The Criterion of Embarrassment and the Women of Luke


The Criterion of Embarrassment is an oft-used historical tool by those who seek to authenticate and validate the New Testament Gospels insofar as they are understood as historical literature. However, a thoughtful review of this historical tool in light of the Gospel attributed to Luke presents with it a convincing counter-argument to the usefulness and authority of this tool. The role of women in antiquity, especially those in the Graeco-Roman period within Jerusalem and its surrounding area presents with it a complexity that is not always readily understood or consistent.

Women are revered and respected in the Hebrew Bible’s narratives, Jerusalem itself has had a woman ruler in the century previous to the time of Jesus the Christ.The presuppositional understanding then that the testimony of the women at the tomb were taken to be less authoritative and thus embarrassing for the Gospel authors to include due to their sex ignores the intra-Gospel narrative framework attributed to Luke and the normative gender standards during the first century of the common era.

Alternatively, the paper can be read on Academia.edu or downloaded here.

and God knows best.

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