Gender is an important construct in a wide range of writings from the early Jesus peoples and groups. One of the most interesting of these writings to consider when it comes to gender is the Gospel of Thomas.
Given the centrality of Jesus’s death to the traditions of Christianity that emerged out of the ancient world, precision in our imagining and recounting of this death is of the utmost importance.
Looking past popular depictions of Jesus to get a sense of how he would have appeared to others is hugely important because his appearance tells us a lot about who he was and what he really taught.
When Perpetua, like so many of the early martyrs in these ancient stories, declared, “I am Christian,” what she really declared was, “I belong to the party of the Christ.”
Levi uses his place of privilege in the community to uphold Mary and Mary’s leadership, to call out bad behavior, and to encourage communal reflection and learning.
Who is the miracle-worker in this story? Surely, Jesus has performed many miracles himself, but in this particular case, the miracle-worker is the unnamed woman.
When I looked into the realities of ancient clothing, however, I started to see how tied together clothing and the body – and beyond the body, the very stuff of self – really were, for Jesus’ audience.