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Sophie
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2007/05/14 18:20:00 (permalink)

The Women Apostles, The Women Disciples

Dear friends,

One of the arguments Rome makes to prohibit women priests is that only men were apostles. Rome says that Jesus didn't choose any women as apostles. Because of the historical neglect of teachings about Christian women, many Catholics accept this argument at face value: there were only 12 apostles and they were only male. It was therefore Jesus's intention that we have only male priests.

What is an apostle? Is there a difference between an apostle and a disciple? Scripture tells us about 12 men apostles? Were there any others? Were women also apostles? The Eastern Church refers to Mary as an apostle? How can that be? What does that mean?

Do we accept the view that there were only men apostles? If there were women apostles, why haven't we heard about them? If there were women apostles, who were they? Let's explore!

With love and blessings,
~Sophie~
post edited by Sophie - 2007/07/03 23:27:06

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    Sophie
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    RE: The Women Apostles, the Women Disciples 2007/05/14 18:26:54 (permalink)
    Dear friends,
     
    What is an apostle?  Carol Ann Morrow of americancatholic.org sorts it out in the following way when she writes about the apostleship of Mary Magdalene:
     
    Apostle has multiple meanings and most of them apply to Mary Magdalene with ease. She is one sent on a mission. She is an authoritative person sent out to preach the Gospel. She is first to advocate an important belief. Or to put those in other terms, she points the way as disciple, partner and evangelist. Preceding all of that, of course, she is an eyewitness to the wonders of Jesus among us.

    • WITNESS: “If the women had not stood by and witnessed the death of Jesus on the cross, then followed his body, accompanied it to the tomb, returned on the first day of the week in the morning to anoint again and found the tomb empty, then announced to the disciples their experience of the risen Lord,” Elizabeth Johnson* suggests that “we wouldn’t know what happened! They [the women, with Mary Magdalene always in their number] are the thread of continuity through the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus.”
    • DISCIPLE: “Mary Magdalene is a founding mother of the Church,” says Johnson. “She ministered to Jesus during his own ministry, sharing things with him, and was one of his followers in Galilee. She was a faithful disciple during the last hours of his life.”
    • PARTNER: This more accurate assessment of Mary Magdalene’s role in the Easter mystery can support and strengthen women in the Church today. Professor Johnson feels that it can inspire everyone. “Those men who are desirous of partnership with women in the Church also find this a joyous rediscovery. Partnership is a different view of the beginning of our history as a Church, which then gives a different view of what our future could be as well.”
    • EVANGELIST: Elizabeth Johnson describes the Acts of the Apostles as Volume II of Luke’s work, telling the history of the early Church. It is Acts 1:14 that she cites: “All these devoted themselves with one accord to prayer, together with some women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.”

    What did they proclaim? Mary Magdalene was sent forth from the tomb with the message, “Jesus is risen.” Paul writes, “And if Christ has not been raised, then empty [too] is our preaching; empty, too, your faith” (1 Cor 15:14). That is the Gospel truth, first heard from the lips of a woman, a woman named Mary Magdalene. Throughout the Church year, it is Mary’s message that we are challenged to proclaim with as much boldness and integrity as she did.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    *Elizabeth Johnson, referred to in the text, is Dr. Elizabeth Johnson, CSJ. She earned her Ph.D. at the Catholic University of America and teaches at Fordham University.  Her  research interests: Systematic theology, feminist theology. Author, editor, teacher, and public lecturer in theology, her main areas of research focus on the theology of God, Jesus Christ, Mary and the communion of saints, science and religion, the problem of suffering, ecological ethics, and issues related to justice for women. A former president of the Catholic Theological Society of America, the oldest and largest association of theologians in the world, she is currently (2006) president-elect of the American Theological Society. She is also an active member of the American Academy of Religion and the College Theology Society, and serves on the editorial boards of the journals Theological Studies, Horizons: Journal of the College Theology Society, and Theoforum. She loves to teach and is most fond of receiving Fordham University’s Teaching Award (1998). Deeply involved in the life of the church, she is a religious sister in the Congregation of St. Joseph, Brentwood, NY. Her public service in the church includes being a theologian on the national Lutheran-Catholic Dialogue; a consultant to the Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Women in Church and Society; a theologian on the Vatican-sponsored dialogue between science and religion, and on the Vatican-sponsored study of Christ and the world religions; and a core committee member of the Common Ground Initiative started by Cardinal Joseph Bernardin to reconcile polarized groups in the church.
    Sophie
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    RE: The Women Apostles, the Women Disciples 2007/05/14 18:35:21 (permalink)
    Dear friends,

    At the word 'apostle,' many quite naturally think of 'the Twelve' -- the twelve men we've traditionally been taught about. Yet sacred scripture tells us there were other apostles.
    • Though St. Paul was not one of the Twelve, he refers to himself as an Apostle.
    • When St. Paul tells us about his friends Junia --a woman-- and Andronicus, he describes them as 'outstanding' apostles.
    • Though many in the Western Church do not know, the Eastern Catholic Church has since the beginning of Christianity faithfully revered many women as apostles.  Mary Magdalene, the Apostle to the Apostles, is just one of them.  

    What is an apostle? What was the function of an apostle? How did one become an apostle? Who were the apostles? Were there women among them?  In her article The Other Apostles, Barbara Reid, OP* answers these questions.  Get out your Bible! She provides many scriptural references. As Reid points out, when we try to name the apostles it is a much bigger challenge than simply trying to memorize a list of the Twelve!

    Please enjoy! Much more to follow!

    With love and blessings,
    ~Sophie~

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    The Other Apostles
    Barbara Reid, O.P.

