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If you’ve spent any time in church (or in the New Testament text) you’ve heard of the famous couple, Priscilla and Aquila.

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Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Susanna plus other women "provided for them out of their resources."  The Greek word translated as resources can mean property, possessions, resources, or means. These women financially supported Jesus and his ministry from their own finances.

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Christian tradition is sometimes remarkable for the liberties it takes with the reputations of its saints, and in this regard no example springs so readily to mind as that of Mary Magdalene. Tradition has had its field day with the reputation of this once deeply troubled woman. 

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I remember the women—Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome—who discovered the empty tomb while delivering spices to Jesus’ grave (Mark 16:1-8). And the fact that Jesus first revealed himself to Mary, a woman, was constantly emphasized my wonderful mom.

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Was Priscilla one of the most successful teachers, evangelists, and writers in the early church? A survey of Priscilla’s ministry in Rome, Corinth, and Ephesus reveals a woman whose abilities and life’s circumstances beg the question: Was it Priscilla who wrote Hebrews?

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May the faith of Mary, the apostle to the apostles, inspire in us a faithful vigilance in our isolation. We will meet and celebrate our risen Lord on Easter beyond the tomb.

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How did Mary enter the popular imagination as the femme fatale with a checkered past, made demure and modest by her encounter with Christ? The answer is complicated, but it has much to do with the erasure of other women.

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This article originated as a paper that I presented at the Pacific Coast Region/Society of Biblical Literature meeting, New Testament Epistles and Apocalypse Section, at St. Mary’s College, Moraga, California, in March 2002. I wish to focus here on the distinctive theology of Hebrews and how it relates to gender equality.

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Introduction

My field of research is Adolf von Harnack’s hypothesis that Priscilla is the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews.1 I argue for the theory. There are two main objections to the Priscilla theory that I want to state and refute in order to assure its plausibility.

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Early in his writings, Paul authored Galatians, a book primarily dedicated to explaining to Jewish Christians that their uncircumcised Gentile brothers were not second class members of the church. Paul directly refutes this concept of hierarchy in Christian community in Galatians 3:28.

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