Portrayal of women in literature
Negative ideas of women?
The predominance of male authors
Until comparatively recently, the majority of published writers were men and the portrayal of women in literature was inevitably one-sided. In the ancient world, literacy was severely limited, and the majority of those who could write were male. However, the contribution of women to oral culture should not be underestimated – in folk songs, stories and nursery rhymes – a tradition which eventually fed into written culture.
The influence of Judaeo-Christian teaching
Western literature has been seriously affected by a distortion of Judaeo-Christian teaching about women.
‘there is neither ... male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus
' (Galatians 3:28
He commanded men to:
‘love their wives as their own bodies', ‘just as Christ
loved the church and gave himself up for her' (Ephesians 5:28
- In spite of references to women being silent in church (notably in 1 Corinthians 14:33-35), Paul is quite prepared to list women in church leadership amongst his commendations: Romans 16:1-16 includes a deaconess and perhaps an apostle amongst the female ‘saints' and ‘fellow-workers'.
However, by the time Chaucer was writing, the Judeo-Christian approach had been significantly re-interpreted.
Some people are inclined to blame St Augustine of Hippo (354-430 CE), who saw fallen sexuality as a key component of original sin. Augustine, like Paul, is often misunderstood, but he was undoubtedly influenced by his own youthful struggles with lust. He also propounded the view that Mary, the mother of Jesus, remained a perpetual virgin – this view has been maintained by the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Church, although there is mention in the New Testament of Jesus having siblings.
By the Middle Ages, it was commonly accepted that Eve was principally to blame for the disobedience that led to the fall of humanity. Greek ideas had replaced Jewish in Christian thinking, including the notion that the soul was good but the body evil. Heretical though this might have been, it didn't stop sexuality being regarded as somehow evil. One of the few recorded medieval women writers, the mystic Margery Kempe, aspired to celibacy even within marriage.
Madonna or whore?
Unsurprisingly, medieval stereotypes of women were quite polarised. Women were seen either as saints capable of rejecting their sexuality totally or as the very embodiments of temptation. The cult of the Virgin Mary grew alongside the view that, although child-bearing was an unfortunate necessity, sex was not really a good thing and women were dangerous temptresses.
The courtly love tradition (See Women in literature: Courtly love ethic) might be seen as giving women an elevated status. Few women however had the status of ‘lady'. And some of those who did were rather ambiguous morally: the great romances of Lancelot and Guinevere, or Tristram and Isolde, were based on what were essentially adulterous relationships, that resulted in personal or social tragedy.
Although women feature strongly in Chaucer's earlier works, such as The Boke of the Duchess and Troilus and Criseyde, we only find three women on the pilgrimage described in The Canterbury Tales:
- The Wife of Bath
- The Prioress
- ‘Another nun' who accompanies her but is hardly mentioned again.
The two principal women reflect the only ways that women at the time could achieve independence and status: in the Church or in a trade. The Wife of Bath represents those whose skills, such as weaving, gave them financial independence, though Chaucer's character seems to have grown wealthy mainly by marrying a series of rich old men.
It is tempting to see the Wife as a champion of female rights, and her Tale brings out the idea that women should have maistrie over men, but the Wife is, of course, a character in a story written by a man. She has had five husbands, like the woman of Samaria who is challenged by Jesus (in John 4:17-18), 'withouten oother compaignye in youthe'. Her fifth husband, whom she married for love rather than riches, proved to be less compliant – and very well read. She claims to have put him in his place eventually, but Chaucer enjoys making the Wife recount (and try to refute) all the misogynistic tales with which he has assaulted her.
More on Chaucer's women: Some critics have seen a debate within The Canterbury Tales on marriage and on the respective roles of husband and wife. The Tales associated with this debate, apart from the Wife of Bath's, include the Clerk's Tale, the Merchant's Tale and the Franklin's Tale. The Miller's Tale might also be considered.
Chaucer's Wife of Bath may be a stereotype – the harridan or ‘shrew' is found in other medieval writings (such as Noah's wife, in some of the Mystery plays).
- By the sixteenth century, there were other stereotypes, fostered by the courtly love tradition and by the emergence of the sonnet and Arcadian idylls. The idealised ladies of most sonnets or the shepherdesses of the pastoral verses bear little resemblance to real women.
- By the time of Shakespeare one can detect a note of cynicism – in Sonnet 130 he writes ‘my mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun ...' and proceeds to turn the conventional image of the mistress on its head. This woman's breath ‘reeks'.