    Can you name the apostles? If you are old enough to remember memorizing the list of apostles from the Baltimore Catechism, you would probably begin with Peter, Andrew, James and John and work your way through the list of the Twelve. The Synoptic Gospels each give a list of twelve apostles (Mark 3:13-19; Matthew 10:1-4; Luke 6:13-16) as does Acts 1:13-14.  Each list varies slightly. This is, however, only a part of the picture of the apostolic ministry in the early Church. The noun 'apostle' (apostolos) derives from the Greek verb apostello.  It means 'to send.'  Accordingly, an apostle is 'one sent'  as an envoy or a missionary. The word did not originate with Christians.  It is found in secular Greek literature where it refers to a bearer of a message (e.g., Herodotus 1.21; Plato, Ep. 7.346a).  The verb is also found in the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures) at Ezra 7:14 and Daniel 5:24. In the early third century Origen defined the term this way: Everyone who is sent by someone is an apostle of the one who sent them (Jo 32:17). In the New Testament, the purpose for the sending is to carry on the mission of Jesus.

    The Synoptic Gospels In the New Testament there are differing understandings of how one gets to be an apostle. In the Synoptics, there are twelve men called by Jesus 'to be with him' and sent 'to preach and to have authority to drive out demons' (Mark 3:15; similarly Matthew 10:1-2; Luke 6:13; 9:1-2).  Yet these functions are not exclusive to the Twelve. In Mark's Gospel there are many others in addition to the Twelve who follow Jesus, including Bartimaeus (10:52) and crowds (2:15; 3:7; 5:24; 8:34; 11:9). Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome followed both in Galilee and all the way to Jesus' crucifixion in Jerusalem (15:40-41). And another exorcist who is not one of the Twelve is able to drive out demons, though this does not sit well with Jesus' followers (Mark 9:38-41).

    As for proclaiming the Good News, the Twelve are not the only followers who are commissioned by Jesus to do so. When the man who had been healed of a legion of demons wanted to stay with Jesus, he sent him instead, saying, 'Go home to your family and announce to them all that the Lord in his pity has done for you.' The man then went off 'and began to proclaim (keryssein) in the Decapolis what Jesus had done for him; and all were amazed' (Mark 5:19-20).  Similarly, the man who had been healed of leprosy (1:45) and the one healed of deafness and a speech impediment (7:36) proclaimed (keryssein) what Jesus had done, though in these latter instances, they were not sent by Jesus to do so.

    In the closing scene of Mark's Gospel, the heavenly messenger clothed in white commissions Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James, and Salome to "go and tell [Jesus'] disciples and Peter, 'He is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him, as he told you'" (16:7). This Gospel ends, however, with the women saying nothing to anyone because of fear. In this way Mark leaves the story open-ended, inviting his readers to take up the commission to go forth and proclaim. In the Gospel of Matthew the women are commissioned both by the angel at the tomb (28:7) and directly by the risen Christ (28:10) to tell the other disciples. That they do fulfill this directive is implied by 28:8, where they run to tell the disciples, and 28:16, where the eleven go to Galilee as they were directed. Luke relates that the women 'told all this to the eleven and to the rest' (24:9-10) but they were not believed (24:11).

    The Gospel of John  In the Fourth Gospel, the word apostle never appears. Likewise, the Twelve do not play the role that they have in the Synoptic tradition. There is no story of the call of the Twelve (although there is an allusion to it in 6:70), nor of their being sent out on mission. The Twelve only appear in the scene after the feeding of the 5,000, where Jesus asks them if they also want to go away (6:67). In this same episode Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, is identified as one of the Twelve, as is Thomas the doubter in the postresurrection appearance of Jesus to the disciples (20:24). These few allusions to the Twelve appear to be traces that have remained from the evangelist's source, since the Twelve do not have a distinct function in the Fourth Gospel.

    The characters who best exemplify apostleship in the Gospel of John are the Samaritan woman (4:4-42) and Mary Magdalene (20:1-2, 11-18). The woman who Jesus meets at the well engages in theological discussion with him as she comes to deeper and deeper understanding of who he is. She moves from identification of him simply as a Jew (4:9) to the possibility that he is 'greater than our father Jacob' (4:12), a 'prophet' (4:19), 'Messiah' (4:25, 29), and finally, 'savior of the world' (4:42). Just as the fishermen in the Synoptic Gospels leave behind their nets to follow Jesus and to be sent as apostles, so the Samaritan woman leaves her water jar at the well and goes to testify about him to all her townspeople (4:28). Just as the Twelve experience initial success in their mission (e.g., Mark 6:30-33) and cause people to come to Jesus, so does the Samaritan woman (4:39-42).  The account of the empty tomb in the Gospel of John is distinctive in the way it portrays Mary Magdalene as apostle to the apostles. In this Gospel, it is not the heavenly messengers who send her to proclaim to the others.  Jesus himself appears to her and commissions her when he says, "Go to my brothers and sisters and say to them, 'I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.' " (20:17). The episode concludes with Mary going and saying to the disciples, 'I have seen the Lord' and telling them the things he had said to her (20:18).   

    Acts and Paul  Although Luke relays the tradition that Jesus sent a further seventy[-two] on mission (Luke 10:1-12), he generally equates the Twelve with 'apostles' (Luke 6:13). In Acts 1:15-26, he tells how the Twelve were reconstituted after the death of Judas. Luke's criterion for Judas' replacement is that he be a male (aner) member of the company of believers who has been an eyewitness from the beginning (1:21-22). Paul, however, clearly has a different understanding of qualifications for apostolic ministry. Interestingly, after James is killed by Herod(Acts 12:1) no replacement is chosen for him. The Twelve disappear from the story after Acts 6:2.  And Peter fades from view as spokesperson after 15:7 when James takes over as the leader of the community in Jerusalem, along with the apostles and elders (15:2, 4, 6, 22, 23; 16:4).

