Monday, October 13, 2014

Women in the New Testament

Many inside and outside of the Church believe that women had and have a minimal role within the Church. This is an idea not accepted by everyone. However, we do recognise a rise of feminist theology or the theology of women within the Church. Their role is being understood and questions are being asked. Should we have, for example, women priests? Should we re-establish the deaconesses as a renewed reality? Elisabeth Behr-Sigel, in her book The Ministry of Women in the Church, writes, briefly, about women in the New Testament. There she claims:

‘Women had profound personal relationships with Jesus of Nazareth: Martha and Mary, Lazarus’ sisters, the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well, with whom the Lord had a “theological” conversation, Mary of Magdala of the “Easter garden” story. Jesus allowed women to touch him, in both the physical and spiritual meaning of the world. He was not afraid of being in contact with them even when one was a prostitute. He had compassion for their suffering. . . His disciples were surprised by this attitude which contrasted so sharply with rabbinical principles (Jn 4:27 and Lk 7:39). Such an attitude indicated a spiritual direction: any notion of women’s ritual impurity is for ever abolished.’[1]    

[1] Behr-Sigel, Elisabeth, The Ministry of Women in the Church, (California, Oakwood Publications, 1991), pp. 114-115. 

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