Women in Shakespeare's plays
The resurgence of drama in the late sixteenth century allowed for the presentation of female roles on stage, and these reach their climax in the women portrayed by Shakespeare and Webster in particular.
- Women were acted by young men, which meant there were fewer parts written for them and they often had less to say – in the earlier plays, anyway. Romeo speaks much more than Juliet. There is also an unusually high proportion of single fathers in the plays.
- Whether the result of good actors or his own desire for more complexity, Shakespeare's later heroines have plenty to say for themselves. Interestingly, some of them are most articulate when disguised as men, e.g.,
- Rosalind (As You Like It)
- Viola (Twelfth Night)
- Portia (The Merchant of Venice)
- ‘Infinite variety' seems to sum up the various female roles – it is hard to make generalizations about Beatrice, Lady Macbeth, Cleopatra and Desdemona. Most are seen as wives or daughters, but nieces are often more articulate, and there is at least one dominant mother: Volumnia in Coriolanus.
- Webster's women characters, notably the Duchess of Malfi and Vittoria Corombona, are amongst the first to be overtly sexual, rather than just the objects of another's desire.
The seventeenth century
There is a wide range of female representation in the literature of the era, although the common stereotypes are still prevalent:
- Mistresses still appear to be coy, in the poems of such varied writers as Donne, Herrick and Marvell.
- Much has been written about Milton's portrayal of Eve, in Paradise Lost. Superficially, he could often sound misogynistic, but closer readings show much more complexity in his treatment of the first woman. In his time, Milton was actually accused of being too progressive, thanks to pamphlets he wrote on divorce, and it is important to separate Milton, the child of his time, from the thinker who pushed boundaries philosophically and imaginatively. His Eve had a human dignity that reflected Milton's deeply held Christian values, imperfect though her presentation may be by modern standards.
- Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress is also part of the established literary canon, and has had immense influence; it is easily overlooked that Part Two of the book is about Christiana, the wife of the original pilgrim. She has her own moral strength, even though she has male protection for much of her pilgrimage. The established canon of literature largely overlooked female writers, but two at least from this period are now taken seriously:
- Emilia Lanier (1569-1645)
- Aphra Behn (1640-89).
Women on the stage
After 1660, female actors were allowed on stage in England, and sexual intrigue became the staple of the theatre. Amongst the stereotypes of Restoration comedy were sexually voracious young widows and older women. The witty, intelligent heroines of the eighteenth century comedies of manners follow a tradition extending from Wycherley and Congreve through to Goldsmith and Sheridan. This tradition also drew on the stereotypes of the Italian Commedia dell'arte, such as the witty servant girl, the bawdy wench, the dutiful daughter, the disobedient daughter and the unattainable angel – stereotypes which have survived to this day in some Hollywood presentations.
The rise of the novel
Prose narrative emerged in the eighteenth century novel as a dominant literary form, and with it a much more nuanced portrayal of women.
- Initially, the novel depicted women as viewed by men, and the typical heroines were either paragons of virtue or of vice: for every Pamela Andrews or Clarissa Harlowe there was a Moll Flanders or a Fanny Hill.
- Where Defoe, Richardson and Fielding had cleared a path, women novelists soon followed. Fanny Burney, Ann Radcliffe and supremely Jane Austen depicted life and society from a woman's perspective.
- Women in Dickens have been seen as stereotypes: the harridans, the silly little wives, the femme fatales, but generalizations are dangerous. In his late novel Our Mutual Friend, Lizzie Hexham is a rounded, psychologically believable character.
- Thackeray's Vanity Fair is noted for the strength of its female roles.
- Women come into their own supremely in the novels of the Brontë sisters. In Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë depicts a woman who takes control of her own destiny – in a way that none of Jane Austen's heroines do, with the possible exception of Fanny Price in Mansfield Park.
- Two of Mrs Gaskell's novels, Ruth and Mary Barton, focus on the economic realities of women within society.
- George Eliot believed that duty supplied personal purpose and meaning, which is reflected in many of the female characters in her novels, who are notable for their psychological complexity.
The modern perception
Over the last 150 years, novelists, whether male or female, have explored the psychology and social roles of women with increasing depth:
- Thomas Hardy, D. H. Lawrence, E. M. Forster and Virginia Woolf have all made significant contributions to the perception of women in the literary canon, particularly in challenging traditional perceptions about the ‘purity' of women.
