xx John’s Gospel: The Way It Happened
the woman, from ankles to neck, hid beneath a bright blue linen chiton,girded about the middle with a braided belt that betrayed a shapelywaist. Dark hair spilled irreverently over her shoulders as she lockedeyes with Matthew.Matthew stared.
A woman offering to write the story of their Messiah? A Gentile, who pretends ignorance of how to act in the presence of men?
“I believe.” Ruth shrugged, stepping farther out into the courtyard.“Give
” Matthew sputtered. “
do you believe? Do younot know who this man is? What he promised? Because of this man,
my father and I lived in poverty for fteen years!” Matthew turned back toward the old Jew and brandished an index nger like a slender
club. “Fifteen years ago, we abandoned the trade guild here in Ephesus because of this … this pretend apostle and his dreams!”“Of course I know who he is.” Ruth lifted her chin, unperturbed.After a momentary stare-down with Matthew, she dropped her eyes tothe cot. “I will write the story for you, John.”“Better that the words of the Law be burned than entrusted towomen!” Matthew exclaimed. “No one will believe what a womanwrites, John. Women cannot even give evidence in a court of law, their testimony counts for nothing.”“Do not lecture me in the Law,” John ordered, wagging a bony
nger back at Matthew. “I am not so unlearned in rabbinic writings as
you might think. And why should you care who pens my story, if youno longer believe?”Ruth stood smirking by the cot while Matthew wrinkled his nose
and ignored her. John watched her hide a smile. She seemed quite pleased at how quickly she had gotten under Matthew’s skin, and Johnsensed the two were already acquainted. “Does your friend know the
Greek letters?” he asked Matthew, testing his perception.“As well as I,” Matthew admitted with a scowl. “She’s a Grecian.It’s her native language.”“Yes, I knew that already,” John confessed. “I knew her father