Jesus had twelve female disciples who played as critical a role as the men in the birth of Christianity. This is the conclusion of Bible experts Helen Bond and Joan Taylor who explore ancient caves and catacombs in Israel and Italy, and decipher enigmatic passages in the gospels. The evidence they find shows that Jesus’ female disciples were indispensable to the Jesus mission: the women preached, healed, baptised and even bankrolled the movement. Without the female disciples Christianity would not have taken off. If they’re right, Christians will have to rethink the origins of their faith.