Jesus and women

There is no biblical and historical grounds for considering women inferior to men, even the minister of preaching, rather, it is argued that Jesus was basically in favor of women in all aspects of life.

samaritanwoman[1]Jesus, He lived in Palestine two thousand years ago, that we Christians recognize as Lord and Savior, It is considered as a model “imitate” for as much as possible. Jesus is for the promotion of equality of women with men, a person who defends women and their treatment primarily as human beings, Despite all this was contrary to the social culture of the historical moment in which he lived.

The proof of this thesis, it can be said without a doubt that Jesus never said or done anything that might lead us to think that women should be treated differently as inferior to men, but on the contrary, he has said and done things that are going to show us his thoughts parity, so willfully violating the customs and social attitudes of the time in which he lived.

This thesis can be documented through the simple reading of the four Gospels. In reality, Jesus addressed clearly and especially the classes of “inferiors”, how poor, the lame, sinners – and women - spreading the message of freedom and equality in the Kingdom of God. But there are two factors here that need explaining: the status of women in Palestine at the time of Jesus and the nature of the Gospels. Both must be analyzed in detail, especially the first.

The situation of women in Palestine

The situation of women in Palestine in Jesus' time was definitely that of subordination to men, the inferior. Despite the fact that there were several heroines recorded in the Scriptures, according to the rabbis of the time – and for a long time after – women did not have the right to study the scriptures (Torah). A first-century rabbi, Eliezer, It puts the highlight:

“Rather than entrust the Torah to a woman, it should be burned… Who teaches his daughter Torah is as though taught lasciviousness.”

In the area of ​​prayer, of vital importance, women were so little considered, so much so that they were not given even the data requirements men, so little care of their salvation. For example, gives the, together with the children and the slaves, They were not obliged to recite the morning prayer (scheme), nor prayers at meals. In reality, the Talmud says:

“What is a curse on the man who needs his wife or his children ask pardon for him…”

Furthermore, in daily prayer of the Jews is a triple thanks:

“Praise be to God, who has not created me a gentile; Praise be to God, who has not created me a woman; Praise be to God, who has not created me an ignorant man.”

It was obviously a rabbinical version of this prayer that Paul discusses in his letter to the Galatians:

“There is neither Jew nor greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus”.

Women are also widely restricted in public prayer. Has not been (and it is not) even possible for them to be considered to achieve the required number for a quorum to form a local congregation for worship - as they were still considered to children and slaves (There is an interesting parallel in the current fee 93 the Code of Canon Law, which brings together married women, minors, and the crowds). In the great temple in Jerusalem, they are limited to an external party, The "Women's Court", It situated far behind compared to that of men. In synagogues, women were also separated from men, e, obviously, they were not allowed to read out loud to make them listen. The same is true even in today's synagogues – cannon 1262 CJC also states that “in church, women must be separated from the men.”.
In addition to the disability of women in prayer and worship areas, they were also marginalized in society in everyday life. A scholar of Writing, Pietro Ketter, writes:

“A rabbi considers talking to a woman in public as an act of loss of dignity, as indeed positively infamous. The Sayings of the Fathers contain the teaching that says: “He talks to the little woman.”

From the moment here he means one's wife, how does this apply to the other wives? The sages say:

"He talks a lot with a woman is drawn toward calamity, neglects the Law, e, finally, earns hell…”.

If this were applied simply to the other wives, could mean an invitation to avoid situations that could lead to adultery and then only to evil tongues, but since this teaching applies to any type of woman, the wife, the sister, the daughter, motivation can only be sought in the arrogance of male superiority. This teaching warns men in the same way it warns them from bad company, This means that stand beside the woman is not healthy. In addition, except in very rare cases, Women were not allowed to testify in Jewish courts. Some philosophers, such as also Philo, a contemporary of Jesus, They argue that women should not leave their families, with the exception of when they go in the synagogues, and that girls should never cross the threshold of the house that separates the area of ​​the males from the females of the family.”

