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Author Topic: Ordination of Women in the Orthodox Church  (Read 169073 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #540 on: May 13, 2006, 08:09:26 AM »

Jesus' teaching are found in the Gospels.Sounds like proto-gnosticism to me.Not good enough for Jesus.Not good enough for some forum members who have been posting on this topic.
I agree that Jesus' teachings are in the Gospels. All the Gospels are inspired. However that's where Protestants leave off. Jesus' teachings; they are not solely in the Gospels.

Jesus' teachings are found in the Church. They are understood within the context of the Church. The Church uses the Gospels as a tool for teaching, but don't limit teaching resources to just the Bible. The church is living the teachings. We are to experience the teachings in the church.

The Gospel itself states that not all the teachings are there...
John 21:25 Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.



Paul commends us to follow tradition

Now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things and keep the traditions as I delivered them to you (I Corinthians 11:2)

 

“Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or by our epistle”  (II Thessalonians 2:15)



Thus Paul gives a quotation from Jesus that was handed down orally to him: "It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35). This saying is not recorded in the Gospels and must have been passed on to Paul orally. Thus this 'teaching' (whilst in the Bible) is not in the Gospels. And therefore Paul himself uses tradition as a guide for teaching. This does not suggest a super-copy/source gospel with which all the authors relied upon. Nor does it suggest a secret source. Gnostics present 'secret gospels'.

 
Paul  also quotes from other non-Biblical sources, such as this early hymn...
Ephesians 5:14 for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: "Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you."
 
He says that is authority to teach comes from the lord (1 Thessolonians 4:2), but that it's not up to individuals to interpret



Knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation,

(2 Peter 1:20)


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« Reply #541 on: May 13, 2006, 01:52:36 PM »

The Church allows for divorce. Therefore even if the Bible seems to point in a very limited/strict application of a rule, it is, in the context of what the Apostles knew, known by what the church now teaches.

The church allows for divorce. That's good enough for me.

The church has never allowed female priests. That's good enough for me.


The problem is not only that Christ Himself did not allow for divorce and remarriage in the way that the modern Orthodox Church does, but also that the Orthodox Church did not allow for such things for many centuries. I think this is the essential point of the divorce example. For at least eight centuries, the Church declared one thing; and, then, because of the changing times, declared (and continues to declare) another. Many Holy Fathers, including St. Clement of Alexandria, St. Basil the Great and St. John Chrysostom, forbade divorce except for the Scriptural reasons and CERTAINLY did not allow for remarriage (except in the case of widowhood...although even then they spoke against it).

Your logic is essentially the same as St. Theodore the Studite's during the Moechian controversy. He said: "Christ established one practice (no divorce, except PERHAPS for X and Y). The Church has always upheld this. It has never allowed divorce as the Emperor wants it. That's good enough for me."

However, in the end, the Church decided to go another way and declared -- even to the point of drawing up new canons that flew in the face of universal practice and the teaching of the ancient Fathers -- that a new practice would be instituted.

If the Church were to do likewise in this case (female clergy), would that be "good enough" for you?

(Do we now see the urgent necessity to come up with solid theological reasons for the male priesthood? History by itself may not suffice.)
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« Reply #542 on: May 13, 2006, 04:11:54 PM »

Jesus' teachings are found in the Church. They are understood within the context of the Church. The Church uses the Gospels as a tool for teaching, but don't limit teaching resources to just the Bible. The church is living the teachings. We are to experience the teachings in the church.
Jesus' teachings are found in the Gospel.  They are interpreted and understood within the contex of the Church.
Please show me a teaching that the church claims is a teaching of Jesus that is not found in the New Testament.
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« Reply #543 on: May 13, 2006, 08:38:38 PM »

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« Reply #544 on: May 14, 2006, 02:20:45 AM »

Jesus' teachings are found in the Gospel.ÂÂ  They are interpreted and understood within the contex of the Church.
Please show me a teaching that the church claims is a teaching of Jesus that is not found in the New Testament.
You're still arguing past my point. I don't deny for a second that Jesus' teachings are to be found in the Gospel. But are ALL of Jesus' teachings in the Gospels? No. I evidenced that the Gospels themselves say that Jesus said and did other things that aren't recorded.

I evidenced Paul quoting from a saying of Jesus not found in the Gospel.

We are not a sola scriptura church (the Orthodox Church).

I'll try an analogy. Imagine you have a jug of water and pour water into a glass. You can fill the glass up with the water. Not all the water is in the glass, but the glass is full of water.

So the Gospels are fully the word of God. But they are not the whole of the word of God.
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« Reply #545 on: May 14, 2006, 05:05:56 AM »

Marriage should be honoured by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. -Hebrews 13:4

The problem is not only that Christ Himself did not allow for divorce and remarriage in the way that the modern Orthodox Church does, but also that the Orthodox Church did not allow for such things for many centuries. I think this is the essential point of the divorce example. For at least eight centuries, the Church declared one thing; and, then, because of the changing times, declared (and continues to declare) another. Many Holy Fathers, including St. Clement of Alexandria, St. Basil the Great and St. John Chrysostom, forbade divorce except for the Scriptural reasons and CERTAINLY did not allow for remarriage (except in the case of widowhood...although even then they spoke against it).

I agree that the Bible clearly teaches on the sacredness of marriage, and of the sinfulness of divorce...
"And it hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a bill of divorce. But I say to you, that whosoever shall put away his wife, excepting for the cause of fornication, maketh her to commit adultery: and he that shall marry her that is put away, committeth adultery." - Matthew 5:31-32
"But to them that are married, not I but the Lord commandeth, that the wife depart not from her husband. And if she depart, that she remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband. And let not the husband put away his wife." - 1 Corinithians 7:10-11
"A woman is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband die, she is at liberty: let her marry to whom she will; only in the Lord." - 1 Corinthians 7:39
"Every one that putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and he that marrieth her that is put away from her husband, commmitteth adultery." - Luke 16:18
"And there came to him the Pharisees tempting him, and saying: Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? Who answering, said to them: Have ye not read, that he who made man from the beginning, made them male and female? And he said: For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they two shall be in one flesh. Therefore now they are not two, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder. They say to him: Why then did Moses command to give a bill of divorce, and to put away? He saith to them: because Moses by reason of the hardness of your heart permitted you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you, that whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and he that shall marry her that is put away, committeth adultery." - Matthew 19:3-9
"And the Pharisees coming to him asked him: Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? Tempting him. But he answering, saith to them: What did Moses command you? Who said: Moses permitted to write a bill of divorce, and to put her away. To whom Jesus answering, said: because of the hardness of your heart he wrote you that precept. But from the beginning of the creation, God made them male and female. For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother; and shall cleave to his wife. And they two shall be in one flesh. Therefore now they are not two, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. And in the house again his disciples asked him concerning the same thing. And he saith to them: whosoever shall put away his wife and marry another, committeth adultery against her. And if the wife shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery." - Mark 10:2-12

Asterius of Amasea (c.400) (http://www.tertullian.org/fathers/asterius_05_sermon5.htm) speaks out in favour of divorce only in the case of adultery.

Your logic is essentially the same as St. Theodore the Studite's during the Moechian controversy. He said: "Christ established one practice (no divorce, except PERHAPS for X and Y). The Church has always upheld this. It has never allowed divorce as the Emperor wants it. That's good enough for me."

However, in the end, the Church decided to go another way and declared -- even to the point of drawing up new canons that flew in the face of universal practice and the teaching of the ancient Fathers -- that a new practice would be instituted.

If the Church were to do likewise in this case (female clergy), would that be "good enough" for you?

(Do we now see the urgent necessity to come up with solid theological reasons for the male priesthood? History by itself may not suffice.)
Firstly, I and others have already talked about the 'roles' assigned by God. Secondly you recognise that the church has changed teachings from historical norms. Is this something you agree with? You see, using 'tradition' as a rule, we can see if there is a change or not.
I agree with St. Tehodore said it represents the “...overturning of all things, even to [the spirit of] Antichrist,”
http://www.synodinresistance.org/Theo_en/E3a3a001EkklesiologikaiTheseis.pdf

In thinking about this I have changed my position somewhat with regards what the church now teaches as I recognise that some in the church have changed the teachings. They seem to give lip-service
"Without condoning divorce, the Orthodox Church nonetheless in her pastoral care for her people permits remarriage with the blessing of a bishop."
http://www.unicorne.org/Orthodoxy/articles/answers/divorce.htm

Although I accept that we are all sinners, and we make mistakes, I don't believe that the church should be ignoring a continual mistake; that of accepting a re-marriage in a condition not allowed by teachings as they were held from the very beginning of the church. I have no answer on this as some churches emphasise the fact that it is not ideal...
"The Orthodox Church recognizes the sanctity of marriage and sees it as a life-long commitment. However, there are certain circumstances in which it becomes evident that there is no love or commitment in a relationship.

