Saturday, 21 March 2015

Lynn Cohick: Thecla's Baptism and Falconilla's Resurrection: Daughters and Their Mothers in the Acts of Paul and Thecla

I argue that the stories of women narrated in the Acts of Paul and Thecla convey the social and theological complexities of second century Christianity. First, I suggest that Thecla does not baptize herself but is baptized by God; however, her actions and prayer serve to confirm Falconilla’s resurrection, thereby highlighting Thecla’s mediating power.  Second, it is not Thecla’s death, but Tryphaena’s “death” that brings events in the arena to an end. Tryphaena’s “death” is followed by her conviction in Falconilla’s resurrection, all based on Thecla’s survival in the arena. The female chorus in Antioch amplifies both Thecla’s voice and Tryphaena’s position. Third, Thecla’s mother and Tryphaena serve as examples of competing social ideals for the ancient city. The female characters, with the exception of Theocleia, demonstrate the proper response for the reader of the Acts of Paul and Thecla.

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