Entering the Passion of Jesus– Part Twelve

Entering the Passion of Jesus– Part Twelve March 16, 2019

Q. On p. 97ff. you make much of the fact that women were able to be ‘bread-winners’ on their own in early Judaism, and that stereotypes about Jesus liberating women from the oppressive patriarchy of early Judaism go too far. Leaving stereotypes out for the moment, it does seem to be true that Jesus attracted women of all sorts to be his followers and helpers and they seem to have been more loyal to him even unto being present at the cross and afterwards. What was it then that produced such fierce loyalty? So far as I can see, Jesus was the first early Jewish teacher to have female disciples or followers who even travelled with him up to Jerusalem and elsewhere on occasion.

A. Women followed, or served as patrons, of various individuals and movements, including Pharisees. I am not convinced that women were “on the road” with Jesus in the sense of overnighting with him and the men. That women would have gone on pilgrimage with him and others to Jerusalem would be expected. Mark tells us that women were looking on at the cross from a distance while the men forsook Jesus and fled. That would not be surprising either. Part of our problem doing history here is that we do not have good details of other such figures with disciples, so we cannot determine if the women in the movement were anomalous or not. For example, it seems to me likely that there were women followers of John the Baptist (the Gospels mention prostitutes in this regard).

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