In his Letter to Romans, Paul mentions an otherwise unknown woman named Phoebe, whom he extols as a deacon or minister. Peter Abelard reviewed patristic opinions about Phoebe, putting into currency ancient debates over women's roles in liturgical and teaching ministry. About two decades later, Phoebe was again resurrected, even more surprisingly, in a manuscript where she was not mentioned textually but invoked visually. The appearance of Phoebe—an apostolic model of women's ministry—in an age of emerging forms of women's religious life, reveals tensions among men about the possibilities of women's religious leadership and transmission of knowledge.

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