    In the letters of Paul, there is mention of a number of apostles who are not on the list of the Twelve. The most obvious is Paul himself who begins most of his letters with a reminder of his apostolic credentials, 'Paul, . . . called to be an apostle' (Rom 1:1; similarly 1 Cor 1:1; 2 Cor 1:1; Gal 1:1; Eph 1:1; Col 1:1; 1 Tim 1:1; 2 Tim 1:1; Tit). In 1 Cor 9:1-27, where Paul is defending his apostleship, he asserts that his experience of the risen Christ and his commission to proclaim the gospel (which can be inferred from the fact that the Corinthians have, indeed, been brought to faith by his preaching) are evidence of his call to be an apostle. In his second letter to that community, when his authority is being challenged by others whom Paul asserts are 'false apostles' (2 Cor 11:13), he reminds the Corinthians that his authority has been confirmed by the 'signs and wonders and mighty works' of a true apostle that were performed among them (2 Cor 12:12). In his letter to the Galatians Paul is particularly insistent that his apostolic commission came directly from Jesus Christ and God the Father (Gal 1:1). Paul understands his particular mission to be apostle to the Gentiles (Rom 11:13; Gal 2:8). He recognizes his unworthiness to be an apostle because of having persecuted the church, but claims the grace of God to be the hard-working apostle he is (1 Cor 15:9-10).

    In the same context as this last reference to his unworthiness to be an apostle, Paul lists also Cephas (the Aramaic name for Peter) and the Twelve as apostles (1 Cor 15:5), but mentions as well 'James and all the apostles' and the 'more than five hundred brothers and sisters' to whom the risen Christ appeared (1 Cor 15:6-7). He also mentions 'James the brother of the Lord' in Gal 1:19.  Other apostles to whom Paul refers include Apollos (1 Cor 4:9), Barnabas (1 Cor 9:5-6; so also mentioned in Acts 14:4, 14), Epaphroditus (Phil 2:25, note that some translations render apostolos here as 'messenger'), Silvanus and Timothy (1 Thessalonians 2:7 with 1:1), and Andronicus and Junia, who were 'prominent among the apostles' (Romans 16:7). It is notable that Junia was a woman. Unfortunately we know nothing more of these two 'prominent' apostles who were relatives of Paul.

    Early Christian Tradition In the early Church and into the Middle Ages, Christian tradition preserved the memory of other apostles along with the Twelve. In commentaries on Scripture, liturgical works, novels and literature about the saints, figures such as Thecla, Nino, the Samaritan woman and Mary Magdalene are spoken of approvingly as apostles.  Origen (185-ca.251), for example, spoke of the Samaritan woman as an apostle and evangelist: 'Christ sends the woman as an apostle to the inhabitants of the city because his words have inflamed this woman' (Comm. S. Jean 4, 26-27). Such an estimation of her as apostolos as well as 'anointed with priesthood' is found in the writings of Theophylact (ca. 1050-1108), the archbishop of Bulgaria (Joh. 4, 28ff [MPG 123, 1241D]). Hippolytus of Rome, who died ca. 235, interprets the empty tomb tradition 'so that women, too, would be Christ's apostles' (Kommentar zum Hohenlied XV 3,1-4 (GCS 1, 350-55).

    In the Acts of Thecla, written in Asia Minor in the late second century, Thecla is depicted as an apostle accompanying Paul in his missionary work. A fifth-century work entitled Acts of the Holy Apostle and Witness of Christ, Thecla attests to the ongoing popularity of the cult of the apostle Thecla. Several works preserve the traditions about Nino, a woman apostle who received her theological education from a woman teacher in Jerusalem and then was given a cross and commissioned with a blessing by Juvenal of Jerusalem to proclaim the resurrection wherever she may go. Her missionary travels took her to Georgia where she preached the gospel as a prisoner of war during the reign of Constantine. Numerous legends and artwork dating into the Middle Ages elaborate on the tradition of Mary Magdalene as apostle to the apostles. In southern France, for example, legends arose about the missionary work there of both Mary Magdalene and Martha, who are said to preach, convert and baptize. Stained-glass windows of the late 13th century in the cathedral at Semur in Burgundy preserved images of these two women preaching.

    Fluid Roles  What is clear from the New Testament evidence and the ongoing Christian tradition is that the definition of 'apostle' was not uniform in the first communities of believers.  While the Gospels narrate the call and sending of Twelve, the picture from Paul's letters is of a whole contingent of apostles sent out to preach and evangelize. There are not yet fixed 'job descriptions' for ministers in the early Church. Some, like apostles, are sent away from home to proclaim to others. Others, like the healed man in Mark 5:20, and hosts of house churches, such as Mary (Acts 12:12), Nympha (Col 4:14), and Lydia (Acts 16:40), are to remain at home and announce God's goodness there. When we try to name the apostles, it is a much bigger challenge than trying to memorize the list of the Twelve. There were also Andronicus, Junia, Barnabas, Apollos, Epaphroditus, Paul, James the brother of the Lord, Silvanus, Timothy, Mary Magdalene, the Samaritan woman, Thecla, Nino and countless others whose names are now lost to us.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    *Barbara E. Reid, O.P., holds a Doctorate in Biblical Studies from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. She is Professor of New Testament at Catholic Theological Union,Chicago. She is the author of Parables for Preachers (Liturgical Press, 1999; 2000; 2001), A Retreat With Luke and is New Testament Book Review Editor for the Catholic Biblical Quarterly. She has led a number of CTU's Israel Study Programs and Retreats.
    post edited by Sophie - 2007/05/15 06:08:10
    Sophie
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    RE: The Women Apostles, the Women Disciples 2007/05/16 05:52:12 (permalink)
    Dear friends,

    In the last day or two, a friend of Circles posed the following question about the Apostle Matthias:




    Hi Sophie,

    Today May 14th is the feast day of Saint Matthias. He was selected to replace Judas (the traitor). At Mass this morning the priest said that the criteria for selecting a replacement for Judas was that it must be a man and he must have known Jesus before the crucifixion. He then said this is why the church says only men may be priests.

