By Emily McFarlan Miller
Religion News Service
Emerging from the narrow entrance to a cave south of Jerusalem, scholar Joan Taylor found herself saying a blessing for Salome.
Salome is described in the Gospels as following and ministering to Jesus and is named as one of many women present at his death and at his tomb after his resurrection.
Ancient Greek graffiti inside the cave also asks “holy Salome” for mercy, suggesting to Taylor and her travel companion, scholar Helen Bond, that Salome may have been remembered as a healer in the early centuries of the church, just as many of Jesus’ male disciples were.
“These early women disciples of Jesus should be celebrated. They should be restored somehow, as this place should be restored,” Taylor says, sitting outside the cave in the British Channel 4 documentary “Jesus’ Female Disciples: The New Evidence.”
“They were working alongside the men. They were as important to the early Jesus movement as the men were,” she continues. “They are clearly there in our texts, and to forget that is a shame. If it’s all about men and the band of 12 men around Jesus, we’re forgetting the other half of the story.”
The documentary gained unexpected attention, with the duo writing it had received more press coverage than any other religious program since the BBC’s “Son of God” in 2001.
Taylor and Bond — who also wrote the book “Women Remembered: Jesus’ Female Disciples,” which releases next month in the United States and details the scholarship that didn’t fit into their 50-minute film — aren’t the only scholars working to restore the picture of Jesus’ first female followers.
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