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Unreliable WitnessesReligion, Gender, and History in the Greco-Roman Mediterranean$
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Ross Shepard Kraemer

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199743186

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199743186.001.0001

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Artemisia of Minorca

Artemisia of Minorca

Gender and the Conversion of the Jews in the Fifth Century

(p.153) 5 Artemisia of Minorca
Unreliable Witnesses

Ross Shepard Kraemer (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

In this chapter, Kraemer examines an account not considered in her earlier work: the Letter of Severus of Minorca on the Conversion of the Jews, which narrates the conversion of the entire Jewish population of the island in the space of one week in February, 418 C.E. Based on the text’s representation of women as the last to convert, some scholars have read it as a reliable account of Jewish women’s principled resistance to Christianity. Kraemer argues instead that Severus casts Jewish women as the last hold-outs against Christian pressure to convert, not to show us their courage and faithfulness, but rather so that he can depict Christians as models of proper gender relations (with women submissive to men, male bishops, Christ, and God), and Jews as paradigms of gender dis-order (with disobedient women, still the daughters of Eve, whose husbands are unable to control them).

Keywords:   Minorca, Severus, conversion, convert, resistance, Jewish women

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