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Thread: The female identity in the bible.

  1. #21
    Silver Member Tylluan Penry's Avatar
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    Re: The female identity in the bible.

    Personally I think Ruth is a strong character. So was Esther.
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    Moderator Azvanna's Avatar
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    Re: The female identity in the bible.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tylluan Penry View Post
    Personally I think Ruth is a strong character. So was Esther.
    I think so too, but they both have men strongly linked to their purposes. Ruth's happy ending was that she married a rich Jewish guy and Esther was under the direction of her uncle Mordecai.

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    Silver Member Tylluan Penry's Avatar
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    Re: The female identity in the bible.

    I always read the story of Ruth as her being a strong woman in her own right. She looked after her mother-in-law, she gathered their own food. Boaz was a bit of an aside really... at least that was how I always read it.

    And Esther was strong too - despite the seemingly passive start, she prevented the slaughter of her people. Yes, Mordecai enlisted her help, but he couldn't have done anything to prevent the genocide without her.

    The fact that Ruth and Esther loved men didn't make them any weaker in my book. I love Mr Penry, but nobody who knows me would ever describe me as a weak woman.
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    Re: The female identity in the bible.

    Both women were very strong leaders in the early church. Their "male counter parts" were mostly uninvolved. The stories were rewritten to remove the focus on strong women which was required by the blossoming church. Women in the priesthood was an unthinkable future. Even in their day Ruth and Esther were out of the generic role of women in Judaism. (though it was not as uncommon as scripture would lead you to believe.) It is considered most likely that Jesus had called for Mary of Magdeline was to lead the church. It was said several times in the gospels that she was the most beloved of Jesus and it is thought that her children were the offspring of Jesus although there was never a marriage document found in the Jewish or Roman records of the time. Mary was from a wealthy family and she served her year as a Temple Maiden (holy harlot) but discovered in that year that sex was fun and was nearly stoned for her promiscuity. There is no doubt that she and Jesus shared a special relationship and that it was removed from the bible. Jesus is, in more than one place, referred to as "Rabbi" which required a man to be married and have children at that time.

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    Moderator Azvanna's Avatar
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    Re: The female identity in the bible.

    Quote Originally Posted by DragonsFriend View Post
    Both women were very strong leaders in the early church. Their "male counter parts" were mostly uninvolved. The stories were rewritten to remove the focus on strong women which was required by the blossoming church. Women in the priesthood was an unthinkable future. Even in their day Ruth and Esther were out of the generic role of women in Judaism. (though it was not as uncommon as scripture would lead you to believe.) It is considered most likely that Jesus had called for Mary of Magdeline was to lead the church. It was said several times in the gospels that she was the most beloved of Jesus and it is thought that her children were the offspring of Jesus although there was never a marriage document found in the Jewish or Roman records of the time. Mary was from a wealthy family and she served her year as a Temple Maiden (holy harlot) but discovered in that year that sex was fun and was nearly stoned for her promiscuity. There is no doubt that she and Jesus shared a special relationship and that it was removed from the bible. Jesus is, in more than one place, referred to as "Rabbi" which required a man to be married and have children at that time.
    No offense, but there's so many hypotheses out there regarding Jesus' marital status and many more conspiracy theories about how, why and who changed the Bible overnight or over time. I don't take the Bible literally, but I also don't read what's not there... If that makes sense. It doesn't matter to me if Mary Magdalene was Jesus' wife or not, it does not diminish or embellish her contribution to early Christian heritage.

    As far as Ruth goes, I see Boaz as her reward and Esther as subservient to Uncle Mordecai. Agreed, they both achieved. In my original question, I'm looking for the female identity celebrated in her own right. In both these stories, the identities of the women are tied to the men in their lives.

    The idea of the feminine Shekinah or Sophia is the thread i'm pursuing currently. A bit mystic, it is what is most relevant to my spirituality at present.

    When I'm finished there, I'll look at Judith and Wenny's suggestions. I'm also interested in Miriam, Deborah and Zipporah.

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    The Gaze of the Abyss B. de Corbin's Avatar
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    Re: The female identity in the bible.

    In early Christianity, actually, Christians drew lots to decide who would be priest (as well as other rolls). This could just as well be a woman as a man. The anti-female thing didn't come about until much later.

    Whether Jesus had a wife or not will depend on who is doing the talking. There are Gnostic texts which pretty clearly suggest an intimate relationship. This recently discovered fragment actually quotes Jesus quoting his wife:

    'Gospel of Jesus' Wife' Papyrus Is Ancient, Not Fake, Scientists And Scholars Say

    Gnostic texts, with the exception of John, are not considered valid by many Christian denominations. For others, they are.

