HylenA new book by Associate Professor of New Testament Susan E. Hylen has just been published by Oxford University Press. A Modest Apostle: Thecla and the History of Women in the Early Church explores Hylen’s latest research on the roles and authority of women in the early church. Using the example of Thecla—the woman depicted in the apocryphal Acts of Paul and Thecla, as well as the canonical First Letter of Paul to Timothy—Hylen challenges the common narrative of women in the early church that suggests that women were excluded from active leadership. Instead, Hylen argues that women continued to serve as leaders in their own Greco-Roman cultural contexts.

“Countering readings of Thecla as a subversive or transgressive figure,” as one reviewer notes, Hylen presents her as one who fulfills culturally established norms, even as she pursues a bold new way of life. Through the examination of Thecla’s story, Hylen concludes that there is clear evidence of women’s leadership within early Christianity.

Hylen is also the author of three books on the Gospel of John, as well as multiple essays and articles. She is ordained as a ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church (USA).

Read Hylen’s blog post, “Four myths about the status of women in the early church.”