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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Thrower

Anna in the Bible – how Luke reveals the prophetess as a model for ageing

Updated: May 4, 2023

Image credit: Mother Anne, Malling Abbey, Kent

You may be interested to read about Anna and Simeon in an online post on the Biblical Archaeology Society website.

Anna is described as one of the Bible’s most unusual women. The writer explores her pairing with Simeon and adds:

‘Luke dwells on Anna’s advanced age with ambiguity. Let’s simply agree with the text: she is ancient! Luke tells us she was married for seven years, then widowed.’

Intriguingly, the article lists some of the clues ‘regarding her appearance and character. Her lifestyle of fasting may indicate thinness; her ability to walk around the temple indicates her fitness and that her eyesight and hearing are intact; her designation as a prophetess indicates her spiritual acuity; her talk of the child to those interested in the redemption of Jerusalem indicates her deep connection with a likeminded community.’

‘With this in mind, Anna shows one model of ageing in the biblical text. Luke presents her positively, as a woman without the bitterness that may come with age and as one full of hope.’

Note: the icon of Anna is reproduced with the kind permission of Mother Anne at Malling Abbey, Kent.




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