To be a disciple is to follow Jesus. And that requires action. But in the gospels, the disciples often falter. The Twelve even abandon Jesus at his crucifixion in many of the narratives. Yet it is female disciples who remain faithful to Jesus to the end. What do we make of this?
In Women Who Do, Holly J. Carey examines what it means to be a disciple—and contends that it’s the women who best embody discipleship in the gospels. Carey describes the expectations and social roles for women in first-century Greco-Roman and Jewish contexts. Then she offers a close reading of each of the four gospels, as well as Acts of the Apostles. What emerges is a cohesive narrative-critical case that the Twelve are not an equivalent group to the disciples. In fact, the Twelve are set as foils against the faithful, active, and often nameless disciples who populate the narratives—many of whom are women.
Women Who Do is essential reading for students and scholars seeking a fuller understanding of women’s roles in Jesus’s ministry. Carey’s argument not only clarifies the narrative of the gospels but also raises questions about how the church conceives of women’s leadership today.
Crux Sola Best Book (2023)
Table of Contents
1. The World of Women in the First Century
2. Female Discipleship in the Gospel of Mark
3. Female Discipleship in the Gospel of Matthew
4. Female Discipleship in the Gospel of Luke
5. Female Discipleship in the Acts of the Apostles
6. Female Discipleship in the Gospel of John
“Contexts are crucial: the context of women’s world in the first century; the context of the distinctive narrative moves of Mark, Matthew, Luke-Acts, and John; and the context of Bible readers who are also members of Christian churches today. With scholarly, professorial, and pastoral attention to each of these contexts, Carey shows how these women take action as disciples of Jesus—as Women Who Do.”
—Elizabeth Struthers Malbon, Virginia Tech
“If asked to name Jesus’s disciples, most of us would focus on the well-known men—Peter, James, John, and the rest. In this important, well-crafted study, Holly Carey fills out that picture by emphasizing Jesus’s overlooked female disciples while demonstrating how the women in Jesus’s life exemplified best the nature of faithful discipleship. If we want to talk about what it means to follow Jesus, we do well to take her advice: Follow the women!”
—Joel B. Green, Fuller Theological Seminary
“A well-written and carefully researched study, which portrays the remarkably positive role of female discipleship in the sociopolitical context of the ancient world where women had little power.”
—Dorothy A. Lee, University of Divinity, Melbourne