Unreliable Witnesses: Religion, Gender, and History in the by Ross Shepard Kraemer

By Ross Shepard Kraemer

In her most modern publication, Ross Shepard Kraemer indicates how her brain has replaced or remained a similar because the booklet of her ground-breaking learn, Her proportion of the advantages: Women's Religions between Pagans, Jews and Christians within the Greco-Roman global (OUP 1992). Unreliable Witnesses scrutinizes extra heavily how historical buildings of gender undergird debts of women's spiritual practices within the Greco-Roman Mediterranean. Kraemer analyzes how gender offers the traditionally obfuscating substructure of numerous texts: Livy's account of the origins of the Roman Bacchanalia; Philo of Alexandria's envisioning of idealized, masculinized girls philosophers; rabbinic debates approximately girls learning Torah; Justin Martyr's depiction of an elite Roman matron who adopts chaste Christian philosophical self-discipline; the same illustration of Paul's fictive disciple, Thecla, within the nameless Acts of (Paul and) Thecla; Severus of Minorca's depiction of Jewish ladies because the final hold-outs opposed to Christian pressures to transform, and others.While conscious of arguments that girls are principally fictive proxies in elite male contestations over masculinity, authority, and tool, Kraemer keeps her concentrate on redescribing and explaining women's non secular practices. She argues that - gender-specific or no longer - spiritual practices within the old Mediterranean regularly encoded and affirmed principles approximately gender. As in lots of cultures, women's devotion to the divine was once either appropriate and inspired, merely as long as it conformed to pervasive buildings of femininity as passive, embodied, emotive, insufficiently managed and subordinated to masculinity. Extending her findings past the traditional Mediterranean, Kraemer proposes that extra more often than not, faith is without doubt one of the many human social practices which are either gendered and gendering, developing and inscribing gender on people and on human activities and concepts. Her learn hence poses major questions about the relationships among religions and gender within the smooth international.

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Stowers 2008:10. 90. Tremlin 2006:146. INTRODUCTION 25 that humans were fundamentally, essentially religious, cognitive theory of religion offers a completely “natural,” evolutionary explanation for religion that accounts both for its pervasiveness and its diverse cultural forms. Unlike Eliade, who thought that secular persons were deluding themselves and denying their innate religiosity, cognitive theory of religion also offers legitimation for contemporary secularists, because this same model of the propensity for religious thought also allows us to see that it originates, not in the existence of divine beings, but in our propensity to imagine them.

64. Kuefler 2001:22. 65 If women worried about the degree of their true femininity, we have virtually no indication of this. Instead, we have some occasional evidence for women’s interest in emulating masculinity, or perhaps more accurately, evidence for male authors who envision women with such interests. As Levinson reads it, the combination of male and female seed in all persons meant that everyone was, to some degree, androgynous. The gendered identity of individuals did not, then, map easily onto their apparent anatomical sex.

81 Religion, in turn, arises from human cognitions that are themselves the product of our evolutionary history, namely a predisposition to detect other agents, and a predisposition to think that these agents themselves have intentions and thoughts (usually called “a theory of mind”). Obviously, not all agents that we envision qualify as gods. Rather, gods are nonhuman agents, with intentions, who interact with humans, and who have certain counter-intuitive properties, for instance, omnipotence, omniscience, immortality, and so forth.

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