The Influence of Paul's View of Women on the Acts of Paul and Thecla
Keywords:Middle Ages, cults of St. Thecla, women's role in early Church, early Christianity, women's Church role
This paper examines the influence of Paul's letters on the Acts of Paul and Thecla, especially in terms of the portrayal of women.1 Paul's views concerning women's status in relation to their male counterparts, including his restrictions against women teaching and preaching in the early church, strongly influenced later Christian apocryphal works, such as the late second century apocryphal text known as the Acts of Paul and Thecla.2 This text focuses on Thecla's insistence on remaining celibate and her desire to be baptized by Paul. This paper will analyze specific passages in Paul's letters that may have influenced this apocryphal story. The paper concludes by tracing the rise of the cult of St. Thecla that flourished during the early part of the Middle Ages, subsequently encouraging many virgin women to become martyrs.