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The Ministry of Women in the New Testament: Reclaiming the Biblical Vision for Church Leadership

ISBN: 9781493429363

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In this book, Dorothy Lee considers evidence from the New Testament and early church to show that women’s ministry is confirmed by the biblical witness. Her comprehensive examination explores the roles women play in the Gospels and the Pauline corpus, with a particular focus on passages that have been used in the past to limit women’s ministry.

Lee argues that women in the New Testament are not only valued as disciples but also given leadership roles, which has implications for the contemporary church. In addition, she points to evidence from early church history that reveals women’s participation in ministry and outlines key theological arguments for women as full and equal partners with men in the life of the church.

The Ministry of Women in the New Testament will be a valuable resource for professors, students, and scholars of the New Testament, ministry, and women’s studies.

Resource Experts
  • Explores the roles women play in the Gospels and the Pauline corpus
  • Focuses on passages that have been used in the past to limit women’s ministry
  • Considers evidence from the New Testament and early church
  • Introduction

Part 1: Women’s Ministry in the New Testament

  • Gospels of Matthew and Mark
  • Writings of Luke: Gospel
  • Writings of Luke: Acts of the Apostles
  • John’s Gospel
  • Paul’s Letters: Historical and Thematic Issues
  • Paul’s Letters: Key Texts
  • Later New Testament Writings

Part 2: Women’s Ministry in the Tradition

  • History and Texts
  • Theology
  • Conclusion

Top Highlights

“As a virgin, Mary is the guarantor of Jesus’s humanity; he is not half-human and half-divine but wholly human in and through her femaleness, as well as wholly divine. The genealogy is significant for Jesus’s adopted father and for the traditions of Abraham and David, which shape Jesus’s identity throughout the Gospel—but his humanity is dependent solely on his mother.49 Though a man, he is conceived, nurtured, and born only of a woman. That gives the Matthean (and Lukan) Jesus a profound connection with women that other men do not possess.50 The virginal conception is a key theological point in understanding not only the incarnation but also Jesus’s relationship to women.” (Page 23)

“Rule and authority were widely considered to be primarily male prerogatives, and men were seen as endowed with the necessary qualities and virtues—such as initiative, reason, and courage—to equip them for their roles. Women, by contrast, were generally regarded as more fitted for domestic duties and were seen to have the requisite conventional virtues, particularly those of ‘modesty, loyalty and industry,’ in relation both to the family and to their engagement with the wider community.” (Page 5)

“Yet perhaps the overriding aspect of the value system was that personal identity was always set within the context of family relationships and the wider kinship group. In this world there was no notion of individualism or personal autonomy, for men certainly but even more so for women.” (Page 5)

“As Beverly Gaventa points out, Paul’s commendation of her signifies that she is to be his ambassador and represent him to the church in Rome.” (Page 101)

Dorothy A. Lee (PhD, University of Sydney) is the Stewart Research Professor of New Testament at Trinity College, University of Divinity, and is an Anglican priest in the Diocese of Melbourne. She is the author of numerous books, including Flesh and Glory: Symbol, Gender, and Theology in the Gospel of JohnThe Gospels Speak; and A Friendly Guide to Matthew's Gospel.


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  1. Glenn Crouch

    Glenn Crouch


    This is the first book of read from this Author, and am pleased to have discovered another Aussie author whom I enjoy reading. Her Anglican background (I’m Lutheran) enables a good examination of Liturgical practices that is often lacking in other books on leadership, and I found this refreshing. I admit that I have been for women as pastors / church leaders for well over 40 years, and I have used many of the arguments that the Author has laid out here. I did appreciate the thoroughness with which she has down this. A detailed coverage of all areas of the New Testament is given, fully acknowledging the “difficult” passages - and laying out how they are dealt with in the hermeneutic being proposed. There is also a good coverage of Early Church history - though I would’ve enjoyed even more. As well as a theological examination of the issues - including a nice examination of the Trinity. I also appreciated that the author points out problem in various feminist approaches as well. I may not agree with all of her conclusions but I do appreciate them, and find this book a valuable addition to this ongoing concern within many of our churches.