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Women in Mathew’s gospel

How gender inclusive is the gospel of Mathew?

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

I heard a comment from a friend that Luke’s gospel was written from women’s perspective and Mathew from men’s. I was not happy with both parts of the comment, especially with the second part. So it incited some interest in me to check the role of woman in the gospel of Mathew. I do a fast review here, not going to the minute exegetical details. In the end, I don’t make a claim that Mathew’s gospel is a feminist gospel.

I start with the most accepted theory of the synoptic gospel formation, which says that Mark’s gospel is the first written gospel. Mathew and Luke used Mark’s gospel as one of their source material. They had a common source, which is normally called the Q. Mathew (denoted by M) and Luke (denoted by L) had their own separate sources. This theory is called the 3 source theory. Some strangely call it 4 source theory too.

Image by Felix SJ

There are several passages that are common to the gospels of Mark, Mathew, and Luke. I am interested in some of these passages that are seen in Mathew and/or Luke, for which Mark may be a possible source. We only look at instances where women are explicitly mentioned.

Prepared by the author — fig 1

This was probably the most strange finding for me. Both have not written anything which is really denigrating to woman, but Mathew appears more inclusive than Luke in these common passages. The next image shows why Luke is called by some as a woman’s gospel. There is nothing much-contested here.

Prepared by the author — figure 2

Have I made any grand discoveries? I don’t think so. But the claims that one of them is written from women’s perspective and the other from men’s perspective is faulty and needs to be qualified. Two possible comments that could be made are,

  1. From figure 1, Mathew shows greater gender inclusivity than Luke when it comes to many of their common passages.
  2. From figure 2, the separate source of Luke (denoted by L in the first image) has a high degree of gender inclusivity, which may be responsible for calling Luke’s gospel as ‘Woman’s gospel’
Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Women in Mathew’s gospel was originally published in ILLUMINATION on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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