293-305
• Student research: find writings (such as a NYT op-ed) or speeches by politicians, religious figures, or average Americans on more than one side of the issue who discuss gay marriage and gay rights in religious terms

Th Mar 28 Women in Fundamentalist and Evangelical American Churches
• Griffith, God’s Daughters, chapters 1-2
• Th Mar 28: guest Biblical Studies scholar Dorothy Peters class visit

T Apr 2 Women in Fundamentalist and Evangelical American Churches Continued — updated 3/28
• Griffith, God’s Daughters: 1/2 class reads chapters 3-4; 1/2 reads chapters 4-5
• bring to class a SUMMARY of your unique chapter (3 or 5) plus two discussion questions, one based on each chapter

Th Apr 4 No Class: Meet with Writing Mentor this week.

Paper Proposals due Friday April 5 on Sakai

V. Contemporary Feminist Theology: Rewriting the Tradition

T Apr 9
Feminists Leave the Churches; Feminists Transform the Churches Part 1 edited 4/2
• MacHaffee, pp. 323-28, 337-41
• Clark, 306-337330
• Sakai: Carol Christ, “Why Women Need the Goddess”

Th Apr 11–Class does not meet — post online edited 4/2 & 4/9
• Finish Griffith, God’s Daughters: Post to Sakai discussion board two main comments and/or questions (be substantial, please) about the book by 3 pm. You may wish to consider the questions and issues we discussed Tuesday about God-Goddess-God/dess as masculine/feminine/both, submission, and hierarchy. You can put the authors from Tuesday in conversation with the Aglow women. Post substantive replies to your colleagues’ questions/comments after 3 pm.

T Apr 16 Womanist Theology
• J. Grant selections in Clark
• Sakai: Martin, “The Haustafeln (Household Codes) in African American Interpretation

Th Apr 18 10 minute presentations on papers
Added 4/9: Introduce your topic, sources, and research questions. Tell us your current thesis (it’s ok if it changes for the final paper). Expand upon and explain your argument in some way (give us an outline of it, develop an element of it in detail, etc.) Bring a handout. Be organized and prepared; you may read your text. Definitely bring a write-up and/or detailed notes.

T Apr 23 Feminist Liberation Theology
• Clark, 330-37
• Reading on Sakai TBA

W Apr 24 Paper draft deadline A: for papers submitted by this date, a preliminary grade with full comments will be returned by Fri 4/26

F Apr 26 Paper Draft deadline B: for papers submitted by this date, a preliminary grade with three suggestions for improvement only will be returned by Monday 4/29

Final Paper Due Thursday May 2, 3 pm