Thecla's Devotion

Narrative and Emotion in the Acts of Paul and Thecla

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J.D. McLarty
  • Cambridge, England: 
    James Clarke & Co.
    , August
     265 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.
Review coming soon!

Review by Ben Sheppard forthcoming.


Second-century apocryphal Christian texts are Christian fiction: they draw on the motifs of contemporary pagan stories of romance, travel and adventure to entertain their readers, but also to explore what it means to be Christian. The Thecla episode in the Apocryphal Acts of Paul recounts the conversion of a young pagan woman, her rejection of marriage, her narrow escapes from martyrdom and the end of her story as an independent, ascetic evangelist.

In Thecla's Devotion, J.D. McLarty reads the Thecla episode against a paradigm pagan romance, Callirhoe: for both texts the passions are key to the unfolding of the plot – how are unruly emotions to be managed and controlled? The pagan would answer: 'through reason'. This study uses the portrayal of emotion within character and plot to explore the response of the Thecla episode to this key question for Christian identity formation.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

J.D. McLarty is Senior Tutor of Wolfson College and Affiliated Lecturer in the Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge. Her first degree was in Classics at Girton College, Cambridge. After a five year stint in the City she returned to Cambridge where she has taught New Testament Greek for the Faculty of Divinity for a number of years.

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