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Elisabeth Esch-Wermeling Paulus lehrt – Thekla lauscht? Annäherungen an textstrategische Phänomene in den Theklaakten

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Today, only few know that Saint Thecla used to be an actual “celebrity” in early Christianity. Those who have heard of her before know her as passionate disciple of the apostle Paul. But an analysis of the narrative about this exceptional female Christian shows that Thecla might have been anything but a lamblike disciple of Paul. The following article invites the reader to an expedition into the literary development and spectrum of meaning of this narrative, “the Acts of Paul and Thecla”. On the basis of a fruitful symbiosis of diachronic and synchronic analysis it becomes evident how the text sets its readers on a certain interpretative track. The analysis of these textual strategies is based on a historical-critical examination, which reveals two layers of the text’s genesis: the older one, the Antioch narrative, is framed by the Iconium narrative and the conclusion. Examined on a synchronic level, this framing device facilitates various, ever-changing meanings. Thecla’s character appears in a different light, depending on whether she is analyzed in the context of “the Acts of Paul and Thecla” or in the context of the older Antiochia narrative. Her relationship to Paul is an important topic here, but certainly not the only one...

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Elisabeth Esch-Wermeling,

geb. 1977, war von 2004-2007 Stipendiatin im Würzburger Graduiertenkolleg „Wahrnehmung der Geschlechterdifferenz in religiösen Symbolsystemen“ und hat 2008 in Münster mit einer Arbeit zu den Theklaakten promoviert. Momentan arbeitet sie als wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin von Herrn Prof. Dr. Martin Ebner im Rahmen des Münsteraner Exzellenzclusters „Religion und Politik in den Kulturen der Vormoderne und Moderne“ an einem Projekt zur Offenbarung des Johannes.

© Esch-Wermeling, 2008,, ISSN 1661-3317