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The Jesus movement was a feminist movement. First off I would like to be clear that I do not mean that Christianity, the Bible, or the church is/was a feminist movement, but that Jesus was an early feminist. Many people think that the feminist view is that of superior women. But in actuality it is about egalitarianism. Much like the womanist, and mujerista view, feminists believe in giving all people (men, women, white, black, everyone) equal time. By equal time I mean equal respect, equal acknowledgement, and equal history.

Jesus did these things. The New Testament was written by men in a society that was already patriarchal, so only certain parts of Jesus' life were illustrated. However even among the patriarchy, some feminist views slipped in. First off many scholars say that Jesus did not have only the 12 disciples that we know of today. He had many more and some of them included women and Samaritans. "He made his way through towns and villages preaching and proclaiming the Good News of the reign of God. With him went the Twelve as well as certain women." Luke 8:1. Mary Magdelen, for example is portrayed to be one of Jesus' close friends and followers. She washed his feet with her hair and when Jesus was crucified she stood by him. Some theologians argue that Mary Magdelen was not a prostitute, but portrayed as one to weaken her character and her significance. Many of the meals and meetings that Jesus attended were hosted women's houses. They played an active role in his life. They not only served Jesus, but also spoke to and learned from Jesus. In the house of Mary and Martha, Martha served Jesus food and drink, while Mary sat at Jesus' feet and listened to what he taught. If men and women had written the Bible, these women's stories and accounts of Jesus may have made it into the scriptures. Jesus mingled with women and treated them with respect, which was unheard of in those days. In fact women were not even to be taught the scriptures. Jesus occasionally portrayed God in a feminine type of way, and women in a godly way. In the parable of the women who sought the lost coin, woman is a God. Jesus never seems to have said things about women that make them inferior or submissive. According to the Bible when Jesus was resurrected he appeared to women first. He told the women to go and spread the Good News to the others. There are other accounts of resurrection in the Bible which women are closely related to. Throughout the scriptures Jesus speaks of respect for everyone. Also during this time it was also customary not to speak to Samaritans, however Jesus spoke to them as if they were equals.

The reason that I believe that the Jesus movement turned into a patriarchal religion is that customs and thoughts die-hard. Women had always been seen as a weaker sex; so making this change would not have been easy or well received. Like I have said before men wrote the New Testament and therefore shaped Christianity. In the Old Testament there are many passages against women and that say that women are a weaker sex. With many of the people that wrote the Bible and were early Christians being Jewish, they had been engrained that women were not equals to men. According to Jesus every person is made in the image and likeness of God. After his death men turned this statement into the idea of men and people like us are made in the image and likeness of God. With different branches of Christianity we have now many women feel more empowered. A woman founded the Shakers, and in some branches of Christianity women are allowed to be priests. They are finally given a role in the church. With more reform movements and more women standing out against Christianity maybe they can soon get some equal time in their religion as well as the workplace.

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