– comments and stories in creative form
The witnesses were inadmissible:
Gossips; pedlars of idle tales;
Adam's deceivers ever since the Fall;
The first found weighed and wanting in the scales.
It's true they'd been around, had followed close
Upon the wept-wet heels that later bled;
They'd even put up funds and played at hosts,
At students, too, and filled each little head.
But his appearing to them? — deeming they
Should greet the new dawn first, and first be sent!
And yet, this was — had always been — his way.
The case submits it was no accident
That, at the crux where all things re-began,
Believing women brought good news to man.
That the gospels depict some of Jesus’ women followers as being the first to discover the empty tomb and to be met by him after his resurrection (Matthew 28:1-10) is often cited as a ‘criterion of embarrassment’ argument for the truth of those accounts. The testimony of women in first century Judaism was considered unreliable – ineligible (sources suggest) as evidence in a court of law. So (say the apologists) if the gospel stories were inventions, the writers would never have chosen women as the first witnesses to Jesus’ risen life. And then the skeptics come up with all sorts of counterexamples and/or objections to the criterion itself as a form of reasoning and away we go, circling the usual debates. Meanwhile, the life-giving and status-quo-challenging heart of the women’s story gets overlooked: women have been, and still are, widely and repeatedly disregarded and dismissed … but not by Jesus. He loved, befriended, forgave, healed, taught, heard, validated and received from women throughout his earthly ministry. And that he first appeared to some of them, alive once more, and sent them as the first bearers of the news to the other disciples, seems a beautiful and natural continuation of that same affirmation and an indication to the world that it would do well to hear what women have to say.
Carolyn Whitnall lives in Bristol with her husband Ben and they try to follow Jesus. When she isn't researching 'something to do with computers, sort of', she enjoys learning and writing about lots of other stuff. She has a website (http://critic-cal.blogspot.co.uk) and is in the process of fathoming Twitter (@MrsWhitnall)