Raised from Obscurity: A Narratival and Theological Study of the Characterization of Women in Luke-Acts

By Greg W. Forbes and Scott D. Harrower

An examination of the role of women in Luke-Acts, their significance in Luke’s narrative of salvation, and the theology implicit in their portrayal.

ISBN: 9780227175798


Luke-Acts contains many and diverse female characters, many of whom play significant roles in the unfolding drama of God’s plan of salvation through Jesus and the early church. Women followers of Jesus are fully-fledged disciples who prove to be reliable and insightful, participating in God’s mission at all levels. They act as interpreters of salvation history, God’s prophetic mouthpieces, witnesses to the resurrection, proclaimers and teachers of the gospel, and patrons and leaders of the early church.

At the heart of this narratival exposure lies a particular theology of women. This narratival presentation and theology is rich and quite remarkable given the socio-religious climate in which Luke wrote. An appreciation of this “narratival theology” is important, not only for a well-rounded understanding of Luke-Acts, but as a vital part of the variegated witness of the New Testament regarding the role of women in God’s new community.

Additional information

Dimensions229 × 153 mm


Trade InformationJPOD

About the Author

Greg W. Forbes is Professor of New Testament and Greek at Melbourne School of Theology in Australia.

Scott D. Harrower is Assistant Professor of Theology and History at Ridley College, Melbourne in Australia.


Foreword by Lynn H. Cohick

1. Introduction and Methodology
2. Women in Judaism and the Greco-Roman World
3. The Infancy Narratives (Luke 1:5-2:52)
4. Galilean Ministry (Luke 3:1-9:50)
5. Travel Narrative (Luke 9:51-19:28)
6. Jerusalem Narrative (Luke 19:29-24:53)
7. The Purpose and Structure of Acts
8. The Birth of the Church (Acts 1-2)
9. The Church in Jerusalem (Acts 3-12)
10. The Church in the Greco-Roman World (Acts 13-28)
11. Summary and Conclusions

Index of Names


Endorsements and Reviews

The only way to get to the realities of women among the followers of Jesus and in the earliest churches is methodological patience. We must probe the evidence from all angles – social realities, archaeological studies, exegetical examinations, and theological perspectives. What Forbes and Harrower offer in Raised from Obscurity is a profound literary propositional analysis in its many dimensions. This book will become a necessary beginning for all future studies of women in Luke-Acts and will challenge more than a few who are intent on suppressing the voices of women. In this book women in Luke-Acts witness to Jesus with clarity and power.
Scot McKnight, Professor of New Testament, Northern Seminary, Lombard, IL

In Raised from Obscurity Forbes and Harrower provide a sensitive narrative and theological reading of women in Luke-Acts. They show Luke’s mosaic of women both in the ministry of Jesus and in the early church, raising awareness and possibilities for women of faith today. This is a book that will resource scholars, pastors, and preachers from across the theological spectrum.
Sarah Harris, NT Lecturer, Carey Baptist College, Auckland, NZ

A thorough study of the women in Luke-Acts…. [Raised from Obscurity] should be taken into consideration in theological debates concerning the place of women in Christian ministry today.
Melanie A. Howard, in Biblical Theology Bulletin, Vol 47

This is a carefully argued and thorough book which aims to integrate insights from narrative criticism with a theological reading of Luke-Acts, seeking to recover Luke’s theology of women.
Alison M. Jack, in Journal for the Study of the New Testament, Vol 39, No 5