- The influence of other European writers during the Nineteenth century and subsequently has been significant. Flaubert's Madame Bovary and Tolstoy's Anna Karenina contain almost archetypal characters, and dramatists such as Ibsen, Strindberg, Chekhov and Brecht have presented memorable female characters.
- Women writers, such as Virginia Woolf, Iris Murdoch and Doris Lessing, stand with male writers of the 20th century as significant literary figures.
- More recently, the feminist movement has produced a more conscious depiction of the roles of women. Angela Carter's reworking of traditional fairy tales and Margaret Atwood's Handmaid's Tale are key texts in this respect.
More on female roles in literature: Depictions of motherhood can be explored alongside presentations of women as daughters or wives. The femme fatale, from the Arthurian Morgan le Fay to Keats' La Belle Dame sans Merci also makes a fascinating study.
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1O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. 2Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? 3Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? 4Did you suffer so many things in vain - if indeed it was in vain? 5Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith - 6just as Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness? 7Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. 8And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, In you shall all the nations be blessed. 9So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. 10For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them. 11Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for The righteous shall live by faith. 12But the law is not of faith, rather The one who does them shall live by them. 13Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us - for it is written, Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree - 14so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith. 15To give a human example, brothers: even with a man-made covenant, no one annuls it or adds to it once it has been ratified. 16Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, And to offsprings, referring to many, but referring to one, And to your offspring, who is Christ. 17This is what I mean: the law, which came 430 years afterward, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to make the promise void. 18For if the inheritance comes by the law, it no longer comes by promise; but God gave it to Abraham by a promise. 19Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made, and it was put in place through angels by an intermediary. 20Now an intermediary implies more than one, but God is one. 21Is the law then contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law. 22But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. 23Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. 24So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. 25But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 27For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise.
1O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? 2This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 3Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? 4Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain. 5He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 6Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. 7Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. 8And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. 9So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham. 10For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. 11But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. 12And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. 13Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: 14That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. 15Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man's covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto. 16Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. 17And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. 18For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise. 19Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. 20Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one. 21Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. 22But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. 23But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. 24Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. 26For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. 27For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 29And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.
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1Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. 3But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. 4Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. 5For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7Therefore do not become partners with them; 8for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9(for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 11Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. 13But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, 14for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. 15Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. 25Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30because we are members of his body. 31Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. 32This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
1Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; 2And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. 3But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; 4Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. 5For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 6Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. 7Be not ye therefore partakers with them. 8For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: 9(For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) 10Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. 11And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. 12For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. 13But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. 14Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. 15See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, 16Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. 18And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; 19Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; 20Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; 21Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. 22Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. 25Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. 28So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 29For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: 30For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. 31For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. 32This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.
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1Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy. 2For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit. 3On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation. 4The one who speaks in a tongue builds up himself, but the one who prophesies builds up the church. 5Now I want you all to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be built up. 6Now, brothers, if I come to you speaking in tongues, how will I benefit you unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or teaching? 7If even lifeless instruments, such as the flute or the harp, do not give distinct notes, how will anyone know what is played? 8And if the bugle gives an indistinct sound, who will get ready for battle? 9So with yourselves, if with your tongue you utter speech that is not intelligible, how will anyone know what is said? For you will be speaking into the air. 10There are doubtless many different languages in the world, and none is without meaning, 11but if I do not know the meaning of the language, I will be a foreigner to the speaker and the speaker a foreigner to me. 12So with yourselves, since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church. 13Therefore, one who speaks in a tongue should pray that he may interpret. 14For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays but my mind is unfruitful. 15What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also. 16Otherwise, if you give thanks with your spirit, how can anyone in the position of an outsider say Amen to your thanksgiving when he does not know what you are saying? 17For you may be giving thanks well enough, but the other person is not being built up. 18I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. 19Nevertheless, in church I would rather speak five words with my mind in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue. 20Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature. 21In the Law it is written, By people of strange tongues and by the lips of foreigners will I speak to this people, and even then they will not listen to me, says the Lord. 22Thus tongues are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers, while prophecy is a sign not for unbelievers but for believers. 23If, therefore, the whole church comes together and all speak in tongues, and outsiders or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are out of your minds? 24But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all, 25the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you. 26What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up. 27If any speak in a tongue, let there be only two or at most three, and each in turn, and let someone interpret. 28But if there is no one to interpret, let each of them keep silent in church and speak to himself and to God. 29Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what is said. 30If a revelation is made to another sitting there, let the first be silent. 31For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all be encouraged, 32and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets. 33For God is not a God of confusion but of peace. As in all the churches of the saints, 34the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says. 35If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church. 36Or was it from you that the word of God came? Or are you the only ones it has reached? 37If anyone thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual, he should acknowledge that the things I am writing to you are a command of the Lord. 38If anyone does not recognize this, he is not recognized. 39So, my brothers, earnestly desire to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. 40But all things should be done decently and in order.
1Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy. 2For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries. 3But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort. 4He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church. 5I would that ye all spake with tongues but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying. 6Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine? 7And even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped? 8For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle? 9So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air. 10There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification. 11Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian unto me. 12Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church. 13Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret. 14For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful. 15What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also. 16Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest? 17For thou verily givest thanks well, but the other is not edified. 18I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all: 19Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue. 20Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men. 21In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord. 22Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe. 23If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad? 24But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all: 25And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth. 26How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying. 27If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret. 28But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God. 29Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge. 30If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace. 31For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted. 32And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. 33For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. 34Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. 35And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church. 36What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only? 37If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. 38But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant. 39Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues. 40Let all things be done decently and in order.
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- King James Version
1I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church at Cenchreae, 2that you may welcome her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints, and help her in whatever she may need from you, for she has been a patron of many and of myself as well. 3Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, 4who risked their necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks but all the churches of the Gentiles give thanks as well. 5Greet also the church in their house. Greet my beloved Epaenetus, who was the first convert to Christ in Asia. 6Greet Mary, who has worked hard for you. 7Greet Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners. They are well known to the apostles, and they were in Christ before me. 8Greet Ampliatus, my beloved in the Lord. 9Greet Urbanus, our fellow worker in Christ, and my beloved Stachys. 10Greet Apelles, who is approved in Christ. Greet those who belong to the family of Aristobulus. 11Greet my kinsman Herodion. Greet those in the Lord who belong to the family of Narcissus. 12Greet those workers in the Lord, Tryphaena and Tryphosa. Greet the beloved Persis, who has worked hard in the Lord. 13Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord; also his mother, who has been a mother to me as well. 14Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas, and the brothers who are with them. 15Greet Philologus, Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints who are with them. 16Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ greet you. 17I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. 18For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. 19For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil. 20The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. 21Timothy, my fellow worker, greets you; so do Lucius and Jason and Sosipater, my kinsmen. 22I Tertius, who wrote this letter, greet you in the Lord. 23Gaius, who is host to me and to the whole church, greets you. Erastus, the city treasurer, and our brother Quartus, greet you. 24 25Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages 26but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith - 27to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.
1I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea: 2That ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for she hath been a succourer of many, and of myself also. 3Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus: 4Who have for my life laid down their own necks: unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles. 5Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Salute my well-beloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia unto Christ. 6Greet Mary, who bestowed much labour on us. 7Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellow-prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me. 8Greet Amplias my beloved in the Lord. 9Salute Urbane, our helper in Christ, and Stachys my beloved. 10Salute Apelles approved in Christ. Salute them which are of Aristobulus' household. 11Salute Herodion my kinsman. Greet them that be of the household of Narcissus, which are in the Lord. 12Salute Tryphena and Tryphosa, who labour in the Lord. Salute the beloved Persis, which laboured much in the Lord. 13Salute Rufus chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine. 14Salute Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermas, Patrobas, Hermes, and the brethren which are with them. 15Salute Philologus, and Julia, Nereus, and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints which are with them. 16Salute one another with an holy kiss. The churches of Christ salute you. 17Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. 18For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. 19For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil. 20And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen. 21Timotheus my workfellow, and Lucius, and Jason, and Sosipater, my kinsmen, salute you. 22I Tertius, who wrote this epistle, salute you in the Lord. 23Gaius mine host, and of the whole church, saluteth you. Erastus the chamberlain of the city saluteth you, and Quartus a brother. 24The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. 25Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, 26But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith: 27To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen.
