Healing the female body

Representation of ideas about healing and the female body in Mark’s gospel


  • Zorodzai Dube University of Pretoria




Using narrative, reader-response and social feminist approaches, the study takes a discourse analysis of looking into representations of female bodies within the Jewish-Christian healthcare and Greek Hippocratic healthcare and how such surface in the representation of female bodies in Mark’s healing stories. The study finishes by looking into comparable biases found in some African communities. The gospel of Mark contains some of the early Christian memory concerning Jesus as folk healer and this study selects narratives in the gospel of Mark whereby Jesus dealt with illness pertaining female patients. Instead of dealing with all narratives whereby Jesus healed a female patient, the focus will be on the story concerning the healing of Simon’s mother-in-law and the story concerning the haemorrhaging woman. The underlying question is – what were the socio-cultural ideas concerning the female body and how do such ideas surface in the healing stories? The study hypothesises that, besides being stories that reveal Jesus’ Christological powers or power as folk healer, the healing stories are site to investigate social cultural frameworks concerning illness and gender.






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