I am not opposed in any way to Jesus, as a matter of fact, I consider myself one of his most ardent followers. I am questioning the documentation of his first Apostles, not because I doubt their sincerity, but let’s face it, they did not write the Gospels. The Gospels were written 50-60 years after Jesus’ death and there were many Gospels that were followed during that time that did not make it to the canonical Bible.
What were the differences? Some were Gnostic and the only remaining Gnostic Gospels we have were from the Nag Hammadi collection. There is dispute about the relevance of these Gospels compared to the canonical, but isn’t it possible that they give an unadulterated glimpse into beliefs of the time? I believe they do and we have to at least consider that victors record history in the manner they want events remembered.
Which brings us to my point, sadly if we look at cultural norms during the time of Christ we see women severely marginalized. They were considered chattel with very few rights in a Jewish society and first Century Rome was also firmly committed to patriarchy and the subordination of women. This is the lens we must use to view the writings of the early church authors. Whether Jew or Roman, their cultural inclinations were strongly reflected in their writings.
Jesus treated women with respect and elevated the role of women – when he was alive. He was the first feminist, he spoke to the woman at the well, he spoke to Mary and Martha and educated them, he valued Mary Magdalene’s opinion more than the other apostles. He led by example, but once he died the men of the society could not or would not continue those teachings. They couldn’t give up their power.
2017 years later, they still can not. the Catholic Church, Orthodox Judaism, Islam remain as relics holding firm to the false teachings about women because they won’t relinquish perceived power.
If the world is going to change, the role of women must be recognized and valued. There is no balance without a balance of the male and female energies in the world. We must build a calmer, peace driven world by stepping up as women of the world.