Elshtain points to Augustine, Aquinas, and Luther in particular as Christian thinkers who challenged the classical elevation of the public realm that had as its necessary corollary the exclusion of women from political life.
Elshtain writes, "Christianity challenged the primacy of politics. It did not relegate secular power to silence and shadows as secular power had formerly relegated the private, but the claims of the public-political world no longer went unchallenged. Caesar now had to confront the formidable figure of Christ." Christianity bequeathed to the individual qua human being irreducible worth and dignity, and placed independent value on "the realm of necessity" inhabited by women. In so doing, it turned Aristotle "on his head." The Greeks had excluded women from the highest expressions of human life, action, and thought; Christianity smashed the distinction between higher and lower forms of human existence, with effects that reverberated through to the present.