Rev Dr Michael Banner, Dean and Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge

The medical profession treats women very poorly. If only they could take the example of Jesus and his twelve male apostles. The Church always wanted to treat women equally but never quite got round to it. So for today’s thought: treat women the way the Church always planned to do.


6 thoughts on “Rev Dr Michael Banner, Dean and Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge

  1. This was a bit odd. As usual, Rev Peter sums it up perfectly. Banner even says that Jesus’s miracle cure of the woman happens by accident when she sneaks up on him because she doesn’t consider herself worthy to meet him as one human to another.
    If God wants his humans to treat men and women equally then why didn’t he explain that explicitly in his Holy Magic Book? Surely he realised in his guiding of society in response to all those hundreds of years of prayers that women’s roles would change remarkably in developing countries after the industrial revolution? Or was the Book written by men at a particular time who didn’t realise that things might change?


  2. Indeed, @ PaulT… funny that; yet believers still think the BBoMS contains wisdom and instruction for people of today.

    When women’s ordination was the hot topic of the day back in the ‘90s, the strongest argument against (even supported by WAOW – Women Against the Ordination of Women) was that your man Jesus had no female disciples; and since the men he chose were effectively ‘ordained’ to carry on his work, ipso facto no woman could be so ordained. So, despite banner’s insistence that Jesus was so very, very inclusive of women, he overlooked the inability of his adherents – even 2 millennia later – to follow his example, and to adopt a completely opposite stance instead. So, what went wrong?

    As for the miracle cure, it offers too many questions to be taken so readily as ‘truth’ by today’s ‘thought’ provider. Were Jesus’ clothes magic, and capable of effecting miracles? This would make sense in the light of the subsequent craze for ‘relics’ – fragments of the true cross, bones, hair, toe-nails etc of the Saints; the Turin Shroud &c. &c. But why does Jesus say that he felt ‘power’ go out of him, when the woman only touched his garment, not his person? When she confesses to what she has done Jesus tells her that her faith alone has cured her. I take this to mean that she was healed because she believed in Jesus as son of the IMF – and her touching his clothing actually made no difference. Of course there’s no point in wrangling over these questions as the whole story is bonkers, and mere fable.

    Re miracles, I enjoyed the series of cartoons that appeared in Punch in the 1990s, featuring Jesus and his miracles. One shows him raising Lazarus from the dead. Standing nearby is a man with an opened tin of sardines, and the fish are all jumping about. He declares “I think I caught a bit of fall-out from that last miracle!” Another shows Jesus engaged in healing the sick, whilst one of his disciples is turning away a man carrying a kitchen appliance. “Sorry,” says the disciple, “he doesn’t do toasters.”


  3. I like that last one, Liverpudlian!

    One can almost reconstruct Dr Banner’s thought processes here. “Ooh look, here’s a story in the news that I can turn into a TftD. Now, what have we got in the BBoMS about healing women? Umm…well, there’s the healing of Jairus’s daughter, but that’s a bit humdrum. What about the mystery woman who touches Jesus’s cloak, and is instantly healed? Shows the importance of faith and humility, as well as Jesus’s supernatural powers. Yes, that’ll do”.

    But what was the point of it? Quite apart from leading with the chin, given the systematic misogyny that all the churches have shown over the centuries, as Banner rather shamefacedly admitted. Are Christians really incapable of working out that it’s a good thing to give women equal consideration when it comes to medical treatment unless they’re told by a man in a dog-collar? Perhaps they are.

    I can’t help feeling that there’s more to this tale than the simple anecdote that Banner presented. The woman would, of course have been perpetually ritually unclean – if the was Jewish, that is. Was she a gentile? Is this supposed to be another example of the faith of the outsider trumping that of the orthodox. of overturning the established order? And what is the significance of the 12 years’ duration of her illness? Jewish story-tellers didn’t come up with figures like that at random. I can’t be bothered to research it, but I bet there’s a deeper allegorical meaning hidden somewhere in there.


    1. I see we overlap somewhat. I have to grant you precedence on the evidence of the clock but in my defence your contribution had not appeared when I sent mine. At least I am not uniquely mistaken; we might both be right.


      1. I think we should agree that we’re both right!

        Since writing my comment above, I’ve found a possible explanation for the 12-year figure, connected with Jairus’s daughter also being about 12 years old, so the woman’s haemorrhage began when the daughter was born. Jairus was one of the officials who ran the synagogue. So the healing of the woman’s haemorrhage meant she was cleansed and could attend synagogue again; and saving the life of Jairus’s daughter meant she could start attending, as she was now old enough.

        Not terribly significant after all, then. Still, it’s the sort of neat little juxtaposition you often find in Biblical yarns.


  4. Here I am peering over the precipice at the edge of my knowledge but….
    Perhaps there is more happening in this fable/miracle/parable than is apparent. Was this “issue of blood” a chronic post-partum haemorrhage?
    “Postpartum haemorrhage remains the second leading direct cause of maternal deaths in the UK and the leading cause of maternal mortality in the world.”
    and before safe medical intervention could last a long time. The ritual cleanliness of women took this into account (Leviticus 15, 19ff) so the woman would have been unclean for all that time. This would have imposed considerable penalties and duties on her and her family and, incidentally, prevented her paying the prescribed sacrifices for purification.
    Taken wiith the sin/sickness paradigm seen elsewhere in the OT and NT this cure/forgiveness shows Jesus’s spiritual and temporal power and also his awareness of others’ dependence on this power for a cure.
    If it ever happened.
    Consider the target painted.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s