Expert: Women’s role in Easter story

David Ruth
713-348-6327
david@rice.edu

Women’s role in holiday featured in ‘Easter in Memory of Her’
Easter event features the women in the biblical story

HOUSTON – (March 5, 2013) – Later this month, nearly 70 percent of Americans will celebrate the religious aspect of Easter. Most of the celebrated and familiar stories of the Easter tradition cast males in the supporting roles, from the Last Supper with the disciples to Judas’ betrayal to Peter’s denial and the thieves’ redemption. But women played a role in Jesus’ life, too.

Rice University religious historian April DeConick is available to discuss the role women played in the Easter story, including Mary the Mother of Jesus, the woman at the well, the woman with the nard, Mary of Bethany and Mary Magdalene.

“Much of my research and teaching is devoted to understanding how marginalized, forbidden and forgotten people and communities illuminate the central issues and historical features of religious traditions,” DeConick said. “The story of women recorded in the ancient sources simply cannot be understood at face value since the texts were written by male leaders in emerging churches who had their own interests to front and authority to assert and maintain. So it must be reconstructed and reimagined carefully from what the ancient sources tell us and from what they don’t.”

DeConick, along with Betty Adam, has written “Easter in Memory of Her,” a one-hour production by the nonprofit organization Brigid’s Place that features the women in the biblical story. Members of the Houston Chamber Choir Singers will perform the musical, with original score, at Houston’s Christ Church Cathedral, 1117 Texas Ave., from 4 to 5 p.m. Saturday, March 30.

DeConick, the Isla Carroll and Percy E. Turner Professor of Biblical Studies, is also the author of “Holy Misogyny: Why the Sex and Gender Conflicts in the Early Church Still Matter” (New York: Continuum 2011) and is writing another book, “The Ancient New Age: How Gnostic Spirituality Revolutionized Religion in Antiquity and Modern America.”

Rice University has a VideoLink ReadyCam TV interview studio. ReadyCam is capable of transmitting broadcast-quality standard-definition and high-definition video directly to all news media organizations around the world 24/7.

To schedule an interview with DeConick, contact David Ruth, director of national media relations at Rice, at david@rice.edu or 713-348-6327.

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 This news release can be found online at http://news.rice.edu.

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Related materials:

DeConick biography: http://reli.rice.edu/Content.aspx?id=74.

DeConick talks about her translation of the Gospel of Judas in a “Campus Conversations” interview with Rice President David Leebron: http://youtu.be/ULRg5lwrsXg.

Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,708 undergraduates and 2,374 graduate students, Rice’s undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice has been ranked No. 1 for best quality of life multiple times by the Princeton Review and No. 2 for “best value” among private universities by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. To read “What they’re saying about Rice,” go to http://tinyurl.com/AboutRiceU

About David Ruth

David Ruth is director of national media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.