Conversely, the interpretation of Luke’s Gospel has often been viewed as highlighting the passive and silent role of women, thereby supporting the importance of the male leaders (Seim, 1994, p.173).
This debate has further led to the argument that whilst women may be seen as “prophets” in the private domain, the symbolic role of this representation simply serves to highlight the public prophetic role of men (Levine & Blickenstaff, 2004, p.67). The biblical criticism in this area is additionally fuelled by the fact that notwithstanding the express role of women in the Luke Gospel, there is clearly a dichotomy between the Luke Gospel and the Acts. Indeed, Seim highlights that whilst women are clearly visible within the content of the Gospel their role is negligible and effectively silenced in the Acts (Seim, 1994, p.173).
The focus of this analysis is to critically evaluate the role of women in the Luke Acts. In doing so I shall adopt a contextual approach with reference to feminist theology and the appurtenant feminist issues raised by the Luke Acts.
As an initial observation it is important to highlight that Luke’s Gospel comprises part of the Canon of the New Testament and was selected on grounds of its theological emphasis correlating with the other books of the New Testament, particularly the Synoptic gospels (D’Angelo, 1990, p.442). Additionally, Luke’s Gospel is widely recognised as part of a two piece work in conjunction with the Book of Acts (Reid, 1996, p.95).
In contrast to the other Gospels, Luke is most notable for according an overt and prominent role to women as they are main characters in the birth, infancy narratives and the resurrection appearances, which is unique to Luke (Corley, 1993: 15). Furthermore, Luke makes reference to 13 women that are not mentioned in the other Gospels (Corley, 1993: 25).
However, the significance attached to the representation of women in Luke is somewhat undermined by Seim’s emphasis on the