Andrew Sullivan joins an enthusiastic choir of reviewers and commentators calling attention to Band of Angels, Kate Cooper’s book on the role of women in shaping the early Church.
Among those he quotes is the Rev. Lucy Winkett, who will probably be a bishop in the Church of England someday, assuming the C of E can get its act together on that front. In the New Statesman, she wrote:
That women figured so prominently as Christianity was being formed makes their institutional silence in later centuries more poignant and casts new light on today’s debates about women and religious authority. … Reading about these first 500 years with the following thousand in mind makes the words of these early women all the more powerful, because we know that their successors were shut out of public office, banned from teaching and martyred for suggesting that their voices should be heard. Cooper’s rediscovery of these women rescues them from a fate as silent pastelled saints and virgins in the frescoes of many churches.