This unit will provide students with a comprehensive overview of women in Late Antiquity (the period of transition from the ancient to the medieval world, 3rd to 8th century AD), and attitudes towards them. By reading selected primary sources, this unit will introduce students to some of the most powerful and influential women in antiquity, and the role they played in religious and theological debates. Religion will be the backdrop in directing our discussions given that it provided one of the most important ways in which women participated in the public sphere in Late Antiquity.
Women such as Hypatia the philosopher, Melania the aristocrat, Theodora the Empress, Pelagia the harlot, and Syncletica the desert mother will be considered. In addition, by studying the Upper Egyptian town of Jeme, we will look at women’s lives in a typical Coptic town in Late Antique Egypt to understand the status of women and the role they played in the home as well as in religious, social and economic life.
Provide a historical overview of women's history in Late Antiquity and evaluate the various roles they played;
Compare and contrast the various theologies that were prominent in Late Antiquity and the role some of the women (considered in the unit) played in these debates;
Describe the various theologies that were prominent in Late Antiquity and the role some of the women (considered in the unit) played in these debates;
Develop a critical framework for reading and interpreting historical events contained in the primary sources.
Online: Six fortnightly sessions, comprising guided reading from the set texts, additional reading resources and some notes, together with an online tutorial. Students will be expected to contribute to the discussions in each session.
Essay 2000 words
Essay 1250 words
Online Tutorial Contribution Q&A equivalent to 1250 words
Unit approved for the University of Divinity by John Capper on 1 Nov, 2017
Unit Record last updated: 2019-01-25 11:53:10 +1100