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Rules Proved By Exceptions: The Exegesis Of Paul And Women In The Sixteenth Century

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Chapter Summary

This chapter investigates how the writings of St. Paul informed sixteenth- century discussions about the meaning or significance of gender differences and how those writings may have influenced the lives and thoughts of women and men. The bulk of the considerations focuses on sixteenth-century theology and exegesis, because it is here that Paul's influence is most evident. Granted that theology and exegesis may well reflect churchly ideals or expectations more than social realities, these ideals and expectations nonetheless inform about how pastors and teachers hoped to shape religious and social practices. The chapter attempts to recover at least a few snapshots of how Paul was appropriated (or not) by individual women of the day. It examines a series of texts and issues, proceeding more or less in canonical order and prosecuting two questions in tandem.

Keywords: individual women; sixteenth-century exegesis; sixteenth-century theology; St. Paul



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