Women Remembered: Jesus’ Female Disciples

Authors Professor Joan Taylor and Professor Helen Bond will offer a look into the lives of Jesus’ female disciples based on their exciting new book, Women Remembered: Jesus’ Female Disciples (2022).  While many of the women in Christian Scriptures have been dismissed, stereotyped, or misrepresented, Professor Taylor and Professor Bond present some of the latest findings and recover the stories of the women who have helped shape our faith.


Here is a brief excerpt from the book:

Not only are women not imagined as being part of Jesus’ mission, but the story of Christianity’s spread is also a masculine one. In the first century – so the story goes – the Christian message was taken to the lands around the Mediterranean by two great men: Peter and Paul. And later on, the message was reflected upon and transposed into creedal statements in the third and fourth centuries by the ‘Fathers’ of the Church. In popular memory, then, the history of earliest Christianity is decidedly male. But is this the full story?

Sometime in the late 50 ce, Paul wrote a letter to the church in Rome. This was one of the most important letters that Paul would ever write, setting out his beliefs and hoping that the church would welcome him when he came to visit. As he was still something of an unknown quantity among the Roman Christians, he finished his letter with a list of important people he knew there. Many of them worked with him. What’s fascinating about this list is that it’s the closest we have to a snapshot of the early church, a random collection of people who are listed simply because they were known to Paul. And the surprising thing is that, of the twenty-nine names in the chapter, eleven – more than one-third of them – are women. These women were clearly performing various roles in the church – deacons, benefactors/leaders or ‘apostles’ (envoys) – and others were running house churches. Most significant of all is the fact that the letter itself was delivered by a woman, Phoebe (Paul wrote to commend her to people who didn’t already know her, strongly implying that she had been sent from him with the letter). It’s very unlikely that Phoebe was just the postwoman; as a ‘deacon’ (minister) and benefactor/leader in her own right, she presumably read out and defended Paul’s lengthy missive. She was not just Paul’s deputy, but also an able teacher, envoy and negotiator.



Professor Joan Taylor

Joan Taylor is Professor of Christian Origins and Second Temple Judaism at King’s College London. She has authored numerous books and articles about Jesus and his world, notably The Immerser: John the Baptist within Second Temple Judaism (1997), Jesus and Brian: Studying the Historical Jesus via Monty Python’s Life of Brian (2015) and What did Jesus look like? (2018). She has studied questions of women and gender for many years, and has edited, with Ilaria Ramelli, Patterns of Women’s Leadership in Early Christianity (2021). She also works in radio, television and film, and co-presented, with Helen Bond, Jesus Female Disciples: The New Evidence (2018) for Channel Four. Together they have recently authored Women Remembered: Jesus’ Female Disciples (2022).

Professor Helen Bond, MTheol PhD FRSE

Helen K. Bond is Professor of Christian Origins and Head of the School of Divinity at the University of Edinburgh. Her research focuses on the social and political history of Judaea under Roman rule, the historical Jesus, and the canonical gospels. She is the author of Pontius Pilate in History and Interpretation (CUP, 1998), Caiaphas: High Priest and Friend of Rome? (Westminster John Knox, 2004), The Historical Jesus: A Guide for the Perplexed (Bloomsbury, 2012), Jesus: A Very Brief History (SPCK, 2017), The First Biography of Jesus: Genre and Meaning in Mark’s Gospel (Eerdmans, 2020), Women Remembered: Jesus’ Female Disciples (Hodder, 2022), and a number of shorter studies and articles. She has contributed to over 50 TV and radio documentaries, including acting as historical consultant to The Nativity (BBC, 2010) and co-presenter (with Joan Taylor) of Jesus’ Female Disciples (C4, 2018).


Join us as Professor Taylor and Professor Bond offer a look into the Early Church and the role women were playing in the development of the faith.


Apr 06 2023


12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
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