When the New Testament is interpreted, directly preceding literature is largely neglected. The
dialectical terms, discourse and contra-discourse do not often surface in research on this period.
This is especially the case with reference to women. Jesus Ben Sira (ca. 196 BCE) as well as other wisdom writers had quite a negative view of women. Although it has previously been argued that
this negative discourse on women was challenged by Judith, this article goes further: the Additions to Esther and Susanna are added as possible challenging discourses. It is argued that these texts convincingly confront Ben Sira’s negative views and add substantial value to the worth and status of women. During the CE, both Jesus Christ and the Apostle Paul had a mainly positive view of women. Positive ideas and allusions from texts are pointed out that might have their roots in the Apocrypha. Lastly, this article argues that the disputed Pauline letters contain a swing back towards Jesus Ben Sira’s negative view of women.