    What do we know about Matthias?


    During a short chat I enjoyed with Dr. Wijngaards earlier today, he shared some aspects about apostleship and women which I think fit nicely into both:
    • a reply about Matthias and the comments of our friend's priest.
    • our consideration of women apostles and women priests

    I will answer our friend's question about Matthias in the following couple of posts.  

    with love and blessings,
    ~Sophie~
    Sophie
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    RE: The Women Apostles, the Women Disciples 2007/05/16 05:55:09 (permalink)
    Dear friend,

    I did a bit of looking around for some basic information about Matthias.  Here is a sample of what I found:

    Matthias the Apostle 

    Born: unk
    Died: 80 AD
    Canonized:
    Feast Day: May 14
    Patron Saint of: alcoholism, carpenters
    The Greek Matthias (or, in some manuscripts, Maththias), is a name derived from Mattathias, Heb. Mattithiah, signifying "gift of Yahweh."


    According to the Book of Acts (Acts 1:15-26), in the days following Jesus' Ascension, Peter proposed to the assembled brethren, who numbered 120, that they choose one among them to fill the place of the traitor Judas in the Apostolate. Two disciples, Joseph Barsabas and Matthias were selected, and lots were drawn. The lot fell on Matthias, who thus became associated with the other eleven Apostles. Matthias was one of the 70 disciples of Jesus, and had been with Him from His baptism by John to the Ascension (Acts 1:21,22).
    [The biography above was extracted from The Catholic Encyclopedia]


    The following is from wikipedia:

     

    Though there is no mention of a Matthias among the lists of disciples in the three synoptic gospels, according to Acts 1, in the days following the Ascension of Jesus, Peter proposed to the assembled disciples, who numbered about one hundred and twenty, that they choose one to fill the place of the traitor Judas in the apostolate:


    23.So they proposed two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. 24.Then they prayed, "Lord, you know everyone's heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen 25.to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs." 26.Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles.

    Eduard Zeller declared this narrative inconsistent with the history of the Apostles' movements, in that the Apostles were in Galilee after the Crucifixion. The Acts of the Apostles clearly states (i.12) that they returned to Jerusalem.

    No further information about Matthias is to be found in the canonical New Testament. Even his name is variable: the Syriac version of Eusebius calls him throughout not Matthias but "Tolmai", i.e. Bartholomew, without confusing him with the Bartholomew who was originally one of the twelve Apostles; Matthias is often identified with the Nathanael mentioned in the Gospel of John; Clement of Alexandria says some identified him with Zacchaeus; the Clementine Recognitions identify him with Barnabas; Hilgenfeld thinks he is the same as Nathanael.

    According to
    Nicephorus (Historia eccl., 2, 40), Matthias first preached the Gospel in Judea, then in Ethiopia (made out to be a synonym for the geographically quite separate Colchis (now Caucasian Georgia) and was crucified in Colchis. A marker placed in the ruins of the Roman fortress at Gonio (Apsaros) in the modern Georgian region of Adjara claims that Matthias is buried at that site.

    The Synopsis of Dorotheus contains this tradition:



    Matthias in interiore Æthiopia, ubi Hyssus maris portus et Phasis fluvius est, hominibus barbaris et carnivoris praedicavit Evangelium. Mortuus est autem in Sebastopoli, ibique prope templum Solis sepultus. ("Matthias preached the Gospel to barbarians and meat-eaters in the interior of Ethiopia, where the sea harbor of Hyssus is, at the mouth of the river Phasis. He died at Sebastopolis, and was buried there, near the Temple of the Sun.")

    An extant Coptic Acts of Andrew and Matthias, places his activity similarly in "the city of the cannibals" in Ethiopia.

    Alternately, another tradition maintains that Matthias was stoned at Jerusalem by the Jews, and then beheaded (cf. Tillemont, Mémoires pour servir à l'histoire ecclesiastique des six premiers siècles, I, 406-7).

    According to Hippolytus of Rome, Matthias died of old age in Jerusalem. Clement of Alexandria observed (Stromateis vi.13.):



    Not that they became apostles through being chosen for some distinguished peculiarity of nature, since also Judas was chosen along with them. But they were capable of becoming apostles on being chosen by Him who foresees even ultimate issues. Matthias, accordingly, who was not chosen along with them, on showing himself worthy of becoming an apostle, is substituted for Judas.

    The lost Gospel of Matthias is attributed to Matthias.

    Saint Matthias is venerated with a feast day in the Roman Catholic Church traditionally on February 24, but moved to May 14 in the 1970 reform of the calendar. The vigil of his feast, normally commemorated on February 23, moved to its own day in leap year, February 24, the traditional leap day, with the feast one day later on February 25.

    In the Eastern Orthodox Church, his feast is celebrated on August 9. The Anglican Church celebrates Matthias on either May 14 or February 24. The Church of England's Book of Common Prayer  liturgy celebrates Matthias on February 24. According to the newer Common Worship liturgy he is celebrated on May 14 with a festival, although he may be celebrated on February 24 if desired.

    It is said that Helena, mother of Constantine the Great brought the relics of St Matthias to Rome, and that a portion of them was at Trier. The Bollandists (Acta Sanctorum, May, III) doubts whether the relics that are in Rome are not rather those of the St Matthias who was Bishop of Jerusalem about the year 120, and whose history would seem to have been confounded with that of the Apostle.
    Thanks for the question!  I learn more everyday!  I'll follow with some insights from Dr. Wijngaards.

    with love and blessings,
    ~Sophie~
    post edited by Sophie - 2007/05/16 06:31:54
    Sophie
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    RE: The Women Apostles, the Women Disciples 2007/05/16 07:05:13 (permalink)
    [Matthias] was selected to replace Judas (the traitor). At Mass this morning the priest said that the criteria for selecting a replacement for Judas was that it must be a man and he must have known Jesus before the crucifixion. He then said this is why the church says only men may be priests


    Dear friend,

    Your priest's commentary about Matthias ties in nicely with our discussion about women apostles and women priests. Rome suggests that priesthood is limited to men alone since only men were apostles.  Dr. Wijngaards and I had a short conversation about Matthias earlier today.  Dr. W. offered much food for thought.  I would like to share!

