Were There Any Female Authors In The Bible?

The Bible is perhaps one of the most important and influential books in history. Regardless of whether or not one is a person of faith, the Bible is still inarguably a significant historical and literary text, offering insights into the past as well as continuing to be one of the most predominant religious books in the world. But there is one other fact about the Bible that is almost impossible to contest: It is pretty much dominated by men.

There is no one single author of the Bible. The Protestant Bible is a collection of 66 books, and the Catholic, 73 books, divided into two parts, the Old Testament and the New Testament, written by about 40 different authors (via Bible Study Tools). According to both Jewish and Christian tradition, Moses wrote the first five books of the Old Testament, and in the New Testament, Paul the Apostle authored 13 of the books, while the four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are traditionally considered to have been written by the apostles for whom they are named, according to History. Although these authors were writing over the span of about 1,500 years, they do have one thing in common: They are all men. And while there are several notable women featured in the Bible, did any of them get to have any say in the actual writing of the sacred texts?

The author of the Epistle to the Hebrews is unknown

The short, yet somewhat satisfying answer is: maybe. Women like Ruth, Mary Magdalene, and of course Mary, the Mother of Jesus, are some of the most important people in the Bible and remain significant figures today. However, either none of them wrote Biblical texts or, if they did, their work was lost or never akcnowledged in the books that would become the Bible.

There is one female disciple of Jesus whose writings may have made it into the final version of the New Testament. Priscilla and her husband Aquila were among the early church's first missionaries, who worked and traveled with Paul the Apostle to help preach, teach, and lead the early church in Ephesus, according to Faithward.

The Epistle to the Hebrews, which is often called the "fifth gospel," is an important part of the New Testament, yet no one knows who the real author of the book is. Scholars have debated quite a few theories, including that it was authored by Paul the Apostle or by another church leader, a contemporary of Paul's named Apollos. However, more recent scholarship has suggested that Priscilla may have been the book's real author.

Some scholars believe Priscilla may have written or co-written the Epistle to the Hebrews

Some evidence in the text of the Epistle to the Hebrews seems to point to a female author, particularly the emphasis placed on other women and their accomplishments throughout the epistle. In the Epistle to the Hebrews, the writer seems to empathize with other women, mentioning three of them among the catalog of faith heroes, according to CBE International. The theologian Dr. Harnack also pointed out that the book frequently uses the term "we" as well as "I," which could suggest there was more than one author. It is possible that both Priscilla and Aquila, the missionary couple, could have been the joint authors of the Epistle to the Hebrews.

It is also notable that when Luke was writing the Acts of the Apostles, Priscilla's name was always mentioned in writing before her husband's name, which was uncommon in naming conventions at that time, according to Preach It Teach It. This seems to further point to the fact that Priscilla was widely respected by both men and women for her teaching and ministry, with both Luke and Paul calling her someone "who explained the way of God more accurately" (Acts 18:26, via CBE International). Priscilla was certainly a very important woman within the early church, so there is a chance that the Bible may feature at least one woman writer after all.