In general, This attitude towards women was legalized by the institutions. In the vast majority of cases, the function of women has always been to have children and raise them; women were almost always under the protection of a man, or father or husband, and if widow, of her deceased husband's brother. polygamy – in the sense of having more wives, but it not in the sense of having more than one husband - was legal among Jews in Jesus' time. Women of Palestine was never given permission to divorce their husbands, but the opposite was legal.

The rabbinical proverbs teach the attitude that we must have towards women:

The good reigns on families whose children are male, but no good reigns over those whose children are female… At the birth of a boy everyone I am pleased and happy, but the birth of a girl are all sad… When a child is born, peace comes into the world, When a child is born, no one is any good… Even the most virtuous of women is a witch… Our teachers told: "Four qualities are present in women: They are greedy of their food, tending to gossip, vaguely at gelose”.

The status of women in Palestinian Judaism was so bleak.

The nature of the Gospels

The Gospels, obviously, They do not describe the facts of life and culture in Jesus of Nazareth times, such as might be found in the current books today or in critical biographies ancient. Rather, they are four different statements of the primitive community life, preaching, death and resurrection of the Messiah, the Lord and Savior of the world. They come from a variety of sources, written and oral, written in a period of very far either from time to time for customs and traditions, and according to the needs of evangelization of the moment in which they found to live. Given that the Gospel writers were not historical critics of the twentieth century, They have not paid particular attention, nor they were interested to explore all of its cultural prejudices and assumptions, indeed, it is certain that they were not even aware of what a "cultural factor".

This modern criticism, naturally, It does not judge the historical character and veracity of the Gospels, but only describes the type of documents in their historical context to better understand. Its spiritual value is that modern Christians are helped to know much more precisely what Jesus meant by some of his statements and his actions reported by the early Christian community. This new understanding of the nature of the Gospels, it is easier to make a fundamental distinction between the religious truth that must be transmitted and uses expressed in the Gospel.

What Jesus said or did we just get through the lens of the first Christians. If there was no particular religious significance in a particular use or cultural tradition, one would expect that this is also reflected in Jesus. This is not so, because Jesus does not show to have these uses of time, In fact contrasts them eliminating all traditions, hierarchical and sexual distinctions among men. The fact that the vast majority of people have a negative attitude towards women in Palestine is not justified either reported as lessons from the early Christian community.

Women disciples of Jesus

Jesus and the disciples
Jesus and the disciples

One of the first things noticed in the Gospels about the positive attitude of Jesus toward women is that he taught them the gospel, the meaning of the Scriptures and religious truths in general. When it reminded that in Judaism is considered improper, and even obscene, teach the scriptures to women, Jesus' action is an extraordinary and deliberate decision to break the hateful tradition against them. Furthermore, women became disciples of Jesus, not only in the sense of learning, but also in the sense to follow him on his travels and ministry. A number of women, married and, They were regular followers of Jesus. In Luca 8:1-3, Many are mentioned in the same sentence with the Twelve:

Then he made his way through towns and villages, preaching and proclaiming the good news of God's kingdom. With him were the Twelve and some women who had been healed of evil spirits and diseases: Maria, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone; Giovanna, wife of Cuza, the administrator of Herod; Suzanna and others who provided for Jesus and the twelve with their wealth.

The significance of this phenomenon of women following Jesus, they learned and did ministry for him, can be properly appreciated when one realizes that, not only were no women to read or study the Scriptures previously, but in special cases, they have even left their families, both as daughter, as a wife, or member of a harem.