    Rome argues that only men can be priests because Jesus chose only men apostles.  The priest suggests that the choice of Matthias as a replacement Apostle supports Rome's point of view: masculinity was an essential quality that necessarily limited the range of choice to men.  The scripture about Matthias, Acts 1.15-26, reads:



    During those days Peter stood up in the midst of the brothers (there was a group of about one hundred and twenty persons in the one place). He said, "My brothers, the scripture had to be fulfilled which the holy Spirit spoke beforehand through the mouth of David, concerning Judas, who was the guide for those who arrested Jesus. He was numbered among us and was allotted a share in this ministry. He bought a parcel of land with the wages of his iniquity, and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle, and all his insides spilled out. This became known to everyone who lived in Jerusalem, so that the parcel of land was called in their language 'Akeldama,' that is, Field of Blood. For it is written in the Book of Psalms: 'Let his encampment become desolate, and may no one dwell in it.' And: 'May another take his office.' Therefore, it is necessary that one of the men who accompanied us the whole time the Lord Jesus came and went among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day on which he was taken up from us, become with us a witness to his resurrection." So they proposed two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also known as Justus, and Matthias. Then they prayed, "You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this apostolic ministry from which Judas turned away to go to his own place."  Then they gave lots to them, and the lot fell upon Matthias, and he was counted with the eleven apostles.


    It is  almost universally agreed that the author of Acts also wrote the Gospel of Luke.  Barbara Reid, OP shares the following insights (see above, Post 3):


    Although Luke relays the tradition that Jesus sent a further seventy[-two] on mission (Luke 10:1-12), he generally equates the Twelve with 'apostles' (Luke 6:13). In Acts 1:15-26, he tells how the Twelve were reconstituted after the death of Judas. Luke's criterion for Judas' replacement is that he be a male (aner) member of the company of believers who has been an eyewitness from the beginning (1:21-22). Paul, however, clearly has a different understanding of qualifications for apostolic ministry.

    Interestingly, after James is killed by Herod (Acts 12:1) no replacement is chosen for him. The Twelve disappear from the story after Acts 6:2.  And Peter fades from view as spokesperson after 15:7 when James takes over as  the leader of the community in Jerusalem, along with the apostles and elders (15:2, 4, 6, 22, 23; 16:4)... In the same context as this last reference to his unworthiness to be an apostle, Paul lists also Cephas (the Aramaic name for Peter) and the Twelve as apostles (1 Cor 15:5), but mentions as well 'James and all the apostles' and the 'more than five hundred brothers and sisters' to whom the risen Christ appeared (1 Cor 15:6-7). He also mentions 'James the brother of the Lord' in Gal 1:19.  Other apostles to whom Paul refers include Apollos (1 Cor 4:9), Barnabas (1 Cor 9:5-6; so also mentioned in Acts 14:4, 14), Epaphroditus (Phil 2:25, note that some translations render apostolos here as 'messenger'), Silvanus and Timothy (1 Thessalonians 2:7 with 1:1), and Andronicus and Junia, who were 'prominent among the apostles' (Romans 16:7). It is notable that Junia was a woman.


    Dr. Wijngaards' view is that Luke was much more open-minded about the possibility of women in the ministry than might be implied in the text above. In terms of learning more about Luke's general vision, Dr. Wijngaards recommends the following article A Vision of Things to Come in Luke's Gospel.  The following link will connect you: http://www.womenpriests.org/classic/wompr8.asp
    Dr. Wijngaards shares:


    In the particular text of Acts 1.21 ("Therefore, it is necessary that one of the men who accompanied us the whole time the Lord Jesus came and went among us,") Peter does not say the candidate has to be a man. He just says that he thinks the 'apostolic' function of being 'first witnesses' had to be fulfilled by someone who had been with the group from the beginning, who happened to be men. Literally: 'from among the men who have walked with us from the beginning'.

    He highly recommends an analysis by Reimund Bieringer The Scriptural Argument in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis.  The link to it is here: http://www.womenpriests.org/scriptur/biering.asp  In the context of scriptural arguments Rome makes to support  Ordinatio Sacerdotalis (Pope John Paul II's May 22, 1994 Apostolic Letter reserving priestly ordination to men alone) Beiringer examines:
    • the difference between the Twelve and the Apostles
    • the Masculinity of the Twelve
    • the Biological Difference
    • the Social Socio-Cultural Difference
    • the Theological Difference

    His conclusions:
    • The first argument was that Jesus "chose his apostles from only among men" (28). According to our exegetical analysis it is impossible at the hands of the New Testament to prove that it is historically certain that Jesus chose his apostles only from among men. The only thing that is historically established is that only men belonged to the group of the twelve. Although it is equally impossible from an historical point of view to prove that Jesus chose women to be apostles, this does not seem improbable in the light of Mt 28,10 and especially John 20, 17-18. Also the fact that women exercised important ministries in the Pauline communities (for instance the Deacon Phoebe in Romans 16, 1-2) gives evidence to that . The fact that only men took part in the group of the twelve is less important for the question of admission to ordination because it is exegetically beyond doubt that their pre- Easter mission was limited in time and space and that they shared their post-Easter mission with many other people who had been sent.
    • The second argument in the reasoning of Ordinatio Sacerdotalis says that Jesus chose "the twelve apostles" as men and that the fact that they belonged to the male sex was essential for this choice. In this connection we examined what motivations Jesus could have had to restrict the group of twelve or even the group of the apostles to men. We have established that the apostolic letter rejects socio-cultural arguments and presupposes an unspoken theological argumentation. According to this argumentation only men are able "in a very special way" to be related to the mission of the man Jesus. Implicitly one assumes, I think, that Jesus, according to the eternal plan of God, could only have become incarnate as a man and that only men can continue his mission. God, and not patriarchal structures, has arranged it in such a way that only a man could realise the work of salvation and that only men should be closely involved in this mission. But our analysis has shown that it is impossible on the basis of the texts quoted in the letter to prove that the male sex of those chosen was essential for their mission. It is similarly impossible to prove the implicit theological argumentation of Ordinatio Sacerdotalis regarding the constitutive importance of Jesus own male sexuality for his work of salvation and to prove this from scripture.

    In short, the priest's assessment that the choice of Matthias confirms that only men can be priests falls under the same sort of scrutiny as does Pope John Paul II's Ordinatio Sacerdotalis itself! I hope this helps. If you have any questions, please let me know!

    with love and blessings,
    ~Sophie~ 
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    RE: The Women Apostles, the Women Disciples 2007/05/16 13:20:21 (permalink)
      Women Apostles
     
     
       Mary Magdalene   Joanna     Mary of Bethany     Martha      Salome (at the  cross with Mary Mother of Jesus, Mary Magdalene)
     
        Susanna    Priscilla     Lydia (Acts 16:40)     Eudoia        Eunice     Lois  (Timothy 2, v. 5)     Samaritan woman (John 4)    
     
     
        Apphai (Philemon v. 2)        Syntyche (Philippians 3, v. 3)    
     
           --------  "Whose names are written in the Book of Life"---  Apostle Paul     So how come most of these names are missing from Catholic Lectionary, many Catholic Vatican Published books, pamphlets, catechism.?
     
          A great disservice is done to Jesus and God omitting the women who are apostles of our Lord Jesus.
    It sure is time to insist this patriarchial exclusion and misogyny be corrected and ended  and changed to an inclusive community of women, men and children who are all one in Christ.         from  Maria 
     
        
     
        
     
     
        
        
      
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    RE: The Women Apostles, the Women Disciples 2007/05/16 13:29:13 (permalink)
      Women Apostles  
     
        Thecla    Lydia    Junia      Martha    Mary Magdalene     Salome    Eudoia    Eunice     Lois    Samaritan woman     Apphai    Syntyche    Priscilla   Nympha   Mary of Bethany   Joanna   Susanna  
      
         Then there are other unnamed women too.   Let us remember the women apostles of Jesus too and not let them be ignored, omitted, excised form our books.  Apostle Paul  praised many of these  women saying their "names are written in the Book of Life."   Let them be remembered in our Catholic books too and not left out. 
     
         
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    RE: The Women Apostles, the Women Disciples 2007/05/16 13:32:45 (permalink)
      Junia- Outstanding among the Apostles---------- the words of apostle Paul.
     
    How many Catholics know about her?  Awareness of all our apostles must be increased as Jesus and God chose women too to help our church.
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    RE: The Women Apostles, the Women Disciples 2007/05/16 18:28:39 (permalink)


    [In short, the priest's assessment that the choice of Matthias confirms that only men can be priests falls under the same sort of scrutiny as does Pope John Paul II's Ordinatio Sacerdotalis itself! I hope this helps. If you have any questions, please let me know!

    with love and blessings,
    ~Sophie~ 

     
     
     
    Dear Sophie,
     
    If I understand correctly, the Church’s argument comes down to the following:
     
    God became incarnate as a man and chose twelve male Apostles to establish a theological difference between men and women. (Did Jesus ever say this? Isn’t this just an assumption?) This theological difference manifests itself as an all male priesthood. The reason for the all male priesthood is a mystery that God has not chosen to reveal to us.
     
    Essentially what they are saying is that Jesus, in establishing the priesthood, chose to discriminate against women and we should not question this.
     
    So this is why the Vatican cannot act on its own authority, because they recognize that it is unjust to discriminate against women. Therefore they are saying Christ did justly what it would have been unjust for them to do on their own. Otherwise they could act on their own authority.
     
    But this doesn’t make sense to me. Shouldn’t we understand why something is right or wrong? We could just as easily say that slavery is just or polygamy is just, since there are biblical precedents for both which suggest acceptance by God.
     
     
    Getting back to Matthias, was he Jewish? Also the priest made a point that in the Greek language the choice of a man (male) was emphasized as a decisive factor in replacing Judas (the traitor). But this emphasis on maleness is lost in the English translation. Reference to the Greek text is why the Church concludes that maleness is a defining criterion for the priesthood. Is this correct?
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    RE: The Women Apostles, the Women Disciples 2007/05/18 04:17:37 (permalink)
      The church position is untenable.  Jesus chose way more than the 12 male apostles to represent the 12 tribes of Israel.
       He EXTENDED his ministry to the Gentiles and Samaria, beyond just Israel.
     
        Jesus chose MORE than 12 apostles, disciples. Jesus ministered way more than just to Israel too.
     
         Mary Magdalene,   Junia,  Joanna,  Susanna,  Priscilla,  Lydia,   Timothy,  Paul,  Eudoia,  Eunice,  Lois,  Samaritan Woman, Syntyche,  Nympha,  Martha,  Mary  of  Bethany,     all  called  by  Jesus  as  his  disciples,  his  apostles!  More than  12!
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    RE: The Women Apostles, the Women Disciples 2007/05/18 04:24:07 (permalink)
    ORIGINAL: Guest



    [In short, the priest's assessment that the choice of Matthias confirms that only men can be priests falls under the same sort of scrutiny as does Pope John Paul II's Ordinatio Sacerdotalis itself! I hope this helps. If you have any questions, please let me know!

    with love and blessings,
    ~Sophie~ 




    Dear Sophie,

    If I understand correctly, the Church’s argument comes down to the following:

    God became incarnate as a man and chose twelve male Apostles to establish a theological difference between men and women. (Did Jesus ever say this? Isn’t this just an assumption?) This theological difference manifests itself as an all male priesthood. The reason for the all male priesthood is a mystery that God has not chosen to reveal to us.

