In the Greco-Roman and Jewish worlds, women had very limited rights. Roman jurists knew this. Papinianus stated directly: In many provisions of our law, the position of woman is worse than of man.
Even fully independent women had to have a male guardian. They did not perform public functions and were without the right to vote in assemblies. They could not act as a judge and also as a banker. They could not exercise authority over anyone (also formally over children). They were limited in the ability to inherit and make a will. In Jewish courts, their testimony did not matter.
At the same time, many virtues of the wife were noticed, who should be distinguished by love, faithfulness and purity of generally accepted morals, and thus modesty above all else. Woman’s area of activity was therefore limited to raising children and taking care of the house1.
In this socio-cultural context, it is interesting that the four Gospels emphasize women as the first witnesses of Jesus’ resurrection. Four writers consistently report on women’s witnessing, while men’s disbelief2.
Author:Waldemar Owczarczak (translated from Polish: Jakub Jasiński)
Marek Kuryłowicz, Rzymskie prawo oraz zwyczaje grobowe i pogrzebowe, WERSET, Lublin 2020
Nowy komentarz biblijny - Ewangelia według świętego Mateusza, Edycja Świętego Pawła, 2008, cz.2
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