Original Research

The women at the tomb: What are they doing there?

Carolyn Osiek
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 53, No 1/2 | a1600 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v53i1/2.1600 | © 1997 Carolyn Osiek | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 13 December 1997 | Published: 13 December 1997

About the author(s)

Carolyn Osiek, Department of Biblical Literature Catholic Theological Uruon, Chicago, U.S.A. Visiting Professor: Department of New Testament Studies (Sec A) University of Pretoria, South Africa

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This article will explore the role and junction of the women in the empty tomb narratives of the Gospel tradition. What purpose do they play in the resurrection kerygma of the early church? Why is the story of their first arrival at the tomb so persistent that it continues into the later apocryphal gospels? The discussion of this question will be in three parts: part one will summarize some of the work on these passages that has been done by scholars using the tools of redaction criticism. Part two will examine some of the surrounding issues from the perspective of social history and social construction of meaning, especially with regard to women's subcultures, roles in burial customs, and public testimony. Part three will apply to these findings a feminist analysis using both a hermeneutic of suspicion and of remembrance.


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