    Essentially what they are saying is that Jesus, in establishing the priesthood, chose to discriminate against women and we should not question this.

    So this is why the Vatican cannot act on its own authority, because they recognize that it is unjust to discriminate against women. Therefore they are saying Christ did justly what it would have been unjust for them to do on their own. Otherwise they could act on their own authority.

    But this doesn’t make sense to me. Shouldn’t we understand why something is right or wrong? We could just as easily say that slavery is just or polygamy is just, since there are biblical precedents for both which suggest acceptance by God.


    Getting back to Matthias, was he Jewish? Also the priest made a point that in the Greek language the choice of a man (male) was emphasized as a decisive factor in replacing Judas (the traitor). But this emphasis on maleness is lost in the English translation. Reference to the Greek text is why the Church concludes that maleness is a defining criterion for the priesthood. Is this correct?

     
    Hello dear friend,
     
    I want to acknowledge your post and let you know -- I will be back to respond to you in the very next short while!
     
    with love and blessings,
    ~Sophie~
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    RE: The Women Apostles, the Women Disciples 2007/05/18 04:51:15 (permalink)
    Resurrection Of Mary Magdalene: Legands, Apocrypha, And The Christian Testament by Jane Schaberg
     
    In this book Schaberg skillfully and insightfully sifts through the layers of legends that have accrued to the figure of Mary Magdalene in order to "resurrect" this important figure in Christian history. In contrast to other books which simply recount the many legends associated with the Magdalene, Schaberg undertakes a critical analysis of these legends, demonstrating ways in which the legends have been used to both empower and depower the Magdalene. In successive chapters, Schaberg examines archaeological remains, depictions of the Magdalene in film and literature, the transformation of the Magdalene from "apostolic witness" to "whore", and gnostic/apocryphal traditions associated with the Magdalene. In concluding chapters Schaberg points to Mary Magdalene and the discovery of the empty tomb as the source of resurrection faith, and makes a bold and persuasive argument for Mary Magdalene as the prophetic successor of Jesus, similar to the way in which Elisha succeeded Elijah. Schaberg's proposition for "Magdalene Christianity" invites serious reconsideration of previous reconstructions of Christian origins. This is a book that will be of interest to students of the Bible and early Christianity, as well as those engaged in women's studies. It is a challenging and worthwhile read.
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    RE: The Women Apostles, the Women Disciples 2007/05/18 04:57:06 (permalink)
    ORIGINAL: Guest

      Junia- Outstanding among the Apostles---------- the words of apostle Paul.

    How many Catholics know about her?  Awareness of all our apostles must be increased as Jesus and God chose women too to help our church.

     
    Dear friend,
     
    Thank you for this excellent point!  One of our guests posted information on a new book about Junia in our thread called book and movie suggestions.  The book is called   The Lost Apostle: Searching for the Truth About Junia by Rena Pederson.
     
    Since the information was posted in the thread, I have read the book.  It is a very good and written in a format that is enjoyable to read. 
     
    with love and blessings,
    ~Sophie~
     
    ps: here are some of the reviews our guest shared in the earlier post -

    From Booklist
    Pederson is a speechwriter and journalist, not a biblical scholar. So when she learned that there was a female apostle named Junia (whose name had been changed by church fathers to Junias), she saw it as an intriguing news story and set out to discover the truth. The book gets off to a scattered and repetitious start, perhaps because Paul writes only a few lines about Junia in Romans, which hardly seems enough on which to base a whole book. But Pederson hits her stride when she examines the roles of women in early Christian times and speculates on how and why Junia got "lost." This is fascinating material, and the journalistic perspective turns out to be a big plus in terms of readability. Among the other topics Pederson delves into are church attitudes toward women and how they evolved, biblical inconsistencies, and the role of women in the later church. The book concludes with a list of discussion questions for each chapter. This could attract significant book-club interest. Ilene Cooper

    Review
    "Thanks to Rena Pederson for digging into The Case of the Missing Apostle like a good police reporter. Junia the apostle was one of the first victims of identity theft. Restoring her name is a service to women everywhere."
    —Linda Ellerbee, award-winning television producer, journalist and best-selling author of Take Big Bites, Move On, and And So It Goes

    "Reading Pederson’s work is like perusing a reporter’s notebook. She invites anyone who turns these pages to help her think about which question to ask next in the search for truth. In the end, she rewards her readers for sharing this spiritual, intellectual, and journalistic pursuit by reminding us that the best human searches are satisfied with a discovery that the truth we seek is actually seeking us."
    —William B. Lawrence, dean; professor of American church history, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University

    "As a clergywoman I am strengthened by Rena's work. She has done what should have been done years ago. Junia is the role model we've been searching for. This should be required reading in seminaries."
    —Dr. Sheron Patterson, senior minister, Highland Hills United Methodist Church; newspaper columnist; and author of Sisters: A Mile in Her Shoes, Lessons from the Lives of Old Testament Women
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    RE: The Women Apostles, the Women Disciples 2007/05/18 22:57:08 (permalink)
         Junia- Outstanding Amongst the Apostles--- qoute  from Apostle Paul
       Phoebe 
        from  Hans Kung's     Women in Christianity
          "There is no question that if the church of the Jewish-Christian paradigm can be called democratic in the best sense of the word, in that it is a community in freedom and equality, a community of brothers and sisters, this is probably even more the case with the Pauline communities.  Nowhere is this made more impressively clear than in the sentence which Paul writes to his community in Galatia: "For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ (as a garment). There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male or female: for all are one in Christ Jesus."  Indeed there can be no doubt of this: in his letters Paul addresses women as his synergoi, which literally means 'fellow workers', i.e. "colleagues".
            We have only to read the greetings at the end of the letter to the Romans to see how many women were actively involved in the proclamation of the gospel: ten of the twenty-nine prominent people addressed here are female.
             First we have Phoebe,  who was on an official mission for the church of Cenchreae. 
     She is called diakonos, which suggests she is a leader of a house community.
              Junia is particularly important : Paul even describes her as "distinguished among the apostles" who had already "confessed Christ" before him.  Apostle ( In Greek there is no feminine form) is the highest title Paul can bestow.
    Moreover as Ulrich Wilkens has rightly pointed out,  Junia may have been one of the "numerically limited group of those leading missionaries who had extraordinary authority as "apostles" and to whom  Paul himself was only  added later.
       This is a wider circle than the group of Twelve.
            
