Julia Crispina, first-ever bishop
The Church of England consecrates today its first female bishop, the Reverend Libby Lane, in a ceremony at York Minster.
The Established Church in England thinks this is new; archaeology long ago revealed the first bishop to be a woman; from my main site, we have Covert Herodians:
Though the textual tradition claims its first bishop much later, correspondence retrieved from the Cave of Letters identifies the first bishop - Chrestian no doubt - as Julia Crispina (episkopos), a Herodian princess early in the reign of Hadrian.
After her husband died in 48, she lived with her brother Agrippa for several years and then married Polemon II of Pontus, king of Cilicia, whom she subsequently deserted. According to Josephus, Berenice requested this marriage to dispel rumors that she and her brother were carrying on an incestuous relationship, with Polemon being persuaded to this union mostly on account of her wealth. However the marriage did not last and she soon returned to the court of her brother. Josephus was not the only ancient writer to suggest incestuous relations between Berenice and Agrippa. Juvenal, in his sixth satire, outright claims that they were lovers.It was during this time that Berenice met and fell in love with Titus, who was eleven years her junior. The Herodians sided with the Flavians during the conflict, and later in 69, the Year of the Four Emperors—when the Roman Empire saw the quick succession of the emperors Galba, Otho and Vitellius—Berenice reportedly used all her wealth and influence to support Vespasian on his campaign to become emperor.
The Herodian dynasty was rife with such incest, which became one of the the foremost objections for observant Jews. Her alliance with Titus, who commanded the destruction of Jerusalem and in this was accompanied by his best friend, Tiberius Julius Alexander, places her firmly in the Chrestian camp - her efforts to make Vespasian emperor are matched by Alexander the Alabarch, father of Tiberius Julius Alexander.
|Berenice depicted with her brother Agrippa II during the trial of St. Paul. From a stained glass window in St Paul's Cathedral, Melbourne.|
A bishop (English derivation[a] from the New Testament Greek ἐπίσκοπος, epískopos, "overseer", "guardian") is an ordained or consecrated member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight.That the textual tradition tells us how bishops came later is of little import to me; here, we are dealing with artefactual evidence and Chrestianity.
There are many points I could make of this, though if you're following me (Antonia Minor, the anthropology of the Chrestian Church, the role of a bishop, the orphan Jesus and his parentage, why Roman troops camped on the cliff top above the cave, et cetera, et cetera), you can easily work them out for yourself.
More difficult is to work out the relationship between Julia Crispina, the woman Grapte named in other legal documents of hers found in the cave, the Grapte palace in Jerusalem (when this Grapte is a member of the Adiabene royal family - i.e. a relative of Izates), and the woman Grapte appearing in The Shepherd of Hermas (in the original New Testament). This is how our study requires a lot of work.