Table 3: Gender-related Criteria for Authorship of the Birth Narratives of Jesus.




Things a man might be more likely to recall/report



What dignitaries did

Matthew 2: 11 (Wise men visited)


What happened that provided family with provision

Matthew 2: 11 (Wise men brought gold and other valuables, which served to pay for the emergency trip to Egypt, if not the long stay there)


More likely who will note it when any male doesn’t get the honor he thinks he should (a man gets snubbed or a woman gets the honor instead)

Matthew 2: 16 (Herod’s anger)

Matthew 2: 11 (Wise men didn’t worship Joseph but focused on Mary and Jesus, Joseph might have felt slighted, if he were there at the time)


More likely to remember visitors who are more significant in the social hierarchy of that day

Matthew 2: 11 (Wise men, of high status)


More likely to remember not having sex with his wife (Catholics and Protestants disagree on whether or not Mary was a perpetual virgin)

Matthew 1: 25 (Joseph knew her not until after Jesus was born)


Things a woman might be more likely to recall/report



Place in house where your baby was born


Luke 2: 7 (guestroom full)

Type of crib used for baby


Luke 2: 7 (manger)

Type of baby clothes worn


Luke 2: 7 (swaddling clothes)

Conversations with other female relatives or women encountered


Luke 1: 40-45 (Mary talks with Elisabeth)

Luke 2: 37 (Age of Anna remembered but not exact age of Simeon)

How long one woman spent time with another woman


Luke 1: 56 (three months)

Concerned with lost/missing child


Luke 2: 45 (Jesus is missing)

More likely to remember visitors (to one’s temporary home or during your travels away from home) who are insignificant in the social hierarchy of that day


Luke 2: 16 (Shepherds, considered to be of low social status, visit Jesus)

Luke 2: 25-38 (Anna and Simeon remembered, persons of low social status from a human perspective)

(*) Evidence does not fit the hypothesis.