Women in Christian Traditions

224 pages

8 halftones

March, 2015

ISBN: 9781479821754



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Rebecca Moore is Professor of Religious Studies at San Diego State University. She is the author of Voices of Christianity: A Global Introduction, and co-author of A Portable God: The Origin of Judaism and Christianity, with Risa Levitt Kohn. Her most recent book is Understanding Jonestown and Peoples Temple.  

All books by Rebecca Moore

Women in Christian Traditions offers a concise and accessible examination of the roles women have played in the construction and practice of Christian traditions, revealing the enormous debt that this major world religion owes to its female followers. It recovers forgotten and obscured moments in church history to help us to realize a richer and fuller understanding of Christianity.

This text provides an overview of the complete sweep of Christian history through the lens of feminist scholarship. Yet it also departs from some of the assumptions of that scholarship, raising questions that challenge our thinking about how women have shaped beliefs and practices during two thousand years of church history. Did the emphasis on virginity in the early church empower Christian women? Did the emphasis on marriage during the Reformations of the sixteenth century improve their status? These questions and others have important implications for women in Christianity in particular, and for women in religion in general, since they go to the heart of the human condition.

This work examines themes, movements, and events in their historical contexts and locates churchwomen within the broader developments that have been pivotal in the evolution of Christianity. From the earliest disciples to the latest theologians, from the missionaries to the martyrs, women have been instrumental in keeping the faith alive. Women in Christian Traditions shows how they did so.

Additional Resources 


  • "Moore’s volume is a thoroughly enjoyable book that effectively outlines the continuous and significant role that women have played in the historical development of the Christian tradition.  She provides an accessible sweep of Christian history with special attention to the way that women have affected its development by incorporating engaging narratives focused on the lives of influential women."

    Catholic Book Review

  • "Moore accomplishes a seemingly incredible feat: she tells the story of women in Christianity through 2,000 years of history... Noteworthy for its breadth and depth, Moore’s project will encourage smart conversations about women and Christianity."


  • Women in Christian Traditions directs a feminist lens at what would be, in less skilled hands, an unmanageable corpus of topics and source materials, and achieves a work that surveys the breadth and depth of its topic in a way that is informative, fresh, and engaging.”

    Sociology of Religion

  • “What a pleasant surprise to find a book on women and Christianity that is not a rant against the evil inherent in this misogynistic religion. Rebecca Moore presents a balanced narrative of women’s well-earned place in the history of Christianity, and a significant place it is indeed. Written with students in mind, it probably will succeed in making the reading list of many college courses. This is a good thing; it may be the best choice now available.” 

    Catholic Historical Review

  • “An excellent conversation starter and would be a wonderful addition to any course syllabus looking to inspire classroom dialogue.”

    Reading Religion

  • Women in Christian Traditions is a work that will be indispensible in course on gender and religion. Indeed, this work is essential reading for anyone interested in gender or religion. Its scope provides historians, scholars of religions, sociologists, and feminist theorists, as well as clergy—and those interested in gender and religion outside of academia or religion—a resource that is at once brief and thorough, concise and comprehensive.”

    Sociology of Religion

  • “The book would be an excellent source in an introduction to Christianity or a class on women in religion.”

    Religious Studies Review

  • “The scope is impressive, and this overview would serve as a valuable text in an introductory women’s studies course.”

    Anglican and Episcopal History

  • “A major contribution to the literature on women in Christianity.  Moore effectively synthesizes the last thirty years of scholarship. . . . Using the template of “saints, seers and scholars,” she has managed to be—wonder of wonders—both comprehensive and brief.  Both readable and informative, this book will inform undergraduates in courses on the history of Christianity and in women's and gender studies classes.  And some might want to buy it for a religious leader who should be better informed on the issues!"

    —Nadia Lahutsky, Texas Christian University

  • "A very useful  introductory book to women's roles in Christian history. It provides a solid overview of feminist scholarship from the beginnings of Christianity to the present. It will play a key role in courses on this history."

    —Rosemary Radford Ruether, Claremont School of Theology and Graduate University