Gospel of Luke
Gospel of Luke Women and Femininity Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day. At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. (NRSV 2:36-38)
And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day. And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem. (KJV 2:36-38)
Already in the second chapter, Anna raises readers' expectations for an interesting treatment of women in the story. Evidently, they can be prophets, highly devout, and even public speakers. And get this—people listen to them.
After leaving the synagogue he entered Simon's house. Now Simon's mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked him about her. Then he stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. Immediately she got up and began to serve them. (NRSV 4:38-39)
And he arose out of the synagogue, and entered into Simon's house. And Simon's wife's mother was taken with a great fever; and they besought him for her. And he stood over her, and rebuked the fever; and it left her: and immediately she arose and ministered unto them. (KJV 4:38-39)
Jesus heals Simon's mom-in-law, and then… she resumes her womanly duties. Ta da! Luke definitely isn't above confirming cultural gender assumptions. He is, however, above using words like "confirming cultural gender assumptions."
And a woman in the city, who was a sinner, having learned that he was eating in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster jar of ointment. She stood behind him at his feet, weeping, and began to bathe his feet with her tears and to dry them with her hair. Then she continued kissing his feet and anointing them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw it, he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what kind of woman this is who is touching him—that she is a sinner." […] Then he said to her, "Your sins are forgiven." (NRSV 7:37-39, 48)
And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw it, he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what kind of woman this is who is touching him—that she is a sinner." Then he said to her, "Your sins are forgiven." (KJV 7:37-39, 48)
Whatever else makes this woman a "sinner" (7:37, 39), practically making out with Jesus's feet certainly does not help her case. These actions would have been recognized as inappropriate behavior for women across the board. Both Luke and Jesus actually agree with the Pharisee that she is a sinner (7:37, 47), but Jesus reads her creepy caressing as evidence of her love for and gratefulness to him for forgiving her many sins. But where does this leave us with regard to the concept of the feminine?