In this pathbreaking volume, Ross Shepard Kraemer provides the first comprehensive look at women's religions in Greco-Roman antiquity. She vividly recreates the religious lives of early Christian, Jewish, and pagan women, with many fascinating examples: Greek women's devotion to goddesses, rites of Roman matrons, Jewish women in rabbinic and diaspora communities, Christian women's struggles to exercise authority and autonomy, and women's roles as leaders in the full spectrum of Greco-Roman religions. In every case, Kraemer reveals the connections between the social constraints under which women lived, and their religious beliefs and practices.
The relationship among female autonomy, sexuality, and religion emerges as a persistent theme. Analyzing the monastic Jewish Therapeutae and various Christian communities, Kraemer demonstrates the paradoxical liberation which women achieved by rejection of sexuality, the body, and the female. In the epilogue, Kraemer pursues the disturbing implications such findings have for contemporary women.
Based on an astonishing variety of primary sources, Her Share of the Blessings is an insightful work that goes beyond the limitations of previous scholarship to provide a more accurate portrait of women in the Greco-Roman world.
"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 & 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
"The 'accessible scholarship' makes this an excellent resource work for courses in Christian sprituality, women's studies, or women's history in the West."--Shawn Madigan, College of St. Catherine
"Finally a readable, scholarly analysis of women's place in ancient Mediterranean religions. Praise be to Ross Kraemer for clearly providing us with more than her share of the blessings."--Alice Bach, Stanford University
"Intriguing research which provides stimulating information and theories regarding women and religion in the Greco-Roman world. Reflects thorough research. Is a major contribution to women's religious studies."--Carolyn DeArmond Blevins, Carson-Newman College
"An important work."--Cynthia Ann Humes, Claremont McKenna College
"A bold attempt at both descriptive and theoretical conclusions about women in Greco-Roman religions which deserves careful reading and debate."--Margaret M. Mitchell, McCormick Theological Seminary
"Lucid, well written and good presentation; excellent background material."--Rosalie Beck, Baylor University