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A Modest ApostleThecla and the History of Women in the Early Church$
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Susan E. Hylen

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780190243821

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190243821.001.0001

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The Acts of Paul and Thecla

The Acts of Paul and Thecla

(p.71) 4 The Acts of Paul and Thecla
A Modest Apostle

Susan E. Hylen

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that Thecla’s modesty and her leadership reflect the cultural conventions of the time. Thecla exhibits conventional gendered virtues like modesty, chastity, and piety. The establishment of her virtue early in the story provides a basis for her later leadership. Her later actions do not depart from standards of women’s virtue, but reflect conventions of women’s leadership. These practices are also reflected in the characters of Theolceia and Tryphaena, who play important roles in the plot of the story. Although Thecla remains unmarried, the story does not necessarily forbid marriage. Many early readers were likely to see Thecla as an exemplar of virtues that were cultivated by married and unmarried believers alike.

Keywords:   Thecla, Theolceia, Tryphaena, marriage, The Acts of Paul and Thecla

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