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Biblical and extra-Biblical accounts about Christian women

Women in the Churches of Paul

QUESTION: Looking back to June 14 you listed 7 topics you were discussing at the Apocrypha Seminar at the National Humanities Center. I don't believe we have discussed much of anything on feminism. It seems a broad subject for rich discussion. Were women disenfranchised later or were they denied any major roll right from the start? Of course, Dan Brown could be brought into the subject!   RESPONSE: I’ll probably keep Dan Brown out of it! J Well, unless I feel inspired to talk a bit about Mary Magdalene and what we really do and don’t know about her, later on. But maybe it would be good to devote a few posts to the question of women in the early church. Our earliest author, of course, is Paul, and Paul’s views of women are widely misunderstood. In my NT course I have every student participate, as part of their grade, in a formal debate on this or that topic. The topics are meant to be controversial, and one of them, years ago, was “Resolved: The [...]

The Women in Matthew’s Genealogy

Another bit drawn mainly from my undergraduate textbook, but of relevance to my current thread on the birth narratives of Jesus. There is one other interesting and frequently-noted feature of Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus (actually, not of Jesus, but of Joseph). That is the fact that it makes explicit reference to women among Jesus’ ancestors. That is highly unusual. Women scarcely ever appear in most ancient Israelite and Jewish genealogies;, which invariably trace a person’s lineage from father to son (or vice versa) all the way back through the family line; see, as I pointed out earlier 1 Chronicles 1-9. Where are the women? For ancient genealogists, as a rule, they were not important enough to mention. But Matthew not only ends his genealogy by mentioning Mary, Jesus’ mother, but he also includes reference to four other women: Tamar (v. 3), Rahab (v. 5), Ruth (v. 5), and the “wife of Uriah” that is, Bathsheba (v. 6). Stories about all four of these women are found in the Jewish Scriptures (Tamar: Genesis 38; Rahab: Joshua2, [...]

2020-04-30T11:54:29-04:00December 21st, 2012|Canonical Gospels, Women in Early Christianity|

Women Who Did Not Doubt the Resurrection

In my post yesterday I noted something unusual about the doubting tradition in the resurrection narratives (i.e., the tradition that some of the disciples simply didn’t believe that Jesus was raised) – in addition, of course, to the fact that there is such a dominant doubting tradition! (itself a fascinating phenomenon) – which is that there is no word anywhere of the women who discover the tomb doubting, but clear indications (either by implication or by explicit statement) that some or all of the male disciples doubted. This is true of three of our four Gospels. Mark 16:8. (This one is by implication only) We are told that the women never tell anyone that they have found the tomb to be empty. So, the disciples are not said to believe and, in fact, so far as we know from this Gospel, no one does come to believe. (Obviously someone did, otherwise we wouldn’t have the Gospel!) Luke 24:10-11. The disciples think the tale of women told that Jesus has been raised as he predicted is [...]

The Women and the Empty Tomb

QUESTION: So, on Ludemann's account, how do the stories of the women at the tomb found in the canonical gospels come to be told? As many scholars I've read have pointed out, having women, who were considered untrustworthy witnesses, as the first to see the risen Christ, was not exactly a way to get people to believe the stories. So why would the gospel writers tell the stories with the women in such a prominent place? RESPONSE: I’m not sure how Lüdemann would answer your question (I.e., I don’t recall off hand how he deals with it). But I thought that maybe I should give it a shot. I am not responding here with a long-held position that I have carefully thought through and worked out. I’m really just “thinking out loud” (well, thinking silently, at my keyboard, in any event). I have indeed heard this argument for many years. In fact, I used to make it myself. The argument is that since women were not considered reliable witnesses (since their testimony was not acceptable [...]

BREAKING NEWS! A Significant New Non-Canonical Gospel Fragment

There is potentially exciting news just out this afternoon. Karen King, scholar of Coptic and Gnosticism at Harvard Divinity School, an expert on the Gnostic Gospels, has just released information about a newly discovered papyrus manuscript – a small fragment the size of a credit card. It is a Gospel fragment of only eight lines. But they are significant lines. On them, Jesus appears to refer … to his wife!! FOR THE REST OF THIS POST, LOG IN AS A MEMBER. IF YOU DON"T BELONG YET -- BETTER JOIN!! Here are the graphics and some links.   This is just breaking news, so I don’t have anything more to say about it. Front of fourth-century papyrus fragment Karen L. King's translation of the 8 lines from the front. Papyrus front text: Karen L. King 2012 Karen L. King's translation of the 6 lines on the back. Fourth-century CE codex in Coptic on reverse side.   Papyrus reverse side text: Karen L. King 2012.   http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/19/us/historian-says-piece-of-papyrus-refers-to-jesus-wife.html?src=me&ref=general&_r=0 http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/09/18/fragment-suggests-jesus-was-married/ And here’s a draft of [...]

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