While the Church stands opposed to divorce, the Church, in its concern for the salvation of its people, does permit divorced individuals to marry a second and even a third time.

The Order of the Second or Third Marriage is somewhat different than that celebrated as a first marriage and it bears a penitential character. Second or third marriages are performed by "economy" -- that is, out of concern for the spiritual well being of the parties involved and as an exception to the rule, so to speak."
http://www.oca.org/QA.asp?ID=139&SID=3

A novel idea is to re-interpret 'adultery' to mean not just unfaithfulness with another human being, but any other matter...
"I have been a priest for nearly 25 years. I have seen quite a number of couples seek divorces. I have never seen a case that did not involve adultery -­whether it be a case of giving oneself over to another person, or to another thing, such as alcohol, drugs, work, etc. One can surely put their spouse in a secondary position as a result of becoming infatuated, obsessed and/or controlled with/by another person; one can also surely put their spouse in a secondary position as a result of becoming infatuated, obsessed and/or controlled with/by power, wealth, addictions, careers, etc."
http://www.oca.org/QA.asp?ID=140&SID=3

Asides from others addressing your concerns over 'other arguments', I believe therefore that if the church has changed teachings here (on divorce) then that is bad. Simply doing the same for female priests would be to add to the wrong.
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« Reply #546 on: May 14, 2006, 03:59:46 PM »

In thinking about this I have changed my position somewhat with regards what the church now teaches as I recognise that some in the church have changed the teachings.

SOME in the Church have changed the teachings? I am unaware of any Orthodox Church (Russia, Greece, Romania, Constantinople, Jerusalem, Antioch, et al.) that forbids ecclesiastical divorce. In fact, they all grant ecclesiastical divorce every year for a variety of reasons (including adultery, death, abandonment, impotency, et al.). I am equally unaware of any Orthodox Church that does not re-marry people, as am I unaware of any Orthodox Church that forbids a second divorce and a second (third total) re-marriage. As far as I know, even Old Calendarist Churches perform re-marriages (how could they not, since the Church's practice to allow ecclesiastical re-marriage dates back to the beginning of the 9th century?).

Now, certain Churches, certain Hierarchs and certain priests may speak more openly about the Church's disapproval of divorce, just as certain clerics may emphasize the penitential nature of re-marriage more than others. But even these allow a practice that is obviously different from that spelled out in Scripture, the early Fathers and the early canonical tradition. Why? Because the Church Herself, in Synod and as a Body, has decided that such makes pastoral sense. Starting with Patriarch Nikeforos of Constantinople, who strongly opposed the Studite "zealot" movement, the Church has insisted on oikonomia in these matters. (In the modern age, the same goes for "mixed-faith" marriage: Canon 72 of Trullo forbids such marriages, but, yet, how many inter-faith marriages are performed every year in every jurisdiction?).

It's one of the many paradoxes of Church experience that both St. Theodore the Studite and St. Patriarch Nikeforos are remembered as holy and great Churchmen in the Synaxarion, despite the fact they diametrically opposed each other in life. Who, then, is most “canonical,” when the canons themselves (Constantinople 920) call for a practice vehemently condemned as "uncanonical" by one saint but supported by another?

Quote
Asides from others addressing your concerns over 'other arguments', I believe therefore that if the church has changed teachings here (on divorce) then that is bad. Simply doing the same for female priests would be to add to the wrong.

I think the question -- at least on this forum -- is not if such a change would be good or bad, but if CHANGE itself can happen. Does the Church change? If so, why? And if so in one such significant case, why not in another? That's a nasty can of worms, best left unexamined unless one be strong in faith and balanced in perspective (divorce ain't the only example!). Which leads us to what I perceive to be certain members’ motive for bringing up the divorce example in the first place: To show that the Church has and does adapt with time and thereby rule out the "it was never done" argument as irrevocably definitive.

(Why one would WANT innovation, specifically the kind of innovation under discussion, is another matter!)
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« Reply #547 on: May 14, 2006, 06:08:39 PM »

You're still arguing past my point. I don't deny for a second that Jesus' teachings are to be found in the Gospel. But are ALL of Jesus' teachings in the Gospels? No. I evidenced that the Gospels themselves say that Jesus said and did other things that aren't recorded.
Uughh!
Please re-read my post:
"Jesus' teachings are found in the Gospel.  They are interpreted and understood within the contex of the Church.
Please show me a teaching that the church claims is a teaching of Jesus that is not found in the New Testament."
Once again, Show me a teaching that the church claims is a teaching of Jesus that is not found in the New Testament.
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« Reply #548 on: May 14, 2006, 07:03:35 PM »

I'll try an analogy. Imagine you have a jug of water and pour water into a glass. You can fill the glass up with the water. Not all the water is in the glass, but the glass is full of water.
Yes, the glass will be full.  A remnent will remain in the jug.  The atomic structure of the water (H2O) will be the same.  However, the water in the glass will no longer be exactly the same as the water in the jug.  The structure and the composition of the glass and the jug (the nature of the glass, assuming you meant that both the jug and glass are composed of glass) will be slightly different thus affecting volume, the interface between the water and the container, the interface between the water and the atmosphere, surface tension, etc. thus affecting the water ever so slightly at the sub-atomic level.  Yes, they are both still water.  Yes, they will both quench the thirst.  But, the contents are no longer absolutely identical in all respects.
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« Reply #549 on: May 15, 2006, 03:43:09 AM »

SOME in the Church have changed the teachings? I am unaware of any Orthodox Church (Russia, Greece, Romania, Constantinople, Jerusalem, Antioch, et al.) that forbids ecclesiastical divorce. In fact, they all grant ecclesiastical divorce every year for a variety of reasons (including adultery, death, abandonment, impotency, et al.). I am equally unaware of any Orthodox Church that does not re-marry people, as am I unaware of any Orthodox Church that forbids a second divorce and a second (third total) re-marriage. As far as I know, even Old Calendarist Churches perform re-marriages (how could they not, since the Church's practice to allow ecclesiastical re-marriage dates back to the beginning of the 9th century?).
I will say nothing more about this marriage issue as it's something that I'm in over my head with. Huh
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« Reply #550 on: May 15, 2006, 08:13:04 AM »

"Jesus' teachings are found in the Gospel.  They are interpreted and understood within the contex of the Church.
I agree. Where I disagree is with the idea that ALL the teachings are found in the Bible. No where am I aware that the Bible is deemed sufficient for all Orthodox teaching.

Please show me a teaching that the church claims is a teaching of Jesus that is not found in the New Testament."
Once again, Show me a teaching that the church claims is a teaching of Jesus that is not found in the New Testament.

I've already mentioned that Jesus never spoke out directly regarding incest (as far as I'm aware). Sure, it's in the OT, but not in the NT, so one could argue that it was over-turned with a number of OT laws by Jesus. Although He doesn't specifically over-turn it as He does regarding the Sabbath (saying that the Sabbath is made for man; Mark 2:27).The church teaches against incest.

As far as I'm aware too, there's no direct evidence in the Bible that Mary was 'ever-virgin'; though there is circumstantial evidence to suggest she had no other kids. There's nothing about her dormition, again, as far as I'm aware; I'll be happy to concede examples if you can provide them for I already quoted Paul citing a 'saying' that is not in the Gospel. There are teachings we're allowed to have that aren't contrary to the Bible.

I was told to fast on a Wednesday and a Friday (and this is to be found in the Didache,* as opposed to the Biblical example which just has a man fasting twice a week Luke 18:12), not in the Bible, so 'when to fast?' is a question not answered in the Bible. There's thus various degrees of 'detail' that are in the Bible... also too, which foods to fast from.

Confessing before a priest** is something I'm also not aware of as being in the Bible. But then I'm not a Bible expert.


*
Chapter 8: 1 Let not your fasts be with the hypocrites, for they fast on Mondays and Thursdays, but do you fast on Wednesdays and Fridays.
http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/didache-lake.html

**
Jesus says we should confess Him before men
Matthew 10:32
Luke 12:8
John 12:42
but I believe this refers to admitting before men that they believe in Christ.
In James 5:16 it just says to confess before one another, and yet I'm taught that if I don't go to confession (before a priest) I shouldn't have communion.
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« Reply #551 on: May 15, 2006, 09:14:44 AM »

As far as I'm aware too, there's no direct evidence in the Bible that Mary was 'ever-virgin'; though there is circumstantial evidence to suggest she had no other kids. There's nothing about her dormition, again, as far as I'm aware; I'll be happy to concede examples if you can provide them for I already quoted Paul citing a 'saying' that is not in the Gospel. There are teachings we're allowed to have that aren't contrary to the Bible.
The Church teaches that Mary was "ever-virgin".  Jesus never said, "My Mother was ever-virgin."
I was told to fast on a Wednesday and a Friday (and this is to be found in the Didache,* as opposed to the Biblical example which just has a man fasting twice a week Luke 18:12), not in the Bible, so 'when to fast?' is a question not answered in the Bible. There's thus various degrees of 'detail' that are in the Bible... also too, which foods to fast from.
The Church teaches us to fast and Wednesday and Friday.  Jesus never said, "Fast on Wednesdays and Fridays."  Jesus said, "When you fast..."
Confessing before a priest** is something I'm also not aware of as being in the Bible. But then I'm not a Bible expert.
The Church teaches us to confess our sins in the Mystery of Confession.  Jesus did not say, "Confess your sins to the priest."  Jesus said, "If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."
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« Reply #552 on: May 15, 2006, 09:23:17 AM »

I agree. Where I disagree is with the idea that ALL the teachings are found in the Bible. No where am I aware that the Bible is deemed sufficient for all Orthodox teaching.

I've already mentioned that Jesus never spoke out directly regarding incest (as far as I'm aware). Sure, it's in the OT, but not in the NT, so one could argue that it was over-turned with a number of OT laws by Jesus. Although He doesn't specifically over-turn it as He does regarding the Sabbath (saying that the Sabbath is made for man; Mark 2:27).The church teaches against incest.

I think we need to be a little more careful in reading and a little more precise in writing. You are certainly correct that the Church teaches and practices many things that are not explicitly taught or mentioned in the Bible, but such was not what our good friend Carpatho Russian asked you to prove. He said:

Once again, Show me a teaching that the church claims is a teaching of Jesus that is not found in the New Testament.

Notice that he bolded the word "Jesus." We all know that the Bible doesn't tell us to fast from dairy products on Wednesday -- or, for that matter, to celebrate the Pre-Sanctified Liturgy during Great Lent according to the Typikon of the Great Church of Christ. Carpatho Russian, however, wanted you to defend a particular argument that you made, i.e. that Jesus Himself "made His meaning more clear to the Apostles/Church." Here's the exact statement that started this mini-thread:

We know that the Church does not teach that which is contradictory to the teachings of Jesus Christ. If we accept this, and going by the fact that not everything Jesus said or did was written in the Bible than I would conclude that Jesus made His meaning more clear to the Apostles/Church which allowed for these things (re: divorce in some circumstances).

In other words, JESUS Himself somehow communicated a "more clear" message to his Apostles/Church. You imply, since you mentioned that "not everything Jesus said or did was written in the Bible," that Jesus communicated this "more clear" message while on earth. This is a radically different claim than saying that the CHURCH, through inspiration or any other means, began to practice certain spiritually beneficial things or decided to clarify certain doctrines based on Jesus' recorded teachings in the New Testament (although I don't think we can claim that the Church "clarified" Jesus' teaching on divorce!!). For example, we may say: "The CHURCH, since Her earliest years, encouraged fasting on Wednesday and Friday." But we do NOT say: "JESUS secretly told his Apostles/Church to fast on Wednesday and Friday." Dig the difference?

Thus, in order to answer Carpatho Russian's question and support your claim, you would need to provide an example of an extra-Biblical practice or doctrine that the Church specifically claims She has adopted because JESUS HIMSELF secretly taught it to his "Apostles/Church" (as opposed to one that the Church adopted at even a very early point).
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« Reply #553 on: May 15, 2006, 09:35:13 AM »

In other words, JESUS Himself somehow communicated a "more clear" message to his Apostles/Church. You imply, since you mentioned that "not everything Jesus said or did was written in the Bible," that Jesus communicated this "more clear" message while on earth. This is a radically different claim than saying that the CHURCH, through inspiration or any other means, began to practice certain spiritually beneficial things or decided to clarify certain doctrines based on Jesus' recorded teachings in the New Testament (although I don't think we can claim that the Church "clarified" Jesus' teaching on divorce!!). For example, we may say: "The CHURCH, since Her earliest years, encouraged fasting on Wednesday and Friday." But we do NOT say: "JESUS secretly told his Apostles/Church to fast on Wednesday and Friday." Dig the difference?

pensateomnia,
Five days ago I asked montalban on this thread:
What you are asking me to do then, is to believe that even though Christ clearly says in the Gospel that divorce is forbidden except in the case of adultery, He secretly told His Apostles something else which contradicted this teaching, and told them that this secret teaching was to be the practice of the Church, but to keep a record of His public teaching in the Gospel.....What would be the purpose of that? Was it just to confuse everyone?.....
and I'm still waiting for a response which makes sense....
...don't hold your breath....
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« Reply #554 on: May 15, 2006, 10:25:20 AM »

pensateomnia,
Five days ago I asked montalban on this thread:and I'm still waiting for a response which makes sense....
...don't hold your breath....   

people are still running in circles, what can one do?  like I said earlier, if people want to wax theological about why women can/can't be ordained, but if they're shooting from the hip, then this discussion will continue to be fruitless.  It's 500+ posts, and we haven't gotten anywhere.
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« Reply #555 on: May 15, 2006, 10:49:32 AM »

people are still running in circles, what can one do?ÂÂ  like I said earlier, if people want to wax theological about why women can/can't be ordained, but if they're shooting from the hip, then this discussion will continue to be fruitless.ÂÂ  It's 500+ posts, and we haven't gotten anywhere.

Well, we can stop posting, let the topic die, and hopefully next time it comes up the people involved will have a better understanding of the details surrounding the issue, so we can at least have an substantive discussion. The fact that pensateomnia, who opposes the ordination of women, has had to spend nearly all his time on this thread debuking the poor arguments people have been putting forward against the ordination of women should say something to all of us about the quality of debate here.
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« Reply #556 on: May 15, 2006, 11:08:26 AM »

people are still running in circles, what can one do?ÂÂ  like I said earlier, if people want to wax theological about why women can/can't be ordained, but if they're shooting from the hip, then this discussion will continue to be fruitless.ÂÂ  It's 500+ posts, and we haven't gotten anywhere.

I dunno about that. I think we have established the following:

1) The Church has never ordained women to the priesthood.

2) Many, many Bishops and clergymen have said it shouldn't. To do otherwise would represent a substantial innovation.

3) The canonical tradition requires that all potential clergy (and current clergy) be "above reproach." For a variety of reasons, female clergy are not "above reproach," since many people in the Church (and society) would reproach the ordination of women as inappropriate, ineffectual or, possibly, heretical. In part, this means that the Church, according to Her canonical tradition, MUST conform to certain types of social realities, since to do otherwise would cause scandal, division and, ultimately, detract from the Church's good order and the salvation of souls.

4) The Church, as a living historical Body, has evolved over time. Certain practices and offices have fallen out of use; others have been introduced. Certain teachings have been clarified; others (e.g. divorce) have been modified according to the pastoral reality of the age.

5) The issue will not be settled here. Nor is it likely to be settled any time soon (if ever!), since the plans for the Great and Holy Synod are at a complete stand-still. Further, this issue is not even on the proposed agenda, since there are far more pressing issues afflicting the modern Church.

Less certain areas:

1) What this all means for the question of female ordination.

2) The importance of the modern Church's general consensus on the subject. In changing the received traditions on ecclesiastical divorce and remarriage, the entire Church embraced the innovation in Synod and in practice. In other words, there was pastoral need and, eventually, consensus on the issue. Such does not appear to be the case at all for female ordination.

3) Female deacons: The nature of their ordination, authority and liturgical activities.

4) The theology of the priest as Icon of Christ; Christ's incarnation as taking on of HUMAN nature; the theological significance of gender.

5) Whether or not the EP would approve of GiC's posts on this issue. Hmmmm....do I smell an epitimia in the works?
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« Reply #557 on: May 15, 2006, 11:40:57 AM »

5) Whether or not the EP would approve of GiC's posts on this issue. Hmmmm....do I smell an epitimia in the works?

Somebody has to stick their neck out Wink

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« Reply #558 on: May 15, 2006, 11:52:24 AM »

Somebody has to stick their neck out Wink

'The desire for safety stands against every great and noble enterprise.' -- Tacitus

But did Tacitus face the prospect of doing 2,000 full prostrations every evening?


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« Reply #559 on: May 15, 2006, 12:21:21 PM »

I dunno about that. I think we have established the following:

1) The Church has never ordained women to the priesthood.

2) Many, many Bishops and clergymen have said it shouldn't. To do otherwise would represent a substantial innovation.

3) The canonical tradition requires that all potential clergy (and current clergy) be "above reproach." For a variety of reasons, female clergy are not "above reproach," since many people in the Church (and society) would reproach the ordination of women as inappropriate, ineffectual or, possibly, heretical. In part, this means that the Church, according to Her canonical tradition, MUST conform to certain types of social realities, since to do otherwise would cause scandal, division and, ultimately, detract from the Church's good order and the salvation of souls.

4) The Church, as a living historical Body, has evolved over time. Certain practices and offices have fallen out of use; others have been introduced. Certain teachings have been clarified; others (e.g. divorce) have been modified according to the pastoral reality of the age.

5) The issue will not be settled here. Nor is it likely to be settled any time soon (if ever!), since the plans for the Great and Holy Synod are at a complete stand-still. Further, this issue is not even on the proposed agenda, since there are far more pressing issues afflicting the modern Church.   

I should apologize.  Just because I've had these points already in mind since the beginning, I shouldn't assume that they were/should-have-been common starting points for all.  I stand corrected.

5) Whether or not the EP would approve of GiC's posts on this issue. Hmmmm....do I smell an epitimia in the works?

There are many who would argue (including myself) that the EP would not approve of his posts... but then again, since I have no definitive knowledge of the EP's stance on the issue, my thoughts remain pure conjecture.  (Although I have heard of a seminarian here who got a call from a friend in Detroit who objected to GiC, who claims to be a faithful follower of the EP, supporting women's ordination...)
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« Reply #560 on: May 15, 2006, 10:24:42 PM »

and hopefully next time it comes up the people involved will have a better understanding of the details surrounding the issue, so we can at least have an substantive discussion.

You must be delusional.ÂÂ  Cultural relativity is the cornerstone of your argument and, unfortunately for you, that has been clearly dismissed by the work of Prof. Terence Paige.ÂÂ  

All the while, I have argued that the all-male priesthood was not culturally motivated in the Greco-Roman world, and up to this point, you have yet to present any evidence in history to save your position.

In this discussion, you were always speculative and never "substantive," so stop speaking as if you know the facts of Greco-Roman civilization.

Simply put, your cultural prejudice theory is a fiasco.  It is nothing but a product of your imagination.

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« Reply #561 on: May 16, 2006, 01:23:02 AM »

Ouch!

How about we stick to this part of the debate before we move on:  the cultural issues.  I think we need more arguments based on this.

Side considering women's ordination:  It was a cultural motivation.  Even if there were female priests, their roles were quite insignificant compared to authority, which were by men.  Thus, the Christian priesthood showed some sort of authority, and this authority was by men only culturally.

Side against women's ordination:  It wasn't a cultural motivation.  There were female priests who had strong authoritative roles, and if the Church found herself to conform to society, baptizing the culture, they could have easily incorporated female priesthood.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but that's what I seem to see both sides are saying.

God bless.

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« Reply #562 on: May 16, 2006, 01:36:16 AM »

The Church teaches that Mary was "ever-virgin".  Jesus never said, "My Mother was ever-virgin.
And there you have an example that proves my point, not yours! You've answered your own challenge by providing a teaching of the church not found in the Gospel.

No where in the Bible does it teach that Mary was "ever-virgin", but we believe it. We believe it because we accept the tradition was taught to us by Mary herself, through John, who spent time looking after her. Things such as her dormition, etc we accept.

This teaching whilst not based on Gospel is not against the Gospel, and thus the authority of the Gospels are still upheld.

“For it is unlawful to assert that they preached before they possessed "perfect knowledge…," Irenaeus - "Against Heresies" Book III.I.I

http://www.ccel.org/fathers2/ANF-01/anf01-60.htm#P7297_1937859

See also John 13:7 Jesus answered and said to him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will after this.”



So why are we not afraid of Gnsotic claims? Because we accept that the fullness of the teachings of Christ were given to all the Apostles. The Holy Spirit came at Pentecost. The churches weren't in isolation from one another so that one church, if it ever started to bring in innovations could be checked against the 'truth' taught by the other churches.



St. Cyril of Alexandra said “All the Apostles had the full teaching of truth. " …for then Peter and John, who were of equal honour with each other, being both Apostles and holy disciples [would have been one, and], yet the two are not one." “Third Epistle of Cyril to Nestorius “ quoted at http://www.monachos.net/patristics/christology/cyril_to_nestorius_3.shtml



Thus any claims that there were 'secret' sayings of Jesus could and always were tested against the authority of the church as a whole.

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« Reply #563 on: May 16, 2006, 01:40:09 AM »

Well I'm too lazy to read all these pages. The Apostolic Constitutions explains, from Pauline theology, that it goes against the order of creation for a woman to be put ahead of a man:

Apostolic Constitutions III:9: "Now, as to women's baptizing, we let you know that there is no small peril to those that undertake it. Therefore we do not advise you to it; for it is dangerous, or rather wicked and impious. For if the "man be the head of the woman," and he be originally ordained for the priesthood, it is not just to abrogate the order of the creation, and leave the principal to come to the extreme part of the body. For the woman is the body of the man, taken from his side, and subject to him, from whom she was separated for the procreation of children. For says He, "He shall rule over thee." For the principal part of the woman is the man, as being her head. But if in the foregoing constitutions we have not permitted them to teach, how will any one allow them, contrary to nature, to perform the office of a priest? For this is one of the ignorant practices of the Gentile atheism, to ordain women priests to the female deities, not one of the constitutions of Christ. For if baptism were to be administered by women, certainly our Lord would have been baptized by His own mother, and not by John; or when He sent us to baptize, He would have sent along with us women also for this purpose. But now He has nowhere, either by constitution or by writing, delivered to us any such thing; as knowing the order of nature, and the decency of the action; as being the Creator of nature, and the Legislator of the constitution."

As for the Greco-Roman world, they had lots and lots of priestesses, so it wasn't a cultural problem unless you think that the Jewish Christians, who had an all-male priesthood, had any real influence after St. Paul and the other Fathers who formalized Christianity's break from Judaism and Hellenic converts greatly outnumbered the Jewish ones..
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« Reply #564 on: May 16, 2006, 02:56:25 AM »

Quote
How about we stick to this part of the debate before we move on:  the cultural issues.  I think we need more arguments based on this.

Right.  The cultural issue cannot be over-emphasized.  According to the proponents of women priests, culture--not theology--constructs the gender of the clergy.  And since it was culture which dictated the all-male priesthood in the 1st century, it is culture--not theology yet again--which will introduce female priesthood in the 21st century.

Quote
Side considering women's ordination:  It was a cultural motivation.  Even if there were female priests, their roles were quite insignificant compared to authority, which were by men.  Thus, the Christian priesthood showed some sort of authority, and this authority was by men only culturally.

This is desperation.  The issue of comparative role and authority was only brought up after I presented the cold hard facts about the existence of priestesses in the Roman Empire.  Moreover, contrary to what the proponents of women priesthood would assert, these priestesses had significant roles and authority in early times.

Quote
Side against women's ordination:  It wasn't a cultural motivation.  There were female priests who had strong authoritative roles, and if the Church found herself to conform to society, baptizing the culture, they could have easily incorporated female priesthood.

All this is supported by history and scholarship.  Not mere speculation.

Quote
Correct me if I'm wrong, but that's what I seem to see both sides are saying.

I think you got it right.
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« Reply #565 on: May 16, 2006, 03:24:17 AM »

Well I'm too lazy to read all these pages. The Apostolic Constitutions explains, from Pauline theology, that it goes against the order of creation for a woman to be put ahead of a man:

Apostolic Constitutions III:9: "Now, as to women's baptizing, we let you know that there is no small peril to those that undertake it. Therefore we do not advise you to it; for it is dangerous, or rather wicked and impious. For if the "man be the head of the woman," and he be originally ordained for the priesthood, it is not just to abrogate the order of the creation, and leave the principal to come to the extreme part of the body. For the woman is the body of the man, taken from his side, and subject to him, from whom she was separated for the procreation of children. For says He, "He shall rule over thee." For the principal part of the woman is the man, as being her head. But if in the foregoing constitutions we have not permitted them to teach, how will any one allow them, contrary to nature, to perform the office of a priest? For this is one of the ignorant practices of the Gentile atheism, to ordain women priests to the female deities, not one of the constitutions of Christ. For if baptism were to be administered by women, certainly our Lord would have been baptized by His own mother, and not by John; or when He sent us to baptize, He would have sent along with us women also for this purpose. But now He has nowhere, either by constitution or by writing, delivered to us any such thing; as knowing the order of nature, and the decency of the action; as being the Creator of nature, and the Legislator of the constitution."

As for the Greco-Roman world, they had lots and lots of priestesses, so it wasn't a cultural problem unless you think that the Jewish Christians, who had an all-male priesthood, had any real influence after St. Paul and the other Fathers who formalized Christianity's break from Judaism and Hellenic converts greatly outnumbered the Jewish ones..

You've cut right to the problem of those supporting ordination of women; lack of evidence. Cheesy
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« Reply #566 on: May 16, 2006, 04:27:31 AM »

Cultural relativity is the cornerstone of your argument
No, I'd say "cultural relativity" is something you've focused on, rather than  being the "cornerstone" of GiC's argument.

You've cut right to the problem of those supporting ordination of women; lack of evidence. Cheesy
Oh please, not this again.

I think cleveland's suggestion is a good one to retire this thread and perhaps it can be brought up again with people who are are willing to listen to each other's research, rather than go off on tangents.
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« Reply #567 on: May 16, 2006, 04:52:15 AM »

No, I'd say "cultural relativity" is something you've focused on, rather thanÂÂ  being the "cornerstone" of GiC's argument.

You seem to have missed GiC's post emphasizing cultural relativity.ÂÂ  To save you the hassle of going back to the 2nd page of this thread, here it is in all its "glory."

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php?topic=8894.15

Yes, tradition is certainly the strongest of all arguments, but this argument presents fundamental difficulities on two levels. First, it is an argument from silence; while the ordination of women was never strongly supported in the history of the Church, neither was it strongly opposed. The reasonable conclusion is not a condemnation of the practice, but rather the that this is an issue that the Church has never had to address. The reason that it never had to address the issue is obvious, culture and society were such as to make women second-class citizens, culture prejudices against the equality of women were so strong as to not even allow a consideration of the issue from a theological perspective.

To this effect, a quote from St. John Chrysostom in his treatise On the Priesthood should be considered,

'When one is required to preside over the Church and to be entrusted with the care of so many souls, the whole female sex must retire before the magnitude of the task, and the majority of men also, and we must bring forward those who to a large extent surpass all others and soar as much above them in excellence of spirit as Saul overtopped the whole Hebrew nation in bodily stature.'

Chrysostom here argues that the reason women cannot be priests is not because of some theological reason prohibiting it, but rather because all women are too weak for such a task. Our experience, however, tells us that this is simply untrue, some women, like some men, are too week for the task, but, in all honesty, surely we cannot say that this is true of all women. Thus implying that Chrysostom's statement is simply based on a culturally generated bias and misconception.

Secondly, the difficulity with the argument from tradition is that no sound theological reasoning accompanies it; to quote Elisabeth Behr-Sigel on this problem, 'To those who ask us for the bread of understanding, we cannot be satisfied with offering only the stones of certitude hardened by negation.' Yet, the answers always given by the so-called conservatives to the issue of women priests are nothing more than 'certitude hardened by negation' accompanied by, at best, yiayiaology...theologies so unfounded and problematic that if taken to their logical conclusions would be either heresy, blasphemy, or simply utter absurdity (usually all three). It is little wonder why His Grace, Bishop Kallistos, has come to at least question a posistion so weakly held.

Since no one can seem to offer a sound theological reason for the failure to ordain women in the past (to say nothing of a reason steeped in patristic theology) I will offer a reason, though not theological for I do not believe the past inaction to be theological in motivation. As the above quote from Chrysostom demonstrates there was, without a doubt, an extreme cultural and social bias against women, the failure to ordain women had nothing to do with theology or faith and everything to do with discrimination and human fallenness. This is hardly a revolutionary proposition, the fact that women were second-class citizens in the Greco-Roman world is well documented; since this unfortunate mindset infected every other element and institution of society, it is most reasonable to believe it also influenced the Church. Of course, this is not only the case with the issue of the role of women in society, it can also be found in issues like slavery as well.

Now, while this mindset may have influenced various members of the Church, we can be greatful that the Holy Spirit safeguarded her, in large part, from the teachings that could have arose from this unfortunate weltanschauung. Thus, today, while women have yet to be accepted as equals in the Church we fortunately lack any treatise or established dogma against the correction of this situation and now, with the rectification of society, are in a posistion to effect this correction.


Emphasis is mine.

Take out all the "cultural" aspects in GiC's argument and what do you have?

You have no argument at all.

Of special interest here is the one I hilighted in red.ÂÂ  This has been proven as mere SPECULATION, one which scholarship disproves.

Roll Eyes

Quote
I think cleveland's suggestion is a good one to retire this thread and perhaps it can be brought up again with people who are are willing to listen to each other's research,

Yes, RESEARCH.ÂÂ  Not SPECULATION.

Quote
rather than go off on tangents.

Going off on tangents is a bad habit.ÂÂ  As you can see, I struck at the heart of GiC's statement.
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« Reply #568 on: May 16, 2006, 05:15:30 AM »

lack of evidence. Cheesy

Let me add that speculation does not count as one.
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« Reply #569 on: May 16, 2006, 05:30:07 AM »

No, I'd say "cultural relativity" is something you've focused on, rather thanÂÂ  being the "cornerstone" of GiC's argument.
It simply puts in context the issue of the use of the word 'man' in quotes that support my side.

Oh please, not this again.
Yes, it still is a valid objection; lest you want to actually introduce some argument for a change?
I think cleveland's suggestion is a good one to retire this thread and perhaps it can be brought up again with people who are are willing to listen to each other's research, rather than go off on tangents.
I agree. Introduce some evidence. Hope this isn't 'flaming' but it would help the debate.
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« Reply #570 on: May 16, 2006, 05:31:21 AM »

Let me add that speculation does not count as one.
I agree. Though OzGeorge has stated that this is the reason he's posting here; because it's an issue - but only because he's speculating. It's all rather circular.
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« Reply #571 on: May 16, 2006, 08:19:39 AM »

And there you have an example that proves my point, not yours! You've answered your own challenge by providing a teaching of the church not found in the Gospel.

No where in the Bible does it teach that Mary was "ever-virgin", but we believe it. We believe it because we accept the tradition was taught to us by Mary herself, through John, who spent time looking after her. Things such as her dormition, etc we accept.

This teaching whilst not based on Gospel is not against the Gospel, and thus the authority of the Gospels are still upheld.

Dude,
Don't you read?  Do you just shoot from the hip?
We're going nowhere with this because you refuse to really read and understand what I have posted.
I thought Pensateomnia explained the situtation very well in his post.  I, unfortunately, would not have been so charitable.
I think we need to be a little more careful in reading and a little more precise in writing. You are certainly correct that the Church teaches and practices many things that are not explicitly taught or mentioned in the Bible, but such was not what our good friend Carpatho Russian asked you to prove. He said:

Notice that he bolded the word "Jesus." We all know that the Bible doesn't tell us to fast from dairy products on Wednesday -- or, for that matter, to celebrate the Pre-Sanctified Liturgy during Great Lent according to the Typikon of the Great Church of Christ. Carpatho Russian, however, wanted you to defend a particular argument that you made, i.e. that Jesus Himself "made His meaning more clear to the Apostles/Church." Here's the exact statement that started this mini-thread:

In other words, JESUS Himself somehow communicated a "more clear" message to his Apostles/Church. You imply, since you mentioned that "not everything Jesus said or did was written in the Bible," that Jesus communicated this "more clear" message while on earth. This is a radically different claim than saying that the CHURCH, through inspiration or any other means, began to practice certain spiritually beneficial things or decided to clarify certain doctrines based on Jesus' recorded teachings in the New Testament (although I don't think we can claim that the Church "clarified" Jesus' teaching on divorce!!). For example, we may say: "The CHURCH, since Her earliest years, encouraged fasting on Wednesday and Friday." But we do NOT say: "JESUS secretly told his Apostles/Church to fast on Wednesday and Friday." Dig the difference?

Thus, in order to answer Carpatho Russian's question and support your claim, you would need to provide an example of an extra-Biblical practice or doctrine that the Church specifically claims She has adopted because JESUS HIMSELF secretly taught it to his "Apostles/Church" (as opposed to one that the Church adopted at even a very early point).
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« Reply #572 on: May 16, 2006, 08:25:12 AM »

I think cleveland's suggestion is a good one to retire this thread and perhaps it can be brought up again with people who are are willing to listen to each other's research, rather than go off on tangents.
I agree.
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« Reply #573 on: May 16, 2006, 10:52:06 AM »

This is desperation.  The issue of comparative role and authority was only brought up after I presented the cold hard facts about the existence of priestesses in the Roman Empire.  Moreover, contrary to what the proponents of women priesthood would assert, these priestesses had significant roles and authority in early times.

We can't get too carried away in our zeal for this or that argument. Clearly, women in the ancient world did not have the same rights as men. (Well, most people didn't have "rights", since political actors didn't think in terms of "rights," but in terms of duty, responsibility and propriety.) Thus, men were by nature "public" figures, whose duty it was to represent the household in public, to conduct public business, to enter into the affairs of state and public economy. Women were duty-bound to do the same for the inner-workings of the household. To do otherwise would be scandalous and, in fact, impious. (Anyone ever read Ovid?)
 
And that's putting it mildly. I have argued against GiC's complete dismissal of women in ancient religion, but we can't just ignore the pervasive biases, stigmas and even polemic against women so evident in ancient societies. Such is obvious in almost any text written about women. If anyone doesn't already know this, just check out Gillian Clark's Women in Late Antiquity (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994); J.P.V.D. Baldson's Roman Women: Their History and Their Habits (London: The Bodley Head, 1962); Rowan Greer's "Alien Citizens: A Marvelous Paradox" in Civitas: Religious Interpretations of the City, Peter S. Hawkins, ed. (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1986); or read any entry on women, religion and/or politics in any reputable academic encyclopedia.
 
Sure, certain pagan cults had female priests, but such didn't change the legal, political and familial role of women. In fact, many of these female priests had to exist outside the typical boundaries of femininity (by being virgins, sequestered, etc.). Even later on in the Empire, after Christianity's general triumph, married aristocratic pagan women occupied cultic rules in mystery cults at the approval and oversight of their husband. See, for example, the famous case of Paulina: http://www.stoa.org/diotima/anthology/wlgr/wlgr-religion439.shtml
 
Anyway, regardless of how one wants to tweak the evidence, all must admit that society, in general, placed various stigmas on public female leadership -- a stigma that was rooted in the belief that men were the natural leaders.
 
Now, how this belief was appropriated or not appropriated in Christianity -- and why -- is another matter.
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« Reply #574 on: May 16, 2006, 11:37:06 AM »

Continuing with the above in mind...

Chrysostom has a fairly well developed theology of the ontological distinctness of men and women. On the one hand, he emphasizes that they have an absolute identical nature and that every person, regardless of gender, class or education, is one in Christ. Yet, as a proper Late Antique thinker, he is very keen on the idea of hierarchy and divinely appointed order. Without order and regulation, society and the human person fall apart. He therefore sees God's Providence in what he perceives to be the "proper order" of everything: Nature (which is ruled by humanity), the human person (whose vicissitudes are ruled by reason), human society (which is ruled by divinely appointed rulers and laws) and even in the Godhead itself. Rule, in this sense, is not necessarily about rights, but about divine authority and voluntary (but necessary?) submission. God the Father, for example, is of the same exact essence as the Son, but the Son voluntarily submits to the authority of the Father -- and, at least in Chrysostom's thinking, this is (ontologically?) necessary (how could a son not submit to his father?).

Thus, in all relevant areas, according to Chrysostom, men rule women, or, to use the Biblical language, the man is "the head" and the woman is "the body." What does "head" and "body" mean? What is the proper relationship of men to women? Well, Chrysostom gives this explanation:

Quote
The one holds the rank (taxin) of a disciple, the other of a teacher; the one of a ruler (archontos), the other of a subject (archomenes). (PG 62.388A "Homily 12 on Colossians")

Quote
Symbols many and diverse have been given both to man and woman: to him that of rule, but to her that of subordination (upotages). (PG 61.216C "Homily 26 on I Corinthians")

To Chrysostom and his audience, this is all quite obvious and proper, reflected as it is in the world at large and in Scripture:

Quote
You are the head of the woman; then let the head regulate the rest of the body...And the rest of the body is appointed for service (diakonian), but the head is set to command. (PG 62.499D-500A "Homily 4 on II Thessalonians")

Chrysostom consistently emphasizes how obviously manifest this reality is in the world. God rules over all things; the State, composed of men, rules over society at large; men, being the head, rule their wives; all people, possessing a rational soul, rule over their passions -- there is perfect symmetry in all of God's creation.

And because of this order based on God-given authority and submission, Chrysostom can say that men are "more honorable" and "superior," since the head is obviously the "most honorable" part of the body (cf. PG 58.724D). Thus, in a famous passage, Chrysostom explains why Christ first appeared to women (hint: it ain't because the women were the ones to stick it out at the crucifixion!):

Quote
Therefore also He appeared to the women first. Because this sex was made inferior (to genos elattotai touto), therefore both in His birth and in His resurrection this (sex) first tastes of His grace. (PG 61.327C "Homily 38 on I Corinthians")


Women, in other words, need more help, more "grace," because they are naturally weaker than men (who, because of their strength, can stick it out without grace!!?). Of course, there is good reason to translate "inferior" as "weaker" or "less than" -- perhaps even lower in social position (and possibly in stature). This seems to be the case in an earlier homily on I Corinthians:

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We still greatly need the woman in other more necessary things, and we require the help of our inferiors (elattonon) in those things which keep our life together. (PG 61.291D "Homily 34 on I Corinthians")

(Somebody's gotta do the cookin'!) Thus, it seems we should interpret "inferior" to mean "lower (in terms of social position)", which would make sense based on St. John's desire to find hierarchy in all areas of the created world. The problem, however, is that St. John, like most ancient people, seems to occasionally identify outward characteristics with inward qualities. Thus, social or physical inferiority can also imply moral inferiority, e.g. the physically weak female also has a weak will and is therefore prone to sin. This seems to be the way St. John and many other Fathers interpret Eve's transgression and women's general response to hardship, battle, temptation, etc. (cf. the many times St. John praises certain women for their manliness, for overcoming their weakness, especially if they do so by means of the virginal life). Thus, women are weaker and need to be protected. By their very nature, they are not given to daring and leadership. Although St. John obviously bases his statements on Scripture, his statements are quite similar to the assumptions, arguments and explanations we find in pagan Greco-Roman sources.

All of this is in David Ford's Women and Men in the Early Church: The Full Views of St. John Chrysostom. Pretty obvious stuff, since it pops up all over the Fathers. In general, Chrysostom is quite pro-women compared to many early Fathers (especially Augustine, Jerome, even Gregory of Nyssa -- and let's not even mention our good friend Tertullian!).
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« Reply #575 on: May 16, 2006, 11:49:21 AM »

You've cut right to the problem of those supporting ordination of women; lack of evidence. Cheesy

No, lack of evidence isn't our problem, it's our point. In the absence of adequate evidence and sound theological arguments it becomes the Right of the Local Bishop, and at the very most the local synod, to decide whether to ordain women or not. The essence of the argument I have put forward isn't so much that women have to be ordained, but rather that the authority of the Episcopacy and the Synod have to be upheld as absolute on this issue, as should be the case when deciding how (or whether) to apply most customs found in the Church. What you're essentially arguing is that the Synod should be bound to follow your poorly supported personal opinion, regardless of what they believe or determine to be appropriate.

Reminds me of one of the lines Sgt. Hartman said mockingly to Pvt. Cowboy in Full Metal Jacket:
'Well thank you very much, can I be in charge for a while?'
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« Reply #576 on: May 16, 2006, 10:02:51 PM »

Quote
Clearly, women in the ancient world did not have the same rights as men. (Well, most people didn't have "rights", since political actors didn't think in terms of "rights," but in terms of duty, responsibility and propriety.) Thus, men were by nature "public" figures, whose duty it was to represent the household in public, to conduct public business, to enter into the affairs of state and public economy. Women were duty-bound to do the same for the inner-workings of the household. To do otherwise would be scandalous and, in fact, impious. (Anyone ever read Ovid?)
 
And that's putting it mildly. I have argued against GiC's complete dismissal of women in ancient religion, but we can't just ignore the pervasive biases, stigmas and even polemic against women so evident in ancient societies. Such is obvious in almost any text written about women. If anyone doesn't already know this, just check out Gillian Clark's Women in Late Antiquity (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994); J.P.V.D. Baldson's Roman Women: Their History and Their Habits (London: The Bodley Head, 1962); Rowan Greer's "Alien Citizens: A Marvelous Paradox" in Civitas: Religious Interpretations of the City, Peter S. Hawkins, ed. (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1986); or read any entry on women, religion and/or politics in any reputable academic encyclopedia.

That point is invalid.ÂÂ  The relationship between the political and the religious roles of women in ancient times have been shown to be INDEPENDENT of each other.ÂÂ  Thus, it is unscholarly to apply the status of women in society to the status of women in religion.ÂÂ  

Moreover, it is poor methodology to apply Roman culture in general to Greek culture in particular.ÂÂ  It is a question of ethnicity.

Prof. Terence Paige cautions the uninitiated:
 
http://campus.houghton.edu/webs/employees/tpaige/Construct.html
The second caution to make is not to lump together "ancient people" as if they were some homogenous culture. I realize probably no one reading this needs to be told, but it is still part of proper methodology. Evidence needs to be carefully tagged geographically and chronologically (since cultures change over time). It cannot be assumed that society and law in Egypt was the same as in Rome or Greece; or even that all of Greece was undifferentiated.

