Overview of documents on this site

Introduction 1.

Four rules for interpreting Scripture correctly

  1. The literal sense.

  2. Literary form.

  3. Intended scope.

  4. Rationalizations

We must know what the human author wanted to say before we can come to any conclusions as to what God is telling us.

In many texts we have to discern the teaching by analysing the literary form the scriptural author is using.

We may not ascribe statements or assertions to a biblical author which lie outside his intended scope.

We have to distinguish substantial statements by the author from rationalizations and popular reasonings in which he expresses his own human opinions.


Introduction 2.

The Formation of the Synoptic Gospels

To understand the Gospels correctly we need to know the way in which the Gospels came about:

from Jesus’ teaching,
through oral catechesis
and written records
to the composition of the Gospels of Matthew,

In the following sections we are looking at the roles of women in Scripture and the early Church applying the principles detailed above.

Women in Old Testament times overview

1000 BC – 30 AD

Men dominated
in society and religion

Male domination:

Read also:

Regarding rabbinical teaching on women:

Jesus Christ and women

28 – 30 AD

Jesus did not tackle male dominance directly.
But he established a new priesthood that includes a radical openness to women.

Women were present at the Last Supper

Read: Jesus from an Ecofeminist Perspective, by Ivonne Gebara.

Jesus Christ:

On the Last Supper:


On appointing only men among the twelve apostles:

Women in the Early Apostolic Church

30 – 80 AD

Paul endorsed the fundamental equality in Christ of women and men.

Women took part in the Church’s apostolate.

Paul asked women to wear a veil in the assembly to forestall cultural clashes.


On Specific Pauline texts:

Women among the disciples of the Apostles

80 AD – 120 AD

In a reaction against Gnostics, some local Church leaders forbid women to speak in the assemblies.

Read on women in the Early Christian Church:

On Ephesians ‘Bride and Bridegroom’

On Luke:

On John:

On Hebrews: