Band of Angels

Band of Angels

The Forgotten World of Early Christian Women

Additional Formats
  • ePub
  • ISBN 9781468309362
  • 320 Pages
  • Adult


In this inspiring new history of the early Christian movement, award-winning historian Kate Cooper reveals a vivid picture of the triumphs and hardships of the first mothers of the infant church. As far as recorded history is concerned, women in the ancient world lived almost invisibly in a man’s world. Piecing together their story from the few contemporary accounts that have survived requires painstaking detective work, but it can render both the past and the present in a new light.

Following the lives of influential women across the first centuries of the church, Band of Angels tells the remarkable story of how a new way of understanding relationships took root in the ancient world. As Cooper demonstrates, women from all walks of life played an invaluable role in Christianity’s growth to become a world religion. Peasants, empresses, and independent businesswomen contributed what they could to an emotional revolution unlike anything the ancient world had ever seen.

By sharing the ideas that had inspired them, ancient women changed their own lives. But they did something more. Their story is a testament to what invisible people can achieve, and to how the power of ideas can change the world, one household at a time.


“I don’t quite know another book like this one…One great gift of this book involves women’s agency. Contrary to the worn-out canard that Roman women “were just property,” Cooper explains how Roman law allowed widows and even daughters control over property and wide room for influence… Cooper has presented us with a wide-ranging, informative study. I admire her learning and her guidance, and she knows how to lead an audience. I am especially grateful that she chose to follow the lives of individual women rather than to build an abstract argument.” —Huffington Post
Advance praise for Band of Angels:

“This remarkable book is the best sort of engaged history, looking at familiar texts in new ways, while also revealing unfamiliar personalities and sources covering five centuries of early Christian development.  It offers reflection on the meanings for contemporary Christian Churches which emerge from the stories that it tells.  It makes an elegant and enjoyable contribution to unravelling centuries of unwarranted assumptions about the role of women in ministry and Christian life.” -—Diarmaid MacCulloch, New York Times bestselling author of Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years
“A distinguished ancient historian’s elegant study of the extraordinary women who helped lay the foundations of the early Christian church…Engaging reading for specialists and general readers alike.” —Kirkus Reviews
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