Incidentally, the case of treating the Greco-Roman empire as one homogenous culture is one of the many blunders GiC has made in this thread.
 
Quote
Anyway, regardless of how one wants to tweak the evidence, all must admit that society, in general, placed various stigmas on public female leadership -- a stigma that was rooted in the belief that men were the natural leaders.

"In general?"ÂÂ  That is the problem with that line of argument, actually.ÂÂ  To illustrate:
 
1. Women are "inferior" in Greco-Roman society in general.
2. Therefore, women are "inferior" in religion in particular.

 
The argument above is a logical fallacy, and history proves that it is wrong. One cannot generalize the status of women in society and apply it to religion.ÂÂ  Allow me to quote Prof. Paige one more time.

When we turn from the profane to the realm of the sacred, it is striking what a difference is to be seen. Even in the Greek world during the classical era--in general a more restrictive time for women everywhere than the first century A.D.--women are found participating and officiating at every level in religious cults, both private and public.

Proof of a good argument is scholarly backing and sound methodology.ÂÂ  The arguments of the proponents of female priesthood possess neither.

 Undecided
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« Reply #577 on: May 17, 2006, 01:37:33 AM »

That point is invalid.ÂÂ  The relationship between the political and the religious roles of women in ancient times have been shown to be INDEPENDENT of each other.ÂÂ  Thus, it is unscholarly to apply the status of women in society to the status of women in religion.

As my previous analysis of Imperial Religion demonstrated the discrimination against women was present in secular and religious spheres. While presence in either sphere would be adequate to prove my point of a culture of discrimination it is present in both. Frankly, in the light of the volumes that have been published on this issue (consider the ones pensateomnia posted as a good place to start), the universal discrimination against women is clear and manifest, the remnants of which are still manifest in our society today.

While I consider this issue settled, I will point out one fundamental flaw in your argument, you correctly state that we should not lump people from different regions together just because they are from the same time, I will add to that that we should not lump people of different times together just because they are from the same regions. You cite examples from the classical era, before the Roman conquest and notable Imperial influence, the relevant time here is the late second and thrid centuries after Christ, perhaps you could provide scholarship from those eras.

However, even that would not be enough, because we must realize that the initial influence on Christian worship in its most formative years was Jewish, many of the Ancient Services that evolved into what we have today were based on either the Synagogue or Temple services of Israel, both of which were officiated by men; surely you dont need citations to demonstrate the extreme misogyny that traditionally existed in Israel. Thus our initial practices would have been influenced by those, when the pagan influences began to manifest themselves in the next century, a compelling reason to change would have had to present itself. The most compelling issue was that the Church needed women to care for women because of the social standards of the day, this problem was solved by instituting the Ordained order of the Deaconess (the creation of this as an Ordained order happened somewhere between the first and fourth oecumenical synods). But the extremely misogynistic culture of the day would not allow women to have positions of authority and be the equal of men.
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« Reply #578 on: May 17, 2006, 04:12:54 AM »

Quote
As my previous analysis of Imperial Religion demonstrated the discrimination against women was present in secular and religious spheres.

No, the discrimination against women among Greeks is virtually absent in the religious sphere.  The fact remains that women enjoyed special privileges in the field of religion, which is in direct contrast to their "inferior" role in society.

Quote
While presence in either sphere would be adequate to prove my point of a culture of discrimination it is present in both.

What you need to establish is the connection between the secular and the religious spheres given the facts of history, i.e. how the two are related.  You repeatedly assert in the absence of historical support that the degree of discrimination against women in Greco-Roman society in general is DIRECTLY proportional to the degree, if any, of discrimination against women in the field of religion.

Quote
Frankly, in the light of the volumes that have been published on this issue (consider the ones pensateomnia posted as a good place to start), the universal discrimination against women is clear and manifest, the remnants of which are still manifest in our society today.

Going from the universal to the particular again?  Why do you keep on holding to this fallacy?

Quote
While I consider this issue settled, I will point out one fundamental flaw in your argument, you correctly state that we should not lump people from different regions together just because they are from the same time, I will add to that that we should not lump people of different times together just because they are from the same regions.

Of course geography is important.  When did I say that it was not?

Quote
You cite examples from the classical era, before the Roman conquest and notable Imperial influence, the relevant time here is the late second and thrid centuries after Christ, perhaps you could provide scholarship from those eras.

No, I cited first century events also.  The link I gave is essentially a survey of 1st century Corinth. 

As for the second and third centuries...

Quote
However, even that would not be enough, because we must realize that the initial influence on Christian worship in its most formative years was Jewish, many of the Ancient Services that evolved into what we have today were based on either the Synagogue or Temple services of Israel, both of which were officiated by men; surely you dont need citations to demonstrate the extreme misogyny that traditionally existed in Israel.

Look, you just said that the relevant time is the late second and third centuries after Christ, and now you're saying that it is actually the formative years of Christianity which was brought about by Old Testament "misoginy."  You're confused.  You should make up your mind and stick to a single theory.

At any rate, your argument is based on a single presupposition: that the institution of male priesthood in both Old and New Testaments is a product of a misogynistic culture. 

That's basically your conclusion in a nutshell.

And that's circular reasoning.

Quote
Thus our initial practices would have been influenced by those, when the pagan influences began to manifest themselves in the next century, a compelling reason to change would have had to present itself.

That's another blunder.  You're saying that the acceptance of women in the 2nd century is a pagan concept.  If that is so, then ordination of women wouldn't be a good thing.
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« Reply #579 on: May 17, 2006, 07:51:52 AM »

Dude,
Don't you read?
They tell me I don't count, but I guess I'll add that one to the list.
Do you just shoot from the hip?
We're going nowhere with this because you refuse to really read and understand what I have posted.

If I seem to you to have ignored the following...
Thus, in order to answer Carpatho Russian's question and support your claim, you would need to provide an example of an extra-Biblical practice or doctrine that the Church specifically claims She has adopted because JESUS HIMSELF secretly taught it to his "Apostles/Church"
It's because I don't accept the premise of the challenge. I don't because I don't believe any of His teachings were secret. I already noted this in a thread previous to yours (Post #562). Perhaps you missed that? I'll revisit this idea, at the end of the thread, just to make sure we're all clear on it.

I thought Pensateomnia explained the situation very well in his post.ÂÂ  I, unfortunately, would not have been so charitable.
Sorry, I thought the logic of it was self-evident.

Jesus taught us 'stuff' in the Bible.
The Bible itself says that not all that 'stuff' that Jesus taught is in the Bible.
We believe in things that aren't taught in the Bible. Some are ideas that are novel (the Ever-Virgin Mary), some are differences in detail.
The issue of divorce is one such example of the latter. Now you either believe that the Church is teaching something absolutely contrary to what Jesus taught, or you believe it isn't. That's as simple as it gets. The Church itself (I don't believe) has the authority to 're-write' what Jesus taught. So assuming you believe that the Church teaches Jesus' message, then the 'details' of divorce must come from Jesus. It goes the same for all the 'examples' you gave in #551.

A modification to this I would believe is that one can accept is to state that the details came from the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, rather than from Jesus during His ministry. And I can add to this that 'details' of Mary's life may have been given by the Theotokos herself.

In reading (and I've still not finished it) “St. Cyril of Alexandria: The Christological Controversy : Its History, Theology, and Texts” by John Anthony McGuckin we see how the church reacted when challenged to a truth. When teaching on the issue of the Trinity, Cyril's argument in effect said "This is what we always taught". You either believe that Jesus said some things and the church teaches a very different idea, or that the church continues with what Jesus taught as it always has. There was no secret there, for it was always taught. The 'details' of the Triune nature of God are not found in the Bible... for theologians of Cyril's day (later ones too) had to come up with new words to describe more exactly the nature of the union of the Trinity... which they always taught and believed.

Which do you believe? That... ?
a) the church teaches things contrary to what Jesus taught
b) the church made up the details
c) the church has always taught the Way of Jesus
d) another way I've not yet considered.
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« Reply #580 on: May 17, 2006, 08:50:52 AM »

They tell me I don't count, but I guess I'll add that one to the list.
If I seem to you to have ignored the following...It's because I don't accept the premise of the challenge. I don't because I don't believe any of His teachings were secret.

Okay. That's good. In other words, you misspoke/miswrote when you said:

I would conclude that Jesus made His meaning more clear to the Apostles/Church which allowed for these things (re: divorce in some circumstances).

Because if Jesus, in fact, made His meaning "more clear" on divorce -- and this "more clear" meaning is at odds with what is contained in the Scripture -- then such would be a secret teaching, wouldn't it? Just like he made himself "more clear" about the real nature of women at the end of the Sayings Gospel of Thomas.

