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Her Share of the Blessings: Women's Religions among Pagans, Jews, and Christians in the Greco-Roman World (Oxford Paperbacks) Paperback – January 20, 1994

ISBN-13: 978-0195086706 ISBN-10: 0195086708

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Product Details

  • Series: Oxford Paperbacks
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (January 20, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195086708
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195086706
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #792,283 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This is an important, even groundbreaking study of women's culture. Kraemer provides careful analyses of the worship of Greek goddesses, Adonis, Dionysius Isis, the Judeo-Christain God, and heretical worship. She also discusses women's religious rites, offices, and leadership. Kraemer stresses the sociological theories of Mary Douglas in her analysis, supplemented by a broad range of interdisciplinary scholarship. Her tentative theory of women's religions is very thought-provoking. For most collections.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"A fascinating presentation of ideas."--Sr. M. Felicity Dorsett, University of St. Francis

"We now have an inexpensive soft-cover edition of a very good book....Professor Kraemer has read an enormous amount, synthesized it well, and, blessedly, writes a crisp, jargon-free prose....It is hard to think of a more useful work as a survey of the evidence--enhanced by very full notes, a good index, and a bibliography for further reading."--Commonweal

"Ross Shepard Kraemer has managed to recover fascinating and detailed descriptions of women's religious activities and beliefs in the Greco-Roman world."--The WomanSource Catalog and Review

"An important, even groundbreaking study of women's culture....Very thought provoking."--Library Journal

"An unexcelled source for information about women's religions in Rome....Provides fascinating material rarely encountered in other works on the subject."--Booklist

"Lively and accurate. It shows us how well feminist scholarship can operate, and it answers presiously neglected questions."--The Christian Century

"A bold new synthesis of the sources for women's religions in the Greco-Roman world which historians of women (including Kraemer herself) have painstakingly collected and analyzed over the past decades. This book is rare in that it is a truly sympathetic reading of the full variety of available sources on women's religion."--Bernadette J. Brooten, Harvard University, The Divinity School

"Clear, concise, and comprehensive, this book fills the long-standing need for a single-volume comparative study of women's religious activities in the Greco-Roman world. It will appeal to both general readers and specialists in several scholarly disciplines."--Sarah B. Pomeroy, Hunter College and The Graduate School, C.U.N.Y.

"Ross Kraemer's Her Share of the Blessings is the fruit of dedicated scholarship in uncovering the hidden story of women's religious lives in the Greco-Roman world. It should become a standard text for courses in the field."--Rosemary Radford Ruether, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary

"Will provide a useful and reliable guide to all interested in the topic, as well as a range of new questions."--Theology Journal Book Review

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Brian Griffith on February 10, 2008
Format: Paperback
A well-researched account of devout women in Judeo-Christian tradition, their gifts to religion, and the restrictions placed on those gifts. Kraemer compares developments, both within and between regional churches. In many areas, Kraemer shows, women never lost their right to serve as teachers and deaconesses. As Archbishop John Chrysosthom of Constantinople explained (around the year 400), the New Testament clearly encouraged women to teach, and even to teach males. Obviously it took women to teach other women in their quarters. And if the church forbade females to instruct men, how could a Christian woman ever bring her male relatives to Christ? (Chrysostham,, "First Homily on `Salute Priscilla and Aquila,'" cited p. 188). As Chrysosthom spoke, he perhaps bore in mind a famous mother from central Turkey named Emmelia, whose sons included two major saints of the Eastern Church -- Basil of Caesarea, and Gregory of Nyassa. Emmilia's sons certainly proclaimed their debt to her. And we may wonder how many Christian teachers ever raised up better students than this woman.

With attention to step-by-step increments, Kraemer measures the growing restrictions on women's devotion. Where male leaders tried to stop females from serving the sacred meal, on suspicion they might be menstruating and pollute the host, the women could always hold their own ceremonies for females only. The women of Salamis (in Asia Minor) certainly did so, but then their Bishop, Epiphianus, complained of self-appointed female priests who presumed to conduct their own services:

"They attempt to undertake a deed that is irreverent and blasphemous beyond measure -- in her [Mary's] name they function as priests for women. ...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By doc peterson VINE VOICE on October 16, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Kraemer's treatise closely looks at the restrictions and roles of women in the religious sphere in classical Greece, Rome and in the early Church. It is illuminating. In the classical west, the place of women has always been restricted, the higher one's social status the more controlled her life. This was true in the religious sphere, as well. Kraemer begins her study of these roles by introducing readers to Mary Douglas' grid of group classifications (Implicit Meanings (Mary Douglas: Collected Works) which serves as the template for Kraemer's examination.

With this foundation laid, the place of women and worship in ancient Greece is discussed. The metaphor of Demeter and Persephone to Hades as example of women's relationship to men (daughters leaving the household to become wives and mothers) and the cult of Adonis (as a way to safely mock the social dominance of men) was of particular interest - while I was familiar with the stories, I had never thought of them in this way before. I was less enthralled with her examination of women in ancient Rome and their roles in Roman society. Kraemer really hit her stride, I think, when she discussed women in the Judeo-Christian traditions of the early 1st - 3rd centuries CE. In fact it was for this topic that I purchased her book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
great book for examination of ancient women's religions and how they are reflected in the practices of today. Some undergraduate students may find this book challenging. It is refreshingly academic even for a person who is not a religion professor or major.
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