With regard to women, Christianity's inheritance from ancient
Greece and Rome was small. In Greece, with the exception of Macedonia,
women were definitely considered as inferiors and were kept in utter
seclusion in the family. Stranger women, of course, had liberty, but
the price of that liberty was harlotry. Legally, the Roman matron was
little better off, but practically she had much more freedom. This
freedom brought the undesirable result of widespread moral laxity; yet
it prepared the way for the freedom of activity of Christian women in
the early days of the spread of Christianity throughout the Empire.
There is no doubt that when the Christian message came with its insistence on absolute purity it brought protection and elevation of the status of women. Although it is very true that in many respects the
Christian Church worked its leaven within the framework of existing
conditions, in respect to the standards of purity expected in its
women, "specifically Christian motives and sanctions are introduced."^
The Apologists are persistent in their use of the higher standards of
Christianity toward women as an apologetic for the truth of the Christian message, and their very insistence underlines the uniqueness of
this feature of the Christian message.