Low Status of Women

A Strange But Important Fact

You might think that is an odd fact, but in a patriarchal society, women were not regarded very highly, and their testimony wasn't seen to be anywhere near the level of a testimony of a man.

“But let not the testimony of women be admitted, on account of the levity and boldness of their sex” ... (Josephus, Antiquities, 4.8.15).

“Any evidence which a woman [gives] is not valid (to offer)” ... (Talmud, Rosh Hashana 1.8c).

“Wherever the Torah accepts the testimony of one witness, it follows the majority of persons, so that two women against one man is identical with two men against one man. But there are some who declare that wherever a competent witness came first, even a hundred women are regarded as equal to one witness ... but when it is a woman who came first, then two women against one man is like half-and-half” (Talmud, b.Mas. Sotah 31b).

All four gospels report that women were the first witnesses of the empty tomb of Jesus. If this story was an invention, they would have never used women to make their case. So when historians see this kind of embarrassing admission, it speaks of its historicity.


From a resurrection expert:

 “As historians, we are obliged to comment that if these stories had been made up five years later, let alone thirty, forty, or fifty years later, they would never have had Mary Magdalene in this role. To put Mary there is, from the point of view of Christian apologists wanting to explain to a skeptical audience that Jesus really did rise from the dead, like shooting themselves in the foot. But to us as historians, this kind of thing is gold dust. The early Christians would never, never have made this up.”

- N. T. Wright,  Serving as the Chair of New Testament and Early Christianity at the School of Divinity at the University of St. Andrews. For twenty years he taught New Testament studies at Cambridge, McGill and Oxford Universities. Author of The Resurrection of the Son of God,  a 2,000-page historical tome on the resurrection.