There is not only the resurrection of Jesus in the Gospels. There are three other stories of resurrection performed by Jesus and all involve a woman directly. The first is the resurrection of the daughter lario (Mt 9:18; Mc 5:22; Lc. 8:41). A second resurrection is accomplished by Jesus on the only son of the widow of Nain: "The Sir, seeing her, He took pity on her and said to her: "Do not Cry!».” (Lc. 7:13) The third resurrection performed by Jesus was that of Lazarus, at the request of his sisters Martha and Mary (Teacher. 11:43-44). It was precisely the two sisters sent for Jesus because of the illness of Lazarus. But when Jesus arrived, Lazarus had been dead for four days. Marta invoked Jesus and pleaded for the resurrection of the dead brother: “lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. And even now I know that whatever you ask God, God will deliver”. subsequently, Maria came to Jesus and said the same. When Jesus saw her weeping, he said:”Where you have placed the body?"They said,: “lord, come and see”. Jesus burst into tears and was resurrected Lazarus.

So Jesus gave back the life of a woman and rose two men forever because women daughters had requested.

There are two further details that should be known in these three stories of resurrection. The first detail is that only in the case of Jairus' daughter, Jesus touched the body - which had to be regarded as unclean, under the laws. In the case of two men, Jesus touched them, but simply she said, “Young man, I say to you, and arise”, O “Lazarus, come outside”. We must at least wonder why Jesus chose to violate the laws of ritual purity, in order to help a woman, but not a man. The second detail is in Jesus, after talks with Marta has called for the raising of Lazarus. Jesus himself said to be the resurrection, ( “I am the resurrection and the life.”), the only time they made sure that they are recorded in the Gospels. Jesus, in this case, It revealed the central event, the central message of the Gospel – the resurrection, his resurrection, his being the resurrection – for a woman.

The second detail is in the conversation of Jesus with Mary after she pleaded for the resurrection of Lazarus. Jesus declares that he himself is "the Resurrection" ("I am the Resurrection and the Life") and this is the only episode in the Gospels in which the states. Jesus here reveals a woman from central and fundamental event of the Gospel, His Resurrection.

Women as sex objects

Jesus and the adulteress
Jesus and the adulteress

There are, naturally, numerous occasions described in the Gospels in which women are treated by men as beings and second-class citizens. There are also situations in which women have been treated not as persons but also as sex objects, and it was expected that Jesus would have done the same. Expectations, however, were totally disappointed. One such occasion occurred when Jesus was invited to dinner at the home of a Pharisee skeptical, Simeone, (Lc 7:36 ss.) and a woman with a bad reputation, as he entered Jesus, He washed his feet with her tears and wiped them with her daughters hair. But the Pharisee saw it only as an object of sexual desire:”il fariseo… he said to himself, "This man, if you were a prophet, He would know who this woman is who touches him; It is a sinner ". But Jesus deliberately rejected this approach for the woman as a sexual object berating the Pharisee. Said: «Simone, I have something to tell you '. and he: «Maestro, of’ pure». "A creditor had two debtors; the one owed five hundred denarii and the other fifty. And since they had no money to pay he forgave them both. Which of them will love him more?». Simon answered: "I believe that he, to whom he forgave more». Jesus said to him: 'You are right'. E, He is turning to the woman, he said to Simon: "You see this woman? I entered into your house, and you gave me no water for my feet; but she has washed my feet with tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss; but she, since I joined, He has not ceased to kiss my feet. You did not poured it on the head; but she has anointed my feet with ointment. therefore, I'm telling you: Her many sins are forgiven, for she loved much; but to whom little is forgiven, He loves little ". Then he said to the woman: "Your sins are forgiven '. Those who were at table with him, They began to say within themselves: "Who is this who even forgives sins?"But he said to the woman: "Your faith has saved you; will’ in pace».

Jesus then, Here also it transgresses the custom of talking to women in public, more so that we are talking about a sinner, of a prostitute.

A similar situation occurred when the scribes and the Pharisees had caught red in adulterous woman. The law of Moses said that such women were stoned (Deut. 22: 22). The Pharisees wanted to see if Jesus would then have broken the law of Moses and they wanted to test. In fact if Jesus had said “Yup” by stoning, he would have violated Roman law, limiting capital punishment, and if he said “No,” It would be inconsistent with the Mosaic law. Jesus, obviously, escape their snares and speaks directly to the accusers: “If there is one among you who has not sinned, is the first to throw a stone at her!” (Giovanni 8:7). They accused by their conscience, They went out one by one, beginning at the eldest to the last; and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing in the midst. Jesus said: "Neither do I condemn; will’ and sin no more ". With his attitude, Jesus then, does not approve of sin, condemns, but what is not condemns the sinner, that is forgiven.