- English Standard Version
- King James Version
1Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John 2(although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples), 3he left Judea and departed again for Galilee. 4And he had to pass through Samaria. 5So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6Jacob's well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour. 7A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, Give me a drink. 8(For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) 9The Samaritan woman said to him, How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria? (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) 10Jesus answered her, If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, Give me a drink, you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water. 11The woman said to him, Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock. 13Jesus said to her, Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life. 15The woman said to him, Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water. 16Jesus said to her, Go, call your husband, and come here. 17The woman answered him, I have no husband. Jesus said to her, You are right in saying, I have no husband; 18for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true. 19The woman said to him, Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. 20Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship. 21Jesus said to her, Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth. 25The woman said to him, I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things. 26Jesus said to her, I who speak to you am he. 27Just then his disciples came back. They marveled that he was talking with a woman, but no one said, What do you seek? or, Why are you talking with her? 28So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, 29Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ? 30They went out of the town and were coming to him. 31Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, Rabbi, eat. 32But he said to them, I have food to eat that you do not know about. 33So the disciples said to one another, Has anyone brought him something to eat? 34Jesus said to them, My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. 35Do you not say, There are yet four months, then comes the harvest? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. 36Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. 37For here the saying holds true, One sows and another reaps. 38I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor. 39Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony, He told me all that I ever did. 40So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. 41And many more believed because of his word. 42They said to the woman, It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world. 43After the two days he departed for Galilee. 44(For Jesus himself had testified that a prophet has no honor in his own hometown.) 45So when he came to Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, having seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the feast. For they too had gone to the feast. 46So he came again to Cana in Galilee, where he had made the water wine. And at Capernaum there was an official whose son was ill. 47When this man heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went to him and asked him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. 48So Jesus said to him, Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe. 49The official said to him, Sir, come down before my child dies. 50Jesus said to him, Go; your son will live. The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went on his way. 51As he was going down, his servants met him and told him that his son was recovering. 52So he asked them the hour when he began to get better, and they said to him, Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him. 53The father knew that was the hour when Jesus had said to him, Your son will live. And he himself believed, and all his household. 54This was now the second sign that Jesus did when he had come from Judea to Galilee.
1When therefore the LORD knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John, 2(Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,) 3He left Judaea, and departed again into Galilee. 4And he must needs go through Samaria. 5Then cometh he to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. 6Now Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour. 7There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink. 8(For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.) 9Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans. 10Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. 11The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water? 12Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle? 13Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: 14But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. 15The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw. 16Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither. 17The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: 18For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly. 19The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. 20Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. 21Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. 23But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. 25The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. 26Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he. 27And upon this came his disciples, and marvelled that he talked with the woman: yet no man said, What seekest thou? or, Why talkest thou with her? 28The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, 29Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ? 30Then they went out of the city, and came unto him. 31In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat. 32But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of. 33Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him ought to eat? 34Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. 35Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. 36And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. 37And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth. 38I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours. 39And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did. 40So when the Samaritans were come unto him, they besought him that he would tarry with them: and he abode there two days. 41And many more believed because of his own word; 42And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world. 43Now after two days he departed thence, and went into Galilee. 44For Jesus himself testified, that a prophet hath no honour in his own country. 45Then when he was come into Galilee, the Galilaeans received him, having seen all the things that he did at Jerusalem at the feast: for they also went unto the feast. 46So Jesus came again into Cana of Galilee, where he made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman, whose son was sick at Capernaum. 47When he heard that Jesus was come out of Judaea into Galilee, he went unto him, and besought him that he would come down, and heal his son: for he was at the point of death. 48Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe. 49The nobleman saith unto him, Sir, come down ere my child die. 50Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way; thy son liveth. And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way. 51And as he was now going down, his servants met him, and told him, saying, Thy son liveth. 52Then enquired he of them the hour when he began to amend. And they said unto him, Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him. 53So the father knew that it was at the same hour, in the which Jesus said unto him, Thy son liveth: and himself believed, and his whole house. 54This is again the second miracle that Jesus did, when he was come out of Judaea into Galilee.
A term which refers to the common standards of ethics or shared history between Jews and Christians.
1) In the Bible a member of the Hebrew race
2) Someone who belongs to the Jewish faith which believes in one God and the importance of Jewish Law.
A 'testament' is a covenant or binding agreement and is a term used in the Bible of God's relationship with his people). The sacred writings of Judaism (the Hebrew Bible). These also form the first part of the Christian Bible.
In the Old Testament a Philistine woman from the valley of Sorek, loved by Samson.
In the Old Testament Jezebel was the wife of King Ahab, and was reponsible with him for the death of Naboth who was killed so that they could gain his vineyard. She was reknowned for painting her face and adorning herself to taunt King Jehu.
In the Old Testament a leader of Israel, identified as a prophetess, a judge and the wife of Lapidoth.
