Saturday, December 19, 2015

Bible Bechdel

By now the Bechdel test is a pretty familiar way to evaluate whether a movie or book is good for women.  Or at least is measures the presence of women in a simple test: There are two women with names who have a conversation about something other than a man.  I wondered about this test as I prepared to preach on Mary and Elizabeth.  I have made it my business to know women's stories in the Bible and there are many women whose stories are inspiring or heartbreaking, who were integral to the arc of the narrative.  But there were not so many women across the Bible who had relationships with other women un-related to men.  

The Bible is a product of it's cultural context and we get to hear a lot about men and all the stuff they say and do.   Frankly, maybe I should be a little surprised that there are any women in there at all.  As it happens the Luke story of Mary and Elizabeth just barely passes because the conversation has to do with the boy babies in utero.  Thanks to Google I didn't have to scan scripture myself.  (I appreciated both the post and the comments from this blogger).  There are only three.  Four if you stretch it to the apocrypha:

Ruth 1:8-17, 2:2.
Mark 16:3
Luke 1:42
Tobit 7:16

Ruth is a favorite of mine (I did name my daughter for one of the two women therein) and while ultimately Ruth and Naomi's goal is to get Ruth re-married, their relationship to each other is central.  In Mark the women at Jesus tomb discuss the problem of the stone in their way.  Mary and Elizabeth in Luke, and in Tobit a mother giving her daughter advice on her wedding day.  That's it!  

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