The Acts of Thecla: An Analysis

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Whether one chooses to view the text by title of The Acts of Paul, The Acts of Thecla, or The Acts of Paul and Thecla, shows how one is likely to view the tale itself. An entirely different perspective can be formed from reading the various versions by different names. For instance, when reading The Acts of Paul, the story is focused on Paul and his contributions to Christianity. When reading The Acts of Paul and Thecla or simply The Acts of Thecla, a new perspective is formed viewed in a feminine light. This version focuses on Thecla’s dedication to an ascetic lifestyle and portrays the influence a woman can have in the Christian tradition. The acts of Paul and Thecla are widely disputed on a number of aspects. In question is the nature of leadership roles held by Thecla. There remains uncertainty in regard to the original timeframe for its creation as well as how it is likely penned after her time. The genre of text also sparks ambiguity in relation to the questionable timeframe. Depending on whom you ask, Thecla was controversial in the roles that she played; the first and foremost being her womanhood; the second being the baptism of herself . Thecla’s gender is an issue to some – the majority men – because traditional gender roles are changing. Many people fear the unknown and the way Thecla is portrayed empowers women. It’s no longer their only option to get married, run the household and bear children. A woman can find peace and eternal happiness by the word of God and the practice of a pure life. God is now their protector and women following the footsteps of Thecla believe they no longer need a man care for them. Women are now becoming a part of the public sphere where they were not traditionally known. It is also untraditional for one to baptize themselves or to have a woman complete a baptism. Thecla is not only a woman, but indeed baptizes herself. In chapter nine, when Thecla is fighting the beasts, she sees a pit of water and...
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