Frequent shroud blogger and friend John Klotz (see posting yesterday, An Early Christmas Present from John Klotz), in his blog, points us to an observation by Tom Wright (pictured) about the role of women in the Gospels. In Jesus Christ, Feminist he writes:
It was the degraded state of women generally that makes it remarkable that the four Gospels record women as the first witnesses to the Resurrection. In fact, N.T. Wright, Anglican Bishop, and perhaps the foremost scholar of the Resurrection, uses that fact to conclude that the traditions that were formalized as the Gospels, predate St. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians.
“Even if we suppose that Mark made up most of his material, and did so some time in the late 60s at the earliest, it will not do to have him, or anyone else at that stage, making up a would-be apologetic legend about an empty tomb and having women be the ones who find it. The point has been repeated over and over in scholarship, but its full impact has not always been felt: women were simply not acceptable as legal witnesses. We may regret it, but this is how the Jewish world (and most others) worked. The debate between Origen and Celsus shows that critics of Christianity could seize on the story of the women in order to scoff at the whole tale; were the legend-writers really so ignorant of the likely reaction? If they could have invented stories of fine, upstanding, reliable male witnesses being first at the tomb, they would have done it.” (Interior citations omitted).<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–>[vi]
The obduracy of the bachelor hierarchy to the ordination of women is an anarchism that the Church must put behind it. There is a desperate shortage of priests in many countries, particularly the United States. In the US, dioceses are importing priests from Africa. They are fine men, however, their presence in the United States is contingent to their strict hewing to the Vatican line.
Of course, I might wonder if allowing priests to marry might help the shortage problem. In the Episcopal Church in the US, we have a surplus of ordained priests. I don’t know why. Women priests? Married priests? Less strict hewing to any line?
And by now we have probably exhausted this off-topic.