Despite the very substantial and continuing interest in women's issues in Christianity and the ceaseless stream of publications for, by, and about Christian women, there has been astonishingly little about the early generations of female ascetics the Ammas of the desert. Swan's fine accessible and scholarly work here should help to repair that lack. She includes not only a good overview of the ascetic background but also a fresh translation and commentary on the Ammas' known sayings, an account of lesser-known Ammas, and a calendar of feasts for the Ammas. An excellent starting-place for the study of women in religion, women in the Church, and asceticism, this is highly recommended. — The Library Journal © 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
In The Forgotten Desert Mothers, Laura Swan introduces readers to the sayings, lives, stories and spirituality of women in the early Christian desert and monastic movement, from the third century on. In doing so, she finally sets the record straight that women played an important and influential role in early Christianity, indeed a role that has been long overshadowed by men.
She begins with an exploration of the historical context and spirituality of the desert ascetics. Then she weaves together the sayings of the major desert ammas, or mothers, along with commentary that invites readers to reflect on their own spiritual journey as they share their wisdom. The book then journeys between desert, monastery and city to reveal the stories of ascetics and solitaries whose stories are rarely heard, organized in the author's own alphabetical collection.
The Forgotten Desert Mothers demonstrates, like no other work, that women have long had a history of leadership in Christianity. This engaging, eye-opening and insightful work targets all faith seekers looking to reclaim the history and spirituality of the women who came before them, as well as to understand their own inner journey. It will be a welcome addition to courses on early church history, women's studies and religious studies.
- Publisher: Paulist Press (March 2001)
- ISBN-10: 0809140160
- ISBN-13: 9780809140169
- Language: English
- Paperback: 224 pages