     
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    RE: The Women Apostles, the Women Disciples 2007/05/18 23:10:41 (permalink)
         Eudonia      Syntyche      
     
       from  Women in Christianity     by  Hans Kung
     
           "At all events the general evidence is unambiguous: many of the women mentioned by Paul are called "hard workers" for the gospel- a favourite word of Paul's for denoting Aostolic dedication.   According to the letter to the Philippians women like Eudonia  and Syntyche - with exactly the same status as Paul and his other male fellow-workers- "fought for the gospel"."
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    RE: The Women Apostles, the Women Disciples 2007/05/18 23:21:13 (permalink)
       Prisca  (also known as Priscilla)      Women In Christianity  by  Hans Kung
          "Prisca  is mentioned several times in Paul's correspondence,
         also has a special status.
     
    With her husband Aquila, she may have had a house in Ephesus in which they gathered a house community, and we may assume they later led a group in their house in Rome. That Prisca is usually mentioned before her husband Aquila shows
     
    that Prisca was a particularly important missionary and founder of a church. "
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    RE: The Women Apostles, the Women Disciples 2007/05/18 23:28:40 (permalink)
       Theologian  E. Schussler Fiorenza shows us that :
     
           " Pauline literature and Acts still allow us to recognize that women were among the most prominent missionaries and leaders in the Early Christian movement.  They were apostles and ministers like Paul, and some were his co-workers.
    They were teachers, preachers, and competitors in the race for the gospel. They founded house churches and as , prominent patrons, used their influence for other missionaries and Christians. "   In Memory of Her
       
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    RE: The Women Apostles, the Women Disciples 2007/05/19 07:34:41 (permalink)
    Dear Sophie,

    If I understand correctly, the Church’s argument comes down to the following:

    God became incarnate as a man and chose twelve male Apostles to establish a theological difference between men and women. (Did Jesus ever say this? Isn’t this just an assumption?) This theological difference manifests itself as an all male priesthood. The reason for the all male priesthood is a mystery that God has not chosen to reveal to us.

    Essentially what they are saying is that Jesus, in establishing the priesthood, chose to discriminate against women and we should not question this.

    So this is why the Vatican cannot act on its own authority, because they recognize that it is unjust to discriminate against women. Therefore they are saying Christ did justly what it would have been unjust for them to do on their own. Otherwise they could act on their own authority.

    But this doesn’t make sense to me. Shouldn’t we understand why something is right or wrong? We could just as easily say that slavery is just or polygamy is just, since there are biblical precedents for both which suggest acceptance by God.


    Getting back to Matthias, was he Jewish? Also the priest made a point that in the Greek language the choice of a man (male) was emphasized as a decisive factor in replacing Judas (the traitor). But this emphasis on maleness is lost in the English translation. Reference to the Greek text is why the Church concludes that maleness is a defining criterion for the priesthood. Is this correct?


    Dear friend,

    Your analysis of Church reasoning is basically correct. Dr. Wijngaards has prepared a fairly comprehensive summary of the pros and cons of the arguments in the document Summary of the Two Positions available here: http://www.womenpriests.org/summary2.asp
     
    And you are absolutely right about the biblical precedents for slavery and polygamy. 

    In terms of your questions about Matthias?  I am going to speak to Dr. Wijngaards about this.  He is a scripture scholar with an academic repertoire much more extensive than mine!  I had hoped to speak to him today...he is quite a busy man!

    I'll come back with some additional information for you once we've had a chance to chat!

    with love and blessings,
    ~Sophie~
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    RE: The Women Apostles, the Women Disciples 2007/05/19 07:42:06 (permalink)
    And you are absolutely right about the biblical precedents for slavery and polygamy.

     
    Dear friend,
     
    A short after thought ~ If you are not familiar with it, you may be interested in the 1976 Report of the Pontifical Biblical Commission which confirmed that there is nothing in scripture which either supports or forbids the ordination of women.
     
    How did this Vatican report come about? In the early 1970s,  questions about the possibility of women's ordination began to rise (as they increasingly continue to do) from the grassroots of the Church.  Pope Paul VI identified a need to provide a 'reasoned explanation' as to why women could not be priests so as to quiet the increasing 'clamour.' He assigned the task of analysis to the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith.  They, in turn,  commissioned the Pontifical Biblical Commission (PBC) to produce a scriptural exegesis assessing the biblical view of women priests.  A summary of the PBC's Report is as follows:

    Seventeen members present at the recent plenary session of the Pontifical Biblical Commission, voted on various aspects of the report. They agreed unanimously that the New Testament by itself does not settle in a clear way and once and for all whether women can be ordained priests. The members voted 12-5 that scriptural grounds alone are not enough to exclude the possibility of ordaining women.


    A copy of the Report is available through this link:   http://www.womenpriests.org/classic/appendix.asp  As we learn more, we'll join others in wondering why the Vatican completely disregarded the learned analysis and work of the Commission.
     
    with love and blessings,
    ~Sophie~
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