Skip to main content

Women in Medieval Thought Not Created in the Image of God

Whether a nun or wife of an aristocrat, townsman, or peasant, a woman in the Middle Ages was considered inferior to a man and by nature subject to a man's authority. Although there are a number of examples of strong women who flew in the face of such an attitude, church teachings also reinforced these notions. These two selections are from Gratian, the twelfth-century jurist who wrote the first systematic work on canon law, and Thomas Aquinas, the well-known scholastic theologian of the thirteenth century.

Gratian writes in Decretum,
The image of God is in man and it is one. Women were drawn from man, who has God's jurisdiction as if he were God's vicar, because he has the image of the one God. Therefore woman is not made in God's image.
In his Summa Theologica, Thomas Aquinas says,
As regards the individual nature, woman is defective and misbegotten, for the active force in the male seed tends to the production of a perfect likeness in the masculine sex; while the production of woman comes from a defect in the active force or from some material indisposition, or even from some external influence....
The image of God, in its principal signification, namely the intellectual nature, is found both in man and in woman. Hence after the words, "To the image of God He created him," it is added, "Male and female He created them." Moreover it is said "them" in the plural ... lest it should be thought that both sexes were united in one individual. But in a secondary sense the image of God is found in man, and not in woman: for man is the beginning and end of woman; as God is the beginning and end of every creature. (italics added)
We can be glad that Christ had a higher view of women. Both men and women are created in God's image.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them (Gen. 1:27, italics added). 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Andy Stanley and the “NEW Hermeneutic”

The problem of faith and reason is longstanding in the history of theology. Augustine held that faith aids reason (credo ut intelligam) and that reason aids faith (intelligo un creadam). The church father is, however, inclined to stress the later over the former. It was with Thomas Aquinas, and his Summa Theologica, that the effort to reconcile faith and reason reached its apex. Rejecting the medieval doctrine of double truth, he placed natural reason prior to faith in effectively every area of the Christian life. The restrictions are the mysteries of the faith that reason cannot penetrate.
Thomas’ affirmation of the high role of native reason in Christian belief is linked to his stress on dialectical method in study, seminally set forth by Peter Abelard. The form of study is dependent largely on logic to argue both sides of a theological question. Christian belief is thus the proper result of process or synthesis. Faith then assents to the final proposition arrived at by reason.
Thom…

Pat Robertson is Warned!

Pat Robertson is taking it on the chin again. Seems each time he opines on why bad things happen to us, there is someone to call him on it.
Most recently, Dr. Richard Mouw has taken up the challenge in response to Robertson's recent statement on the Las Vegas shooting, in which at least 59 people were killed and more than 500 were wounded in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
In a piece, titled, "You've Been Warned, PatRobertson!" Mouw, for whom I have deep respect, pens,

"It didn’t take long for some preachers to start telling us why God caused the horrible mass murder in Las Vegas to happen. Pat Robertson led the way, declaring that it was divine retribution for the widespread 'disrespect' for Donald Trump in America."
If Robertson had limited his rationale for the Vegas shooting to God punishing us for people dissing the President, I'd be smacking him on the chin myself. But he didn't.
Robertson's brief remarks f…

Fighting Abortion is Not the Fourth Sign of the Church

Some Christians are what I call, “single-issue.” I recall one family that left a church because everything did not revolve around Evangelism Explosion. But that's just one issue.
The issue I'm thinking about is abortion on demand. Some concerned Christians expect their pastor to thunder away almost each week on this topic, or at least mention it. He must make it is his central motif. He must protest outside the abortion clinic. If he doesn’t, he can say he’s against abortion all he likes, but it’s not enough.
Motivating the single-issue congregant is a deeper judgment. He thinks that the ultimate reason abortion on demand still happens is because pastors let it. Churches let it.
As one who has taken a virulent stand against abortion, both in the pulpit and with pen, I can say without qualification, “I hate it.”  Period. I pray the day that Roe is overturned. Nonetheless, as a former pastor, an as one who may return to the pulpit someday, here’s the bottom line.
We are called to …