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Band of Angels
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In Band of Angels, Kate Cooper tells the surprising story of early Christianity from the woman's point of view. Though they are often forgotten, 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 mobilizing friends and family to spread the word from household to household, they created a wave of change not unlike modern 'viral' marketing. For the most part, women in the ancient world lived out their lives almost invisibly in a man's world. Piecing together their history from the few contemporary accounts that have survived requires painstaking detective work. Yet a careful re-reading of ancient sources yields a vivid picture, and shows how daily life and the larger currents of history shaped one another. This remarkable book tells the story of how a new way of understanding relationships took root in the ancient world. By sharing the ideas that had inspired them, ancient women changed their own lives. But they did something more: they changed the world around them, and in doing so, they created an enduring legacy. Their story is a testament to what invisible people can achieve, and to how the power of ideas can change history.
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'This remarkable book is the best sort of engaged history... Elegant and enjoyable' Diarmaid MacCulloch The story of the beginnings of Christianity, told as never before. Band of Angels uncovers the vital role women played in spreading the Christian religion and seeks to restore their rightful place in history.

About the Author

Kate Cooper is Professor of Ancient History at the University of Manchester. Her academic titles have explored the role of virgins in early Christianity (The Virgin and the Bride) and of women and the family during the decline and fall of the Roman Empire (The Fall of the Roman Household). Born in Washington, DC and educated at Princeton, Harvard and Wesleyan universities, she is a Rome Prize winner and Fellow of the American Academy in Rome.

Reviews

Brilliant... A highly readable and important work on the history of religion... the text is suffused with personal, imaginative and emotional perspectives... A fine book -- John Cornwell * Daily Telegraph * A fine piece of detective work and a gripping tale of many remarkable, forgotten women -- Catherine Pepinster * Independent * 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 The lives of early Christian women are cleverly pieced together in this engaging history * Observer * Band of Angels is the best kind of popular history... Cooper's rediscovery of these women rescues them from a fate as silent pastelled saints and virgins in the frescoes of many churches. * New Statesman * Band of Angels is illuminating, surprising and will let readers into a world they thought they knew but really didn't. -- Selina O'Grady * Literary Review * A pacy tale of heroines, martyrs, virgins, mothers and sisters. The narrative rarely slackens and manages the tricky task of slipping in historical context without being an obvious lesson in ancient history. * Standpoint * This is a fascinating and original look at how early Christian women spread the word domestically, quite literally from one household to another, and from its pages a whole hitherto invisible world emerges, as if by magic. * Good Book Guide * 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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