New Testament Gospel Doctrine Lesson #23

scriptures-resurrection-758817-printSo here’s the plan: each week that the gospels are covered in Sunday School, I will post one question from my book along with a brief discussion of the issues that it raises.

Some scholars conclude that women were present at the Last Supper. They cite the following evidence:


(1) Compare Mark 14:28 with Mark 16:7.

(2) Referring to “one of the twelve” in Mark 14:20 means that there were others present (see also Mark 14:16 and 17).

(3) The tradition for Passover was for women to be present and it would have been worthy of mention if Jesus were to depart from this tradition.

(4) Women “came up with him unto Jerusalem” (Mark 15:41) and the reason that Jesus went to Jerusalem was to celebrate the Passover.

Do you find these arguments persuasive? Why or why not? (How) does it matter if women were at the Last Supper?

(adapted from Search, Ponder, and Pray: A Guide to the Gospels)

I find the evidence for the presence of women at the Last Supper to be quite solid; there is an awful lot of explaining that you have to do if you want to interpret the event as occurring without them present. (See also here.)

I find myself rather frustrated by videos, paintings, etc. that show Jesus surrounded by a gaggle of men, but no women or children, during the events of his ministry. Best we can tell, that just didn’t happen much. One of the best candidates for a boys-only meeting would be Mark 13 but, interestingly, the JST places women at that event. It is true that only men watch at Gethsemane, but given their failure at that point . . . and you can make a similar argument for the Transfiguration. But the rest of the time . . .

Anyway, I would suggest–especially if you teach children or youth–that you gently correct any media that attempts to erase women from history.


1 comment for “New Testament Gospel Doctrine Lesson #23

  1. Thank you for posting for each lesson. I appreciate the insight.

    Re-reading the lesson manual after reading your post, I was struck by the sentence on p94 of the teacher’s manual that describes the Last Supper as a “meeting with his Apostles”, which makes it sound (to me) that no one else was present. I’m guessing whoever wrote the manual isn’t intentionally being dismissive of women, but the fact that they are routinely left out stands out once you start noticing it.

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