In all four gospels, the crucifixion is witnessed by women who have followed Jesus from Galilee to Jerusalem. There is some inconsistency between the accounts, however, concerning how close to the cross the women stood.In Mark, the women from Galilee are described as watching the crucifixion “from a distance”:
There were also women looking on from a distance; among them were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. These used to follow him and provided for him when he was in Galilee… [Mark 15:40-41a, NRSV]
Matthew confirms this, also placing the women some way from the cross:
Many women were also there, looking on from a distance; they had followed Jesus from Galilee and had provided for him. Among them werre Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee. [Matthew 27:55-56, NRSV]
Luke too has the women standing “at a distance” from the cross:
But all his acquaintances, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things. [Luke 23:49, NRSV]
John, however, says that the women stood near the cross:
Meanwhile standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. [John 19:25b, NRSV]
So how far from the cross did the women stand? Did they watch from a distance, or did they stand nearby?
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