…gender played a strong role in the agonistic articulation of nascent religious identity and difference, whether Christian, Jewish or “pagan.” Is religious discourse then mapped in antiquity as a competition among cultural claimants of masculine perfection? Alternatively, is it mapped as an irruption of ambivalently subversive or counterhegemonic genders to which empire paradoxically gives rise? I would answer both of these in the affirmative. Again, we face an ambivalence that is mapped across our texts and theirs.
Virginia Burrus, “Mapping as Metamorphosis: Initial Reflections on Gender and Ancient Religious Discourses”, in Mapping Gender in Ancient Religious Discourses, ed. Todd Penner & Caroline Vander Stichele (Leiden & Boston: Brill, 2007), 9-10.