Women in Christianity
The roles of women in Christianity can vary considerably today as they have varied historically since the third century New Testament church. This is especially true in marriage and in formal ministry positions within certain Christian denominations, churches, and parachurch organizations.
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Quotes from the Bible
- And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
- Genesis 3:15, KJV
- For centuries the leaders of Christian thought spoke of women as a necessary evil, and the greatest saints of the Church are those who despise women the most.
- As early as the sixth century a council at Macon (585) fifty-nine bishops taking part, devoted its time to a discussion of this question, ‘Does woman possess a soul ?’…… Until time of Peter the Great, women were not recognized as human beings in that great division of Christendom known as the Greek church, the census of that empire counting only males, or so many ‘souls’ -no woman named. Traces of this old belief have not been found wanting in our own country within the century. As late as the Woman’s Rights Convention in Philadelphia, 1854, an objector in the audience cried out : ‘Let women first prove they have souls; both the Church and the State deny it.’
- Matilda Joslyn Gage: Woman, Church and State (1893) pp. 56-57
- For a long period after the reformation, English women were not permitted to read the Bible, a statute of the Eighth Henry prohibiting ‘women and others of low degree’ from its use.
- Matilda Joslyn Gage: Woman, Church and State (1893) p. 355
- Her children, as to-day in Christian England and America, are not under her control; she is to bear children but not to educate them, for as under Catholic and Protestant Christianity, women are looked upon as a lower order of beings, of an unclean nature.
- Matilda Joslyn Gage: Woman, Church and State (1893) pp. 380-381
- The State, agent and slave of the Church, has so long united with it in suppression of woman’s intelligence, has so long preached of power to man alone, that it has created an inherited tendency, an inborn line of thought toward repression.
- Matilda Joslyn Gage : ‘Church, Woman and State’, New York, 1893. reprinted by Voice of India, New Delhi, 1997 p. 543
- Women are indebted today for their emancipation from a position of hopeless degradation, not to their religion nor to Jehovah, but to the justice and honor of the men who have defied his commands. That she does not crouch today where St. Paul tried to bind her, she owes to the men who are grand and brave enough to ignore St. Paul, and rise superior to his God.
- Helen Gardner : ‘Men, Women and Gods’, p. 30, as quoted in K. M. Talreja, Holy Vedas and Holy Bible: A Comparative Study, New Delhi: Rashtriya Chetana Sangathan, 2000
- "'I will put enmity between thee and the woman,' " he quoted, " 'and between her seed and thy seed.' "
"But Wisdom never puts enmity anywhere. ... Wisdom doesn't make those insane separations."
- Aldous Huxley, Island
- The church has ever opposed the progress of woman on the ground that her freedom would lead to immorality. We ask the church to have more confidence in women. We ask the opponents of this movement to reverse the methods of the church, which aims to keep women moral by keeping them in fear and in ignorance, and to inculcate into them a higher and truer morality based upon knowledge. And ours is the morality of knowledge. If we cannot trust woman with the knowledge of her own body, then I claim that two thousand years of Christian teaching has proved to be a failure.