Gospel of Mark Women and Femininity Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Chapter:Verse)
Now Simon's mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told him about her at once. He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up. Then the fever left her, and she began to serve them. (NRSV 1:30-31)
But Simon's wife's mother lay sick of a fever, and anon they tell him of her. And he came and took her by the hand, and lifted her up; and immediately the fever left her, and she ministered unto them. (KJV 1:30-31)
We're supposed to understand that Simon (a.k.a. Peter) was married, right? Paul seems to think so, too (check out 1 Corinthian 9:5; note that Paul calls Simon-Peter "Cephas"). The detail that his mother-in-law "serves" Jesus proves just how healthy she is—that makes Jesus quite a wonderworker. But it also reveals something about ancient attitudes toward women for us moderns who are so removed from it.
Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years. She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. (NRSV 5:25-26)
And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years, And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse […]. (KJV 5:25-26)
Want to get a better sense of the marginalization this kind of woman may have experienced because of her "issue of blood"? Go read Leviticus 15:19-31, where she and everything she touches is deemed unclean. Yikes. Despite what amounts to a serious case of cooties, this woman is healed when she touches Jesus, who then applauds her faith.
And Herodias had a grudge against him, and wanted to kill him. But she could not, for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he protected him. When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed; and yet he liked to listen to him. (NRSV 6:19-20)
Therefore Herodias had a quarrel against him, and would have killed him; but she could not: For Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and an holy, and observed him; and when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly. (KJV 6:19-20)
Herodias wants John's head—literally. How does this woman, who is portrayed as vindictive and kind of ruthless, accomplish her goal in what is supposed to be a man-powered world?