Quote
Jesus taught us 'stuff' in the Bible.
The Bible itself says that not all that 'stuff' that Jesus taught is in the Bible.
We believe in things that aren't taught in the Bible. Some are ideas that are novel (the Ever-Virgin Mary), some are differences in detail.
The issue of divorce is one such example of the latter...So assuming you believe that the Church teaches Jesus' message, then the 'details' of divorce must come from Jesus.

 Huh There's the same logic again. JESUS HIMSELF secretly taught the Apostles a truth about divorce that was at odds with what he taught in public. Maybe Karen King is right! The Gospel of Thomas SHOULD be considered the fourth gospel. I mean, Jesus certainly had some harsh words for the Samaritan woman! He probably really hated women (and called for divorce!), but he didn't want too many people to know that, so he only told the Apostles in secret.

In all seriousness: Of course Jesus told his disciples things that did not get recorded in Scripture, but, as St. Ireneaus goes to great length to prove, these things were never at odds with what he publicly proclaimed. Further, we don't know exactly what he told his Apostles vs. what his Apostles (and the early Church) later discerned as right and fitting with the inspiration of the Spirit.

I mean, that's why Jesus sent the Comforter in the first place, right? To lead us into the fullness of Truth? Doesn't it make more sense to claim that all-male priesthood is a truth revealed to the Church through the Spirit? (It's just as non-falsifiable, but at least it isn't willfully anachronistic).

Second: Even if we take your strange and anachronistic line, the Apostles never taught that divorce was acceptable on the grounds of impotency! (Where does St. Paul say that!?) Nor did they teach that a SECOND divorce was acceptable. The Apostles, the early Fathers, the canons -- all of these -- for EIGHT CENTURIES taught something obviously different than what we now practice. That's why there was a controversy in the 9th century! Why would there have been a controversy over the Church's innovative acceptance of divorce for extra-Scriptural reasons if this was somehow a "more clear" teaching from Jesus? The mind is boggled.

As far as the Church's stance on divorce being a "difference in the details," let's just quote from St. Theodore the Studite, who called it a "grievous false teaching," "heresy," "heretical impiety" and urged all his spiritual children "neither to commune with these individuals, nor to commemorate them in the most holy monastery at the Divine Liturgy, because very grave are the threats voiced by the Saints against those who compromise with it [the Moechian heresy], even with regard to eating together." St. Theodore the Studite, Patrologia Græca, Vol. XCIX, col. 1048CD and 1049A (Epistle I.39: "To Theophilos the Abbot").

St. Theodore could not find anyone who could explain how this innovation on divorce accorded with Christ's teaching and eight centuries of Tradition. Perhaps some such person exists today?
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« Reply #581 on: May 17, 2006, 11:01:55 AM »

Look, you just said that the relevant time is the late second and third centuries after Christ, and now you're saying that it is actually the formative years of Christianity which was brought about by Old Testament "misoginy."ÂÂ  You're confused.ÂÂ  You should make up your mind and stick to a single theory.

Ok, I'm going to say this again, and very carefully this time, to make sure you get it. The history of Christianity is the History of the Marriage of Greek and Jewish Culture, the unity of Philosophy and Law. We began very Jewish and ended up with strong Pagan and Jewish influences. The inital basis for our customs, theology, law, etc. was Jewish law, adapted for missionary work. As the Church spread the Greeco-Roman Influence increase, considerably influencing the evolution of our theology, traditions, and customs. Thus, the primary influence on Christianity until about AD 150, give or take a few decades, would have been Jewish, thereafter pagan (non-Jewish) influence would begin to increase, so while we still had that base the future evolution of that base would be based on pagan culture. That's why BOTH are factors, it's not either or; we must consider the initial influences on the Church and Evolution of the Church, dependent on the social realities it encountered.

Quote
At any rate, your argument is based on a single presupposition: that the institution of male priesthood in both Old and New Testaments is a product of a misogynistic culture.ÂÂ  

Well, no one has yet given me anything even approaching a viable theological explanation, so I would say that my initial hypothesis (by now Theory) is pretty well grounded. However, what is somewhat sickening is that people are giving (essentially heretical), poorly developed, off-the-cuff, 'theological' explanations, trying to theologically defend (and, presumably, thereby justify???) this great atrocity. And, frankly, in the absence of an EXCELLENT and IMPREGNABLE theological argument to the Contrary, one which is beyond reproach, I believe that the rational mind can only accept the reasonable sociological conclusion that I have drawn. Of course, being finals week and all I dont have the time to devote to the proper research (as though I'm going to do substantial research for an internet message board anyway), but some things are rather self-evident.

Quote
That's basically your conclusion in a nutshell.

And that's circular reasoning.

A culture was misogynistic, therefore when this culture developed religion men had greater influence than women...I fail to see the circular reasoning of that argument. The conclusion may be so obvious to be called a corollary, but that's hardly circular by any stretch of the imagination.

Or are you refering to the Church being influenced by the Jews who initially formed it being circular? I fear that unless you're doing some very strange (yet fun) things with the general theory of relativity, timelines are not circular.

Quote
That's another blunder.ÂÂ  You're saying that the acceptance of women in the 2nd century is a pagan concept.ÂÂ  If that is so, then ordination of women wouldn't be a good thing.

The Trinity is also a concept that came from paganism, you dont see many trinitarian Jews today, do you? So I presume that you want to throw out the doctrine of the Trinity as well? We're Christians, not Jews, if you want to be a Jew, why don't you go join them? Roll Eyes
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« Reply #582 on: May 17, 2006, 11:52:31 AM »

Prof. Terence Paige cautions the uninitiated:
 

Oh! How could I, an uninitiate, have been so foolish as to contradict a New Testament professor at a small Protestant college! Oh, wait! Phew. I actually didn't contradict him! I read his article (which was nice, considering its intentionally limited scope) and not only are you so eager to disprove GiC that you lump ME in with him and misread/misapply my statements, you also extract pieces of Prof. Paige's article out of context...GiC should be proud that his rhetoric over evidence approach is spreading.

Sigh. Nevermind. I had a point-by-point response, but lost it when I got automatically logged off. What's the point when faced with knee-jerk reactions and argument by appeal to "authority"? (I mean, I assume you've read all of what Pliny the Elder, Cicero and Ovid had to say on the role of women in society and religion before coming to your conclusions, right? That you've examined the many relevant sections of St. Clement of Alexandria, St. Jerome, St. John Chrysostom? That you've come to terms with Gillian Clark's Women in Late Antiquity and have produced excellent primary-source-based rebuttals of Elizabeth Clark's and Averil Cameron's many books on the subject. Surely, one wouldn't make up one's mind and make public proclamations on the issue before doing so, right?)

Here's the pertinent question: What do you make of St. John Chrysostom's view of women?
« Last Edit: May 17, 2006, 12:09:41 PM by pensateomnia » Logged

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« Reply #583 on: May 17, 2006, 09:52:30 PM »

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Oh! How could I, an uninitiate, have been so foolish as to contradict a New Testament professor at a small Protestant college! Oh, wait! Phew.

Perfect.  Ad hominem is a such a [/i]good[/i] rebuttal.

Quote
Sigh. Nevermind. I had a point-by-point response, but lost it when I got automatically logged off. What's the point when faced with knee-jerk reactions and argument by appeal to "authority"? (I mean, I assume you've read all of what Pliny the Elder, Cicero and Ovid had to say on the role of women in society and religion before coming to your conclusions, right? That you've examined the many relevant sections of St. Clement of Alexandria, St. Jerome, St. John Chrysostom? That you've come to terms with Gillian Clark's Women in Late Antiquity and have produced excellent primary-source-based rebuttals of Elizabeth Clark's and Averil Cameron's many books on the subject. Surely, one wouldn't make up one's mind and make public proclamations on the issue before doing so, right?)

You seem to be an expert on the subject.  How about sharing with us--without resorting to logical fallacy--their views on the roles of women in RELIGION in the Roman Empire and how it supposedly influenced Christianity, particularly in the gender of the priesthood?   

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Here's the pertinent question: What do you make of St. John Chrysostom's view of women?

I will not speculate as others do.  And neither will I re-interpret the words he wrote.
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« Reply #584 on: May 17, 2006, 10:27:52 PM »

Quote
Oh! How could I, an uninitiate, have been so foolish as to contradict a New Testament professor at a small Protestant college! Oh, wait! Phew.

Perfect.ÂÂ  Ad hominem is a such a [/i]good[/i] rebuttal.

What ad hominem? He didn't attack you, he attacked your so-called authority figure...attacking the authority in an 'appeal to authority' argument is not an ad hominem. Roll Eyes
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