Chastity as Autonomy Women in the Stories of Apocryphal Acts

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Concluding that the apocryphal Acts originated among women as folk-tales, Burrus hypothesizes that their origins were literary: that they are legends which present a fantasized alternative reality and give a clue to the actual historical situations of women in the Greco-Roman world of the second to third centuries.


". . . a serious interdisciplinary exploration of the role of women in the curious sub-literature of Christian Apocrypha. . . . exhibits a number of promising and complementary approaches rarely used by scholars of the ancient novel, and this reviewer will want to explore many of the paths signposted . . . ." - Graham Anderson in The Classical Review ". . . a welcome addition to the revisionist literature on early Christian asceticism. . . . A lively contribution to the study of women in early Christianity that is recommended for all libraries." - Religious Studies Review

"Burrus contributes to the emergent consensus that the tales about chaste women in the apocryphal Acts stem from circles of celibate women and reflect their viewpoint. . . . Burrus's identification of the popular oral quality of seven stories about women is clear and generally convincing. . . . The value of this approach is confirmed . . . . The exposition and historical interpretation reveal many valuable insights. [Burrus] supports most of her major contentions and helps extract some feminist fragments from the androcentric tradition. . . . a useful contribution from a promising young author." - The Catholic Biblical Quarterly

". . . a valuable contribution to the study of the social world as well as the origins and structure of the apocryphal Acts." - Patristics ". . . [seeks] to complement and correct androcentric portrayals of early Christian women's chastity." - Studies on Women Abstracts ". . . makes an important contribution to current arguments that women claimed their own voices in early Christianity in ways that destabilized rather than augmented prevailing views of authority." - Ethics

". . . attempts to sketch the historical background of the women's lifes and struggles, and thus to complement and correct androcentric portrayals of early Christian women's chastity. The appendix provides summaries of the chastity stories." - New Testam

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