Jesus and the impure blood of the Law

In all three Synoptic Gospels fit the center of the story of the resurrection of Jairus' daughter, the story of the healing of a woman who was suffering from an issue of blood twelve years, and therefore deemed impure (Mt 9:20; Mc. 5:25; Lc. 8:43). She disse fra know and know: "If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed "”. Jesus healed by his faith. The sense of degradation and contamination that are beset upon her for twelve years was undoubtedly extremely oppressive. Jesus did touch her, no one would do because you would be left infected by her impurity, according to the law Levitican (Lev. 15:19). Then he breaks the customs and habits.

Jesus and the Samaritan woman

Some other time, Jesus purple deliberately and again the common law related to the relationship between men and women. It tells the story of the Samaritan woman at Jacob's well (Giovanni 4:5). Jesus is waiting at the well outside the village, while his disciples were in search of food. A Samaritan woman approaches to draw water. Normally, rivolgerebbe not a Jew to speak to a Samaritan, as he pointed out by the woman. But also a man not normally speak to a woman in public (so this would be to break the law twice in the case of a rabbi). however, Jesus started a conversation the woman. The woman is aware of being both Samaritan woman that, and the action of Jesus is out of the ordinary, In fact, she said: "How come you who are a Jew, ask a drink from me, I am a Samaritan woman?». His disciples returning were surprised to find him talking with a woman, even though none of them asked him explanations. It 'obvious that the attitude of Jesus, It served to abolish the ethnic inequality, sexual and social time, giving an example to his disciples.

Jesus and the Samaritan woman
Just like when Jesus revealed himself to Martha and Mary during the raising of Lazarus, Jesus is revealed here in one of its key roles, the Messiah (Giovanni 4:25) to a woman who immediately testified to the inhabitants of a village. It 'also worth noting that, apparently, the testimony of women have a greater weight among the Samaritans than among Jews. Many Samaritans from that town gave Him for the strength of the woman's testimony. It seems that John, In his Gospel, He wanted to reinforce the idea of ​​dignity and consideration that Jesus had for women, placing them always in the foreground with regard to the proclamation of salvation.

Another important observation to be made to this story. As the crowd of Samaritans was walking to see Jesus, Jesus spoke to his disciples about the fields ready for harvest and invited them to pick up what others had sown . He was clearly talking about the souls of men and most likely was referring directly to the Samaritans. But it also appears that the evangelista Giovanni wanted to include the Samaritan among the "seeding", because immediately after telling this episode, he added: "Many Samaritans from that city gave him because of the testimony of the woman" (Giovanni 4:39)

Marriage and the dignity of women

One of the most important positions taken by Jesus about the dignity of women was that on marriage (Mt. 19:1-12). “The disciples said: The disciples said: "If this is the situation between husband and wife, is not expedient to marry ". For Jesus expressed a vision of equality between man and woman, who they have rights and duties in the same way without partiality. Jews had more wives (but it was not possible for women to have more husbands), this was their permission from the Old Testament, but Jesus also abolished this custom. Jesus did not allow more nor polygamy, or divorce to men, and he took them to the same situation of women. Both the man and the woman should have the same rights and responsibilities in relationship to each other (Mc.10:2; Mt. 19:3). This attitude of Jesus was one of the few that has been fully assimilated by the Christian Church, no doubt in part because it has been strengthened by sociological and historical conditions. however, the concept of equal rights and responsibilities was not very extended beyond the Christian marriage. The role of women has always been home and Church, with a very poor role in the latter.

