Dr. Margaret Y. MacDonald - Professor; received her B.A. (Hon.) from Saint
Mary's University (1983) and her doctorate from the University of Oxford
(1986). During her time in Oxford she
held a Commonwealth Scholarship.
Professor MacDonald taught at St. F. X. from 1986-1990. After working at the University of Ottawa from 1990-1996, she returned to
St. F. X.
An expert in the study of Paul's letters, she published her first book in 1988:
Pauline Churches: A Socio-Historical Study of
Institutionalization in the Pauline and Deutero-Pauline
Writings (Cambridge University Press). Since that time, Professor
MacDonald has continued to publish and develop university courses that pay
special attention to the social setting of early Christianity in the Roman Empire. She has also authored a commentary of the deutero-Pauline epistles, Colossians and
(Vol. 17 of the New Testament Commentary series, Sacra Pagina,
Daniel J. Harrington, S.J. ed. Collegeville, Minnesota: The Liturgical Press,
2000) which has received praise for its social-scientific approach.
Most recently, her interests have broadened to include Christianity in
the second century C.E. Professor MacDonald is a member of several professional
societies including the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies, the Canadian
Society of Patristic Studies, the Society of Biblical Literature, the Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas and the Catholic Biblical Association of America.
Professor MacDonald has published several works on early Christian women,
including a book, Early
Christian Women and Pagan Opinion: The Power of the
Hysterical Woman (Cambridge University Press, 1996). The research for
this book was undertaken with support in the form of a research grant from the
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. In 2003, Professor MacDonald was awarded
a SSHRC grant for the project, "Women, the
Family, and House Churches in Early Christianity." Her latest book is
a result from this project. Co-written with Carolyn Osiek
(with a contribution from Janet Tulloch), A
Woman’s Place: House Churches in Earliest Christianity (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2006) is an
important addition to scholarship on women in early Christianity, being the
first to draw on findings from the field of Roman Family Studies. In 2008,
Professor MacDonald was awarded a SSHRC grant for the project “Children and Childhood in
Early Christian House Churches: the significance and impact of household codes”.
Courses taught by M. Y. MacDonald
Religious Studies 100:
Introduction to Christianity
The course investigates the place of Christianity among the great world
religions with special focus on its relationships to Judaism and Islam. It
includes detailed consideration of the Bible, the history of Christianity,
beliefs, and practices. The course also examines Catholicism, Orthodoxy, and
Protestantism and provides an overview of the various forms of modern Christianity.
Contemporary issues such as social justice, women's leadership,
evangelicalism, apocalypticism and spiritual
renewal will be discussed. Six Credits.
Religious Studies 210: The Bible and Film
The course examines the impact of the Bible on one of the most important
types of modern artistic expression and aspects of popular culture: film.
Students will be introduced to major biblical themes. In addition, students
will learn how a knowledge of the Bible can assist
in an analysis of modern culture and can shed light on the important human
issues that are treated in film. Such themes as creation, redemption,
election, messiahship, charisma and tradition will
be discussed. The course will examine both films that do and films that do
not have explicit religious content. Three credits.
Religious Studies 265:
Introduction to the Gospels
The course will consist of a study of the four canonical gospels with the
help of the critical methods of source, form and redaction criticism. In the
light of recent research, the following topics will be given special
of God; parables; the
quest for the "Historical Jesus." Three credits.
Religious Studies 275: An
Introduction to Paul’s Letters
The course will consist of a literary and historical study of the letters
ascribed to Paul in the New Testament. Particular attention will be given to
recent research on the following: Paul and Judaism; Paul and the Law; the
Pauline churches. Three credits.
Religious Studies 323:
Mary and the Identity of Women
This course examines the role of Mary in the New Testament and the
development of ideas concerning her status as Mother of God. Depictions of
Mary in art and literature throughout history and in various cultural
contexts will be considered. Students will explore how images of Mary have
both shaped and reflected the identity of women throughout the ages. The
continuing devotion of Mary in the modern world, including ongoing interest
in Marian shrines, apparitions, and movements will be discussed. Cross-listed
as WMNS 325. RELS 323 and 325 replace RELS 320. Three Credits.
Religious Studies/Women’s Studies 325: Early
The course investigates women's participation in early Christian groups from
the time of Jesus' ministry to the 6th century CE. Christian women's lives
will be examined in light of the experiences of women in Jewish and
Greco-Roman societies. New Testament and other early Christian writings which
reflect responses to women and ideas about women will be analyzed. The work
of feminist interpreters of the Bible and early Christianity will be
considered throughout the course. The relevance of the material for such
contemporary issues as women's leadership and violence against women will be
discussed. Cross-listed as WMNS 325. RELS 323
and 325 replace RELS 320. Three Credits.
Religious Studies 363:
The First Christians
This course explorers the development of Christianity from its beginnings in
the first century to its acceptance as the official religion of the Roman
Empire in the fourth century. Students will learn about early Christian
beliefs and practices, and will explore the challenges faced by the early
Christians in their daily lives. Specific topics include community,
organization, persecution, martyrdom, gnosticism
and women in the Church. RELS 363 and 365 replace RELS 320. Three Credits.
Religious Studies 440:
The course examines the answer, developed over the centuries by the Christian
church, to the question associated with Jesus in the three synoptic gospels:
"Who do you say I am?" The course will study the beginnings of the
answer as found in the letters of Paul and the four
canonical gospels. Particular attention will be paid to recent writings on
the historical Jesus. Six Credits.
on Mary Magdalene