Hebrew queen who saved her people from persecution.
A 'testament' is a covenant (binding agreement), a term used in the Bible of God's relationship with his people. The New Testament is the second part of the Christian Bible. Its name comes from the new covenant or relationship with God.
The author of the third Gospel and the book of Acts in the New Testament.
The 'Apostle to the Gentiles' (d. c. CE 65). Paul had a major role in setting up the Early Church and is believed to be the author of several letters in the Bible.
The name given to the man believed by Christians to be the Son of God. Also given the title Christ, meaning 'anointed one' or Messiah. His life is recorded most fully in the Four Gospels.
Title (eventually used as name) given to Jesus, refering to an anointed person set apart for a special task such as a king.
1. Term for a worshipping community of Christians.
2. The building in which Christians traditionally meet for worship.
3. The worldwide community of Christian believers.
In the New Testament the term is used of all Christians but gradually came to describe an especially holy person.
Bishop in North Africa who wrote a huge volume of literature, including many influential theological works
The disobedience of Adam and Eve in the Bible is known as the Fall of Humankind. Christians believe that humans from then on have had a a predispostion to disobey God.
State of disobedience to - and alienation from - God believed to have characterised human beings since the Fall of Adam and Eve.
The mother of Jesus. The Gospels state that Mary's pregnancy was brought about by the Holy Spirit and not through a human relationship; she is therefore known as the 'Virgin'.
Member of a worldwide Christian church which traces its origins from St. Peter, one of Jesus' original disciples. It has a continuous history from earliest Christianity.
Also called the Eastern, Greek or Russian Church. Developed from the Church of the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire.
The period of European history broadly between 1000AD-1500AD.
According to the book of Genesis in the Bible the first woman, said to have been created by God out of Adam's rib, to be his companion.
Adam and Eve's act of disobedience in the Garden of Eden described in the Old Testament Book of Genesis which led to estrangement from God for them and their descendants.
The opposite of goodness; thoughts and actions which are in opposition to God's will and result in wrongdoing and harm. That which opposes God.
Belonging to the Middle Ages.
A person who seeks direct spiritual encounter with God, usually through a life of self-denial and contemplation.
A commitment to remaining unmarried and abstaining from sexual intercourse. Required of monks and nuns, and of priests in the Roman Catholic church.
The act of tempting or something that entices an individual to do wrong. In the Bible, can come from a person's internal desires or from an external evil force such as the Devil.
1. A system of beliefs or devotion, often religious, and shaped by a dominant individual.
2. A small religious group which has beliefs that are regarded as excessively strange and controlling.
Mary, the mother of Jesus and wife of Joseph. It is traditionally understood that Mary was, and remained, a virgin during both the conception and birth of Jesus.
A tradition of aristocratic love-making developed in the medieval period, wherein a knightly lover woos a lady at distance. The literature of this tradition is often highly allegorical.
1. A traditional genre or mode which includes fantasy writing 2. A love story. 3. A Romance language is one that is derived from Latin.
1. Term for a worshipping community of Christians.
2. The building in which Christians traditionally meet for worship.
3. The worldwide community of Christian believers.
In the New Testament the area of Palestine occupied by the Samaritans.
In the Old Testament book of Genesis a righteous man who obeyed God. On God's instruction, Noah built an ark for himself, his family and two of every kind of living creature. They lived in the ark during a great flood and were saved.
A series of short plays or pageants created in the Middle Ages which dramatised episodes from the Bible.
A sonnet is a poem with a special structure. It has fourteen lines, which are organised in a particular manner, usually characterised by the pattern of rhyming, which changes as the ideas in the poem evolve.
Relating to an idealised view of those who live in a country or pastoral setting
1. Associated with spiritual care
2. A literary work depicting sheperds or rural life.
According to the book of Genesis in the Bible the first woman, said to have been created by God out of Adam's rib, to be his companion.
Name originally given to disciples of Jesus by outsiders and gradually adopted by the Early Church.
1. Someone who undertakes a journey to a holy place (such as a biblical site or the shrines of the saints) to seek God's help, to give thanks or as an act of penance.
2. A Christian journeying through life towards heaven.
A journey to a sacred place made for religious reasons. 2. In Christian thought, the journey of the believer through this world towards heaven.
The good moral qualities or desirable characteristics in a person or society.
Negative behaviour ranging from that considered immoral or wicked, to a character weakness or bad habit. The opposite of virtue.