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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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Veturia of Rome and Rufina of Smyrna as Counterbalance

Veturia of Rome and Rufina of Smyrna as Counterbalance

Women Office Holders in Ancient Synagogues and Gentile Adopters of Judean Practices

(p.179) 6 Veturia of Rome and Rufina of Smyrna as Counterbalance
Unreliable Witnesses

Ross Shepard Kraemer (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter moves away from an exclusive focus on literary materials, and their particular challenges, to two issues for which the sources are particularly (although not exclusively) epigraphical: non-Judean women’s adoption of Judean religious practices (often called conversion), and Judean women’s service as synagogue officers in diaspora Judean communities. Kraemer argues that both ancient literary claims and modern scholarly assertions that Gentile women were disproportionately interested in adopting either Judean or Christian practices turn out to be the use of gender in service to various polemical debates. Thus, neither the inscriptional evidence nor the literary accounts provide much access to either the actual demographic realities of the adoption of new religious practices, or the interests and motivations of such persons. Dissecting modern debates about whether women either held such offices, or exercised communal authority, Kraemer argues that these generally fail to recognize that women could only have done so in communities that constructed those offices themselves as gender appropriate.

Keywords:   inscriptional, offices, conversion, gender, authority

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