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  7. #27
    Moderator Azvanna's Avatar
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    Re: The female identity in the bible.

    So I've been thinking this topic over tonight and in particular why I felt so opposed to Esther and Ruth being satisfactory examples of the divine feminine.

    When I read the Bible, I'm looking for principles primarily. Ruth is a foreigner who has remained dedicated to her deceased husband's mother. The two have a strong bond and even when Naomi lets Ruth off the hook, Ruth replies your God shall be my God, your people shall be my people. She provides for herself and her mother-in-law as a pauper foraging in the fields until she marries Boaz. So it seems like the moral of the story is to stay faithful to your husband's family and you'll be rewarded by marrying well or something to that effect. Maybe the heroine here is Naomi who grooms her foreign daughter-in-law to become an enviable figure in Jewish culture.

    The whole book of Esther is full of wisdom. Esther's story is but one thread. She is portrayed as very beautiful and very obedient. Her wisdom is in who to obey in what circumstances. Her bravery is in acknowledging her identity even though it puts her life at risk... Maybe I do have something to learn from her about being honest.
    The attributes that place her in a position of influence are beauty, obedience and not being demanding. The attributes that cause her to fulfil a destiny are respect for authority, obedience, authenticity, selflessness.

    So both these stories have their strengths but I'm looking to know the attributes of the Devine feminine devoid of social hierarchy and male attachment. Maybe it doesn't exist and the Devine feminine operates solely under the influence of the masculine. Maybe neither feminine nor masculine exist and I'm creating unnecessary categories.

    Looking forward to the arrival of that book!

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by B. de Corbin View Post
    In early Christianity, actually, Christians drew lots to decide who would be priest (as well as other rolls). This could just as well be a woman as a man. The anti-female thing didn't come about until much later.
    I remember this... This is how Barnabus was chosen as one of the twelve to replace Judas. I can't verify if women were to be included, but the criteria simply was 'one who was with us from the beginning.'

    Whether Jesus had a wife or not will depend on who is doing the talking. There are Gnostic texts which pretty clearly suggest an intimate relationship. This recently discovered fragment actually quotes Jesus quoting his wife:

    'Gospel of Jesus' Wife' Papyrus Is Ancient, Not Fake, Scientists And Scholars Say
    I really need to include the apocrypha in my reading list.
    Truth is, but what it is is subject to interpretation.
    All I can do is be open to possibilities. When I do that, all information gets sifted down to principles that are relevant to my whole life up to the present moment. I can't see too far ahead. Facts are helpful, but they're not necessarily what I'm seeking.

  8. #28
    The Gaze of the Abyss B. de Corbin's Avatar
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    Re: The female identity in the bible.

    Azvanna, for what you're looking for, some of the gospels from the Gnostic might be just the ticket. In mainstream Christianity, Peter is the select one on whom the future church is founded (he da rock). In the Gnostic gospels, it is usually somebody else (Thomas - the doubter, even Judas - the betrayer). One of those people is Mary M. There is a Gospel of Mary (http://gnosis.org/library/marygosp.htm), and in several others I've read (but can't remember which ones).

    But if your interest is specifically in the divine feminine as a thing all of it's own, my preference is for Thunder/Perfect Mind (http://gnosis.org/naghamm/thunder.html). Here is a part - it is beautiful, as poetry, in-and-of-itself:

    For I am the first and the last.
    I am the honored one and the scorned one.
    I am the whore and the holy one.
    I am the wife and the virgin.
    I am <the mother> and the daughter.
    I am the members of my mother.
    I am the barren one
    and many are her sons.
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  9. #29
    Moderator Azvanna's Avatar
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    Re: The female identity in the bible.

    Thanks! Those are interesting links. I have to go to the library today anyway so I'll see if there are any books on the gnostic gospels there. The gospel of Thomas has dramatically shifted my interpretation of other parables in the gospels. Looking forward to this!

    I'm really embarrassed these last few posts I've been spelling Divine [i]devine[i] like the yoghurt Ski Devine. Haha! Oops.

  10. #30
    Silver Member monsno_leedra's Avatar
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    Re: The female identity in the bible.

    You might be interested in the book WOMEN AND WORSHIP at PHILIPPI by Valerie A. Abrahamsen (ISBN 1-885349-00-9) it starts out with goddess material found in the area but also goes into the early Christian era at the site and discusses some interesting idea's and speculation of women's importance in the early church and at Philippi in northern Greece.
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