Nobody's Mother: Artemis of the Ephesians in Antiquity and the New Testament, By Sandra L. Glahn
Nobody's Mother
  • Length: 200 pages
  • Dimensions: 6 × 9 in
  • Published: October 10, 2023
  • Imprint: IVP Academic
  • Item Code: A0592
  • ISBN: 9781514005927

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How Has Misinterpreting Paul Led to the Silencing of Women?

Some Christians think Paul's reference to "saved through childbearing" in 1 Timothy 2:15 means that women are slated primarily for delivering and raising children. Alternate readings, however, sometimes fail to build on the best historical and textual evidence.

Sandra Glahn thinks that we have misunderstood Paul by misunderstanding the context to which he wrote. A key to reading and applying 1 Timothy, Glahn argues, lies in getting to know a mysterious figure who haunts the letter: the goddess Artemis.

Based on groundbreaking research and new data about Artemis of the Ephesians, Nobody's Mother:

  • Demonstrates how better background information supports faithful interpretation,
  • Combines spiritual autobiography with scholarly exploration, taking readers on a journey to ancient Ephesus and across early church history, and
  • Unveils the cult of Artemis and how early Christians related to it can give us a clearer sense of the type of radical, countercultural fellowship the New Testament writers intended Christ's church to be.

This book is for those who want to avoid sacrificing a high view of Scripture while working to reconcile conflicting models of God's view of women. Through the unexpected channel of Paul's advice to Timothy—and the surprising help of an ancient Greek myth—Nobody's Mother lays a biblical foundation for men and women serving side by side in the church.

"Nobody's Mother is a witty title for a brilliant work on first-century Artemis of the Ephesians. Sandra Glahn's encyclopedic research into the literary, epigraphic, and iconographic evidence brings the goddess into sharp focus, dispelling persistent myths. In accessible prose, Glahn persuasively argues that understanding Artemis is key to unlocking 1 Timothy 2:15's enigmatic phrase, 'saved through childbearing.' A must-read for students and scholars alike."

Lynn H. Cohick, distinguished professor of New Testament and director of Houston Theological Seminary at Houston Christian University, and associate editor of the Dictionary of Paul and His Letters, second edition

"Nobody's Mother is an impressive contribution to the discussion about women in church leadership and the background of 1 Timothy. With studious attention to archaeological and exegetical details, Sandra Glahn dives deep into some of the most complex questions surrounding one of the most complicated passages in the New Testament. Not every reader will agree with Glahn's conclusions, but everyone who is interested in what Paul was trying to say in 1 Tim 2:8-15 must wrestle with Glahn's scholarly, responsible work. I found this book very hard to put down!"

Preston Sprinkle, author, speaker, and host of the Theology in the Raw podcast

"In this masterful literary, epigraphic, architectural, and exegetical study, Sandra Glahn brings the significance of Artemis worship to bear in the interpretation of being 'saved through childbearing' (1 Tim 2:15). This text is critically linked to the seemingly transcultural prohibition of women teaching men (1 Tim 2:12). However, anyone seeking to be faithful to Scripture should remember that these texts were first God's Word to others before they were God's Word to us. By understanding who Artemis of the Ephesians was and how this likely influenced these texts, Glahn exposes the context of 1 Timothy to apply these words more accurately today. This book is a game changer."

Christa L. McKirland, theology lecturer at Carey Baptist College and executive director of Logia International

"It seemed highly unlikely to me that anyone could say anything fresh about 1 Timothy 2. Sandra Glahn has proven me wrong. With its close attention to material culture and biblical text, Glahn's evidence demands that we understand Artemis differently and therefore read this passage with fresh eyes. Immediately compelling through Glahn's honest personal narrative, Nobody's Mother kept me on the edge of my seat. I couldn't wait to see Glahn's conclusions. Now that I've read them, I know I'll be thinking about them, and changing how I teach this text, for a long time."

Amy Peeler, professor of New Testament at Wheaton College

"Paul's phrase 'saved through childbearing' becomes controversial to modern readers who approach the text from afar and yet attempt to apply it to their present contexts. An incorrect biblical interpretation leads to incorrect applications that, in some instances, like the one in this passage, bring devastating consequences for women who have had an unsupported and extrabiblical burden imposed on them. Sandra Glahn provides a unique cultural, historical, and theological understanding of this passage. In fact, Nobody's Mother is a masterful work that will remain the foundational text for understanding Artemis of the Ephesians and her implications in the biblical narrative. This work exemplifies how cultural, historical, and biblical scholarship serve the body of Christ worldwide."

Octavio Javier Esqueda, director of the PhD and EdD programs in educational studies and professor of Christian higher education at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University

"Sometimes biblical scholars don't know what they don't know. Then, like a restoration specialist removing layers of superfluous material to uncover the original beneath, a scholar unveils new research that cuts through old assumptions and suppositions. Sandra Glahn's meticulous exploration of Artemis of the Ephesians offers compelling and unavoidable scholarship necessary for every serious student of the New Testament. Nobody's Mother will revitalize the conversation around 1 Timothy and other Ephesus-related biblical writings."

Kelley Mathews, coauthor of 40 Questions About Women in Ministry

"I appreciate this extensive study of Artemis from ancient sources that may not have been available to previous interpreters. Glahn's findings not only deconstruct some long-held views of the goddess, they also add depth to our knowledge of this leading deity in the social world of Ephesus in the first century. Nobody's Mother gives readers fresh perspective on texts like 1 Timothy 2:15 for modern interpretation by shining light on local, cultural realities that have previously lurked in the shadows."

Gary G. Hoag, author of Wealth in Ancient Ephesus and the First Letter to Timothy

"What a clear and compelling explanation for one of the most unclear passages in Scripture! This eye-opening book evaluates all the available evidence—literary, archaeological, and biblical—to help us better understand not only the historical context of Paul's words but also how the spiritual worth of a woman is not tied to the physical state of motherhood. Glahn's own story of infertility will encourage women in the modern church just as powerfully as her argument reframes women in first-century Ephesus."

Beth Allison Barr, James Vardaman Professor of History at Baylor University and author of The Making of Biblical Womanhood: How the Subjugation of Women Became Gospel Truth

Read an Excerpt



1. Why Take a Fresh Look?
2. The Story of Ephesus in Stone and Scripture
3. Artemis in the Literary Sources
4. Artemis in the Epigraphic Sources
5. Artemis in Architecture and Art
6. Saved Through Childbearing

General Index
Scripture Index
Ancient Writings Index


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Sandra L. Glahn

Sandra L. Glahn is professor of media arts and worship at Dallas Theological Seminary, where her emphases are first-century backgrounds related to women, culture, gender, and the arts. She has authored or edited more than twenty books, including Vindicating the Vixens, Earl Grey with Ephesians, Sanctified Sexuality (coeditor), and Sexual Intimacy in Marriage (coauthor).