The intellectual life for women

Jesus with Mary and Martha
Jesus with Mary and Martha

however, Jesus thought to the role of women in such narrow terms, He did not think should only take care of the house. Jesus directly rejected the stereotype that the place of the woman was the house, during the visit to the home of Marta e Maria (Lc. 10:38). Marta had the typical woman's role, ("But Marta, all taken from the household chores "Lc. 10:40). Maria had the typical male role ("Martha had a sister called Mary, which, also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word. "Luke. 10:39). Marta, apparently, Maria thought that "was out of its place" having chosen the role intellectual, but Jesus' answer was a refusal to force all women to that stereotype; He treated Mary as a person, whose highest faculties are intellect and spirit, and she showed that she was allowed to sit there and listen, that was the most important thing (Jesus said: "Mary has chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away" (Luca 10:42).

It's still, if you remember the restrictions on Palestinian women through scripture study and teaching of the rabbis, it is hard to imagine how Jesus can be more clear in its insistence that women were called to the spiritual and intellectual life just as men.
There is at least one more example recounted in the Gospels, When Jesus delivered much the same message (Lc 11:27). One day, during the preaching of Jesus, a woman from the crowd and apparently deeply affected , perhaps imagining how she would be happy to have Jesus as the son ada, He raised his voice to make a compliment to Jesus through his mother: "Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts at which You nursed!». But the compliment that she does is quite an understatement on the figure of the spiritual and intellectual woman, as it was typical at the time to refer to women as "breeders of children" and therefore their uterus and breasts were always a reference, as of vital importance for the reproduction (Unfortunately, even today, in Western society, It continues to be an object of desire). But Jesus answered: "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and put it into practice!»

Reflecting on this, it is hard to imagine how the main point would be something substantially different from that exposed. Jesus wanted to replace the spiritual and intellectual importance of a woman instead of the material. And his message is obviously universal, but he could have chosen a man for this example, Instead he chose a woman as a message.

God in the shoes of a woman

In many ways, Jesus wants to communicate to the equal dignity of women. This one's the effort we, Also in his parable of the woman who found the drama (Lc. 15:8). Here Jesus casts God in the image of the woman. Luke tells us that the despised tax collector and sinners were gathered around Jesus and, Consequently, the Pharisees and scribes complained. Jesus, therefore, He tells three parables in a row, which he depicts God deeply concerned about what was lost. The first parable is that of the lost sheep (Luca 15:1-7) where the shepherd left the ninety-nine sheep to find the lost (God is the shepherd). The second parable is that the lost coin in which a woman has lost a coin (the woman is God). The third is that of the prodigal (Father is God). Jesus obviously not want to reduce God to the female notion. In reality, Jesus seems to have wanted to include this female image deliberately, in front of all the scribes and Pharisees, that among those who, most of all, denigrated women.
There have been some cases of Christian history, when the Holy Spirit has been associated with a female character, for example, Caption in the Syrian in which, talking about various offices in the Church, he claims: “However, the deaconess should be honored by you as the type of the Holy Spirit”. It would be interesting to do a study to see if these images of God, presented here by Luke have been increasingly used in a Trinitarian way, thereby giving the Holy Spirit a female type.

A negative result of the investigation would be significant that positive, in favor of this step it seems to be particularly suitable for the Trinitarian interpretation: the prodigal son, the father is God the Father (This interpretation was actually very common in Christian history). Since Jesus is identified, as elsewhere, the Good Shepherd, the shepherd who goes after the lost sheep Jesus, son (this standard interpretation is reflected, among other things, in the figure portrays him carrying the lost sheep on his shoulders). The woman who goes in search of the lost coin should logically be metaphorically the Holy Spirit. This interpretation has always existed but has never been considered. And this loss of logic can be definitely attributed to the general culture of denigration of women and the repudiation of the pagan goddesses, although the rejection by the Christians of the pagan gods did not result in the denial of a descent of God to men.


From this evidence it should be clear and obvious that Jesus defended vigorously and radically women and promoting their equal dignity and equality in a male-dominated society as was that of his time.

You may also like
Leave a reply

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read more