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Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Gender and Religion in Late Antiquity
Module Code TP538
School 59
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Miriam Jane De Cock
Semester 2: Miriam Jane De Cock
Autumn: Miriam Jane De Cock
Module TeachersClare Carroll
NFQ level 9 Credit Rating 10
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None
Repeat examination
Repeat of Essay

The purpose of this module is to examine a wide variety of sources that are relevant to the study of both gender and religion in the ancient Mediterranean world (ca. 200 BCE-500 CE). While our primary focus will be on the lives of women in the three religious spheres of traditional Greek and Roman religion (i.e., “paganism”), Judaism, and Christianity, we will also examine ancient constructions of masculinity and femininity. We will thus attempt to reconstruct what we can know about the lives of ancient women in and affiliated with “religious” contexts. This with the help of some of the excellent research on the subject produced in the past couple of decades from the fields of classics, history, religious studies, and gender studies.

Learning Outcomes

1. demonstrate broad understanding of what can be said about the lives of women and the construction of gender across various strata of the ancient Mediterranean World
2. be able to employ a variety of theoretical approaches from the disciplines of history, literature, religious studies, masculinity studies, and gender studies
3. Describe the fundamental features of the various late ancient religious traditions (paganism; Judaism; Christianity) and their relation to one another
4. Problematize concepts and categories such as religion, gender, women, Jew, Christian, pagan

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture24No Description
Independent Study226No Description
Total Workload: 250

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Why study gender and religion? What is the Ancient Mediterranean World? Late Antiquity?

Defining Terms
Jew, Christian, pagan

Women in Ancient Judaism

Women in “pagan” religions

Women in the early Jesus Movement

Religion in daily life

Female Religious “Others”

Female Martyrs and Prophets

Teachers, Philosophers, and Theologians

Constructions of Masculinity in Late Antique religious traditions


Women in Rabbinic and Patristic Literature

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Reassessment Requirement Type
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
This module is category 1
Indicative Reading List

  • Douglas Boin/Wiley Blackwell: 2018, A Social and Cultural History of Late Antiquity,
  • Elizabeth A. Castelli/Columbia University Press: 2004, Martyrdom and Memory: Early Christian Culture Making. Gender, Theory, and Religion,
  • Lavinia Cerioni/Brepols: 2021, Revealing Women: Feminine Imagery in Gnostic Christian Texts,
  • Elizabeth A. Clark: 1990, Women in the Early Church, Liturgical Press,
  • Lynn H. Cohick and Amy Brown Hughes: 2017, Christian Women in the Patristic World: Their Influence, Authority, and Legacy in the 2nd through 5th Centuries, Baker Academic,
  • Colleen Conway: 2008, Behold the Man: Jesus and Greco-Roman Masculinity, OUP,
  • Erik Gunderson: 2000, Staging Masculinity: The Rhetoric of Performance in the Roman World, University of Michigan Press,
  • Julia Hillner: 2022, Helena Augusta: Mother of the Empire, OUP,
  • Nathan D. Howard: 2022, Christianity and the Contest for Manhood in Late Antiquity The Cappadocian Fathers and the Rhetoric of Masculinity, CUP,
  • Heidi Marx: 2021, Sosipatra of Pergamum: Philsoper and Oracle, OUP,
  • Sara Parks, Shayna Sheinfeld, and Meredith Warren: 2022, Jewish and Christian Women in the Ancient Mediterranean, Routledge,
  • Ross Shepard Kraemer: 1992, Her Share of the Blessings: Women's Religions among Pagans, Jews, and Christians in the Greco-Roman World, OUP,
  • Ross Shepard Kraemer: 2010, Unreliable Witnesses: Religion, Gender, and History in the Greco-Roman Mediterranean, OUP,
  • Ross Shepard Kraemer: 2004, Women's religions in the Greco-Roman world : a sourcebook. Maenads, martyrs, matrons, monastics, OUP,
Other Resources

0, Website, Forham University, 0, sourcebook, https://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/ancient/greekrel2.asp,
Programme or List of Programmes
MATHWRMA in Theology & World Religions
TPPMMaster of Arts

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