Dale B. Martin, Woolsey Professor of Religious Studies at Yale University, delivered the inaugural John E. Boswell Lecture on the campus of Pacific School of Religion, April 30, 2008. The text of his lecture is available here as a PDF document.


The Acts of Paul and Thecla, a second-century Christian document, relates the story of how St. Thecla became a Christian and even an apostle. As a young woman from the elite class, she is engaged to be married to a wealthy upper-class gentleman. But then Paul comes to town and preaches his gospel of sexual renunciation. According to Paul in this early Christian document, people can be saved only by the complete renunciation of sexual activity. The resurrection is promised only to those who avoid sex entirely.

Speaker Biography:

Dale B. Martin is Woolsey Professor of Religious Studies at Yale University, specializing in New Testament and Christian Origins. Professor Martin has published extensively on topics related to the ancient family, gender and sexuality in the ancient world, and the ideology of modern biblical scholarship. He is the author most recently of Sex and the Single Savior: Gender and Sexuality in Biblical Interpretation, and Pedagogy of the Bible: An Analysis and Proposal