Jul 28, 2012

Women in Acts

The frequency and significance of women in Luke–Acts is generally recognized by interpreters. It is often suggested that this prominence of women is part of Luke’s overall strategy of inclusion of the marginalized. This is probably correct, but is interesting that while many women are named, there are also a number of women who are unnamed as can be seen in these two lists.
Named women: Mary mother of Jesus (1:14), Sapphira (6:1), Tabitha/Dorcas (9:36), Rhoda (12:13), Mary the mother of John Mark (12:12, 25), Lydia (16:14), Damaris (17:34), Priscilla (18:2, 18, 26), Diana? (19:24, 27-28, 34-35), Drusilla (24:24), Bernice (25:13, 23; 26:30).
Unnamed women: Paul’s sister (23:16), Pharaoh's daughter (7:21), Timothy’s mother (16:1), demon-possessed slave girl (16:16), Phillip’s daughters (21:9).
I am not sure what the ultimate significance (if any) of this is, but I did find it intriguing.


Richard Fellows said...

Could you expand on your comments that "this prominence of women is part of Luke’s overall strategy of inclusion of the marginalized"? What exactly do you mean by that? Are you saying that women were not as prominent in the church as Luke implies? Do you think that the undisputed letters of Paul give a different picture?

Charles Savelle said...

Hi Richard,

What I mean is that Luke tends to give voice to those who might not have had much of a voice in the first century such as women. For example, many have noted that women play a larger role in the Gospel of Luke in comparison to the other Synoptics. I am not really contrasting Luke-Acts with Paul. Does that help?

Richard Fellows said...

OK. I see.