In this unit students will undertake an in-depth exegetical and theological study of selected New Testament texts featuring women and issues of authority. Students will also engage with women's authority and position in the period of the early church. Students will explore the socio-cultural, literary and theological contexts for these texts, in dialogue with contemporary feminist approaches. In addition, students will explore the current context of women's leadership and draw conclusions from the context of the period of the New Testament and early church.

Unit code: CH9810T

Unit status: Approved (New unit)

Points: 24.0

Unit level: Postgraduate Elective

Unit discipline: Church History

Proposing College: Trinity College Theological School

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Learning outcomes


Critically interpret relevant texts from the New Testament and early church in their portrayals of women and their authority


Integrate insights from the social-cultural and historical environment of the ancient world in study of these texts


Critically engage with contemporary feminist approaches to these texts


Evaluate selected biblical and Patristic texts and artefacts in light of contemporary theological discussion and church practice


Explore the meaning and subsequent history of specific exegetical texts in the New Testament.

Unit sequence

Pre-requisites: at least one unit in both New Testament and Early Church


Lecture input and discussion. Seminar papers and discussion.

Indicative Bibliography

  • Bauckham, Richard. Gospel Women: Studies of the Named Women in the Gospels. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002.
  • Behr-Sigel, Elisabeth & Kallistos Ware. The Ordination of Women in the Orthodox Church. Geneva: WCC Publications, 2000.
  • Cohick, Lynn. Women in the World of the Earliest Christians: Illuminating Ancient Ways of Life. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2009.
  • Cohick, Lynn H., and Amy Brown Hughes. Christian Women in the Patristic World: Their Influence, Authority, and Legacy in the Second through Fifth Centuries. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2017.
  • Dube, Musa. Postcolonial Feminist Interpretation of the Bible. St Louis: Chalice, 2000.
  • Hylen, Susan. A Modest Apostle: Thecla and the History of Women in the Early Church. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015.
  • Kateusz, Ally. Mary and Early Christian Women: Hidden Leadership. Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019. Kindle.
  • Lee, Dorothy A. The Ministry of Women in the New Testament: Reclaiming the Biblical Vision for Church Leadership. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic Press, 2021.
  • Newsom, Carol A., Sharon H. Ringe, and Jacqueline E. Lapsley, eds. Women’s Bible Commentary. 3rd ed. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2012.
  • Peppiatt, Lucy. Rediscovering Scripture’s Vision for Women: Fresh Perspectives on Disputed Texts. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2019.
  • Schüssler Fiorenza, Elisabeth, ed. A Feminist Commentary. Vol. 2 of Searching the Scriptures. New York: Crossroad, 1994.
  • Westfall, Cynthia Long. Paul and Gender: Reclaiming the Apostle’s Vision for Men and Women in Christ. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2016.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)
Exegetical Essay - Exegetical essay on a New Testament passage

Exegetical essay on a New Testament passage that demonstrates women's authority.

3000 40.0
Essay - Essay on examples of women's leadership in the New Testament and early church

Thematic essay on examples of women in the New Testament and the early church

3000 45.0
Tutorial Paper/Seminar Paper - Seminar Paper

Seminar paper on a related topic of the student's own choice.

1000 15.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Maggie Kappelhoff on 27 Sep, 2021

Unit record last updated: 2021-09-27 15:07:00 +1000