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Independent Women Played Important Role in Early Christianity: Amazing Discovery in Galilee Reveals Much on Women's Contribution to the Church

Amanda Borschel-Dan : Nov 13, 2017 : Reprinted with permission of The Times of Israel

The idea of independent women of means in rural Western Galilee came as a surprise to archaeologists.

(Israel) — [Reprinted with permission of The Times of Israel] A newly uncovered mosaic in the Western Galilee speaks to the relatively high status of women in the early Church. Dating to the 5th century, a Greek-language inscription memorializes one "Sausann" (or Shoshana) as a donor for the construction of a village church. It is one of seven inscriptions — including a massive five-meter long text — which were found in three Byzantine churches during this summer's excavations by Kinneret College archaeologist Mordechai Aviam and historian Jacob Ashkenazi. (Photo Credit: Yehoshoa Dray)

Unusual in a patriarchal society, the donor Sausann is credited in the inscription independently of any spouse or male guardian. This Sausann is thought to have been a woman of some standing, perhaps following in the footsteps of her presumed namesake, the female disciple Susannah, who was among the women named in Luke 8:3 who provided for Jesus "out of their resources."

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