Jesus’ Female Disciples Lecture Series

Guest Speaker - Professor Joan Taylor

September 2019

You are invited to attend the Jesus' Female Disciples Lecture Series where you'll hear from guest speaker and The Murdoch University International Theologian for 2019, Professor Joan Taylor, King’s College, London.

Lecture 1 : Jesus’ Female Disciples - Wednesday 11th September

In 2017 Joan Taylor and Helen Bond shot a documentary, Jesus’ Female Disciples: The New Evidence, for Channel Four (UK), which was subsequently screened worldwide, including in Australia on ABC. This documentary presented some of the archaeological and literary evidence that indicated that women were among Jesus’ closest disciples during his mission in Galilee, and that there was a memory of such women, and their leadership, in the early Church. This first lecture looks at the range of evidence we possess and the issues about how to interpret it

Lecture 2: Silent Women? The Churches of Paul - Wednesday 18th September

The letters of Paul have often been resourced as indicating that in the earliest churches women were to keep silent in worship, and that their leadership roles should be restricted. We will look at how literary material was preserved and shaped, and used by different groups, and consider textual issues in Paul’s letters. We will also explore the defensive positions adopted in some early Christian texts, when faced with criticisms from wider society. We will then explore patterns of leadership, women co-workers with Paul and possible hidden women authors. We will look at the remarkable story of Thecla and consider the legacy of such women through the centuries. 

Lecture 3: Imagining Mary Magdalene - Wednesday 25th September

Of all Jesus’ female disciples, Mary Magdalene is the one who is remembered as pre-eminent. We tend to imagine her as young and beautiful, and sexy, and contemporary films have endorsed this tradition, stemming from a long tradition of western art. In this image, she is fused with a sinner who anoints Jesus’ feet. In the east, however, Mary was never fused with this character, and remained a modest and devoted disciple. We will consider her earliest representation, and how such art conveys theological meaning, and then try to imagine her in the clothing appropriate for her time on the basis of archaeology and art.


Get in touch

For more information about the lecture series, please email Rowan Strong  r.strong@murdoch.edu.au

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