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The Women in the Gospel of Luke - Essay Example

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The Gospel of Luke is the third of what is called the synoptic gospels of the New Testament. The synoptic gospels chronicle the life of Jesus historically, and this is the perspective of the gospels of Luke, Mark and Matthew. The common elements in all three gospels are numerous enough to make it reasonable to presume that the sources of information were common as well"…
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The Women in the Gospel of Luke
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Download file to see previous pages The Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles are actually two halves of one work written by one author, separated in the New Testament for purpose of orderliness. The first half, the Gospel of Luke deals with the story of Jesus up to the resurrection, most probably based on the eye-witness accounts of Mark. The second half, the Act of the Apostles, provides a historical account of church history up to the time of the apostle Paul's journey to Jerusalem. 2 There are many themes to be found in the gospel of Luke. Among them is what is termed "The Gospel of Women" in which Luke shows the importance of women in the story of Jesus which is peculiar to this gospel. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the attitude of Jesus attributed in the Gospel of Luke towards women and whether this was a reflection of the change in attitude towards women as a result of the teachings of Jesus.
Women during the time of Jesus lived extremely restricted lives, in accordance with Jewish law and custom. They were little better than slaves, having little or no freedom and were completely subject to the authority of their men folk, first their fathers and later on their husbands. They were prohibited from talking to strangers or to go out in public unless they were double-veiled. They were not allowed to learn Hebrew scripture nor where they allowed to testify in court trials. Their husbands could divorce them at will but this option was not allowed them. 3
In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus was portrayed as the savior of all men, not only Jews, as he illustrates in the parable of the Good Samaritan. He shows Jesus as openly accepting of gentiles, whom orthodox Jews considered unclean, praising even a Roman centurion for unflinching faith. Luke further shows Jesus befriending the poor, tax collectors, outcasts and sinners.4 In other words, Luke portrayed Jesus as a man who treated all equally, giving special emphasis to marginalized groups, which in Israel at the time women were particularly marginalized in their community. In more ways than one, Jesus advocated the overthrowing of numerous Jewish traditions and customs, and Luke exemplifies more than the other gospels the radical (at the time) idea that women were equal to men in the eyes of Jesus. The following section will discuss in detail the passages in the Gospel according to Luke which illustrates this attitude.
Passages pertaining to women in the Gospel of Luke
Hebrew laws forbid the teaching of women in worship, yet Luke (10:38-42) tells the tale of sisters Mary and Martha, whom welcomed Jesus into their house, and Mary sat at the feet of Jesus to hear his teachings. When Martha reprimanded Mary for neglecting her womanly duties, Jesus takes Mary's part and allows her to stay. 5 This is an unusual situation at that time, when Jesus not only allowed, but encouraged Mary to learn his teachings and thus become a disciple. Moreover, Mary's forthrightness in seeking to learn was not how Jewish women were taught to behave, knowing only enough of the Torah to find their place in the community. This explains Martha's distress at what Mary did, but Jesus rebuked her and praised Mary. However, Mary was not the only one to be ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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