The Bible and Beyond Podcast Episode
What’s at Stake When Heresy Sells?
Are Mary Magdalene, Thecla, and Perpetua heretics or suppressed leaders?
An Interview with Deb Saxon, PhD
‘Heresy’ sells. Maybe it’s because it’s mysterious, dangerous, or entertaining. But the idea of ancient ‘Christian heresies’ is misleading. The tendency to make ideas ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ confuses the issues. Strong early Christian women, such as Mary Magdalene, Thecla, and Perpetua, posed a threat to the developing male hierarchy, but their words seem to be consistent with the words of the men. Heresy, then, is not a natural category; it is more about who the power brokers were.
Deborah Saxon, Ph.D., teaches at Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana. She is the author of The Care of the Self in Early Christian Texts. Deb researches newly discovered Christian texts, women’s voices, the inclusive perspectives they reveal, and the intersection of gender and religion.