The Acts of Thecla: An Analysis
Whether one chooses to view the text by title of The Acts of Paul, The Acts of Thecla, or The Acts of Paul and Thecla, shows how one is likely to view the tale itself. An entirely different perspective can be formed from reading the various versions by different names. For instance, when reading The Acts of Paul, the story is focused on Paul and his contributions to Christianity. When reading The Acts of Paul and Thecla or simply The Acts of Thecla, a new perspective is formed viewed in a feminine light. This version focuses on Thecla’s dedication to an ascetic lifestyle and portrays the influence a woman can have in the Christian tradition. The acts of Paul and Thecla are widely disputed on a number of aspects. In question is the
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Tertullian states that a presbyter of Asia wrote these Acts in honor of St Paul. The possibility that additions were made in the various accounts is more than likely. The story itself seems too unrealistic. The amount and nature of miracles that occur to preserve Thecla’s chastity and her wellbeing are over the top. It’s speculated that individuals inserted passages to decrease the roles held by women. If passages were inserted, it’s just as likely that some were eliminated or altered to coincide with the views of their time. The Acts of Thecla is written in canon. The reason the Acts are not included in the Canon of Scripture is due to the ambiguity and belief that it was written in honor of Paul instead of by divine intervention. The Acts are viewed as epic stories and show great deeds of people. Since most of the Acts included in the New Testament were not written down immediately and more than likely were passed on by oral tradition, it’s difficult for me to understand what makes one story legitimate and one unauthorized. I believe the reason The Acts of Thecla weren’t included in the canon Scripture is due to Tertullian. He among others disliked the influence that Thecla could have on women thereby challenging his beliefs and Christianity.
Regardless of Tertullian’s belief and influence, Thecla still