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Consider this: when God created all the animals he made male and female together. Then he created Adam. Adam was alone in the Garden of Eden, so God puts Adam to sleep, extracts one of his ribs and out of that single rib creates Eve. Even before the fall woman is accorded inferior status by deliberately being created after Adam instead of being created together. Why would an all-knowing God create man first then woman, shouldn't he have known that Adam would need a partner?
Anyway, God places Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and permits them to eat the fruit from all the trees but one - the tree of "knowledge"! The serpent, a wise and knowing creature approached Eve and suggested that she eat from the forbidden tree. When Eve saw that the fruit was desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it - it is no surprise that Abrahamic religions value ignorance as a virtue for women. Adam is exonerated from sin since it was the woman who led him astray. Perhaps Adam would have been better off with an inflatable doll rather than a real, thinking woman!
Quote: "Woman is more guilty than man, because she was seduced by Satan, and so diverted her husband from obedience to God that she was an instrument of death leading to all perdition. It is necessary that woman recognize this, and that she learn to what she is subjected; and not only against her husband. This is reason enough why today she is placed below and that she bears within her ignominy and shame." [/xquote]
Eve was punished severely for her attempt to gain knowledge, for disobedience and for exerting independence from her husband. I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing... Your desire will be for your husband and he will rule over you." Genesis 3:16. In accordance with God's command, some fundamentalist sects forbid painkillers during childbirth.
Some years ago I had a heated discussion with a Greek Orthodox woman regarding the subject of women priests. She claimed that women should not and could not become priests because of their monthly unclean state - they would defile the altar. Her view summed up the biblical contempt for women's bodies and natural functions (also shared by Islam and Judaism) There are several verses in the bible that emphasise women's uncleanness.
"A woman who becomes pregnant and gives birth to a son will be ceremonially unclean for seven days, just as she is unclean during her monthly period. On the eighth day the boy is to be circumcised. Then the woman must wait thirty-three days to be purified from her bleeding. She must not touch anything sacred or go to the sanctuary until the days of her purification are over. If she gives birth to a daughter, for two weeks the woman will be unclean, as during her period. Then she must wait sixty-six days to be purified from her bleeding. These are the regulations for the woman who gives birth to a boy or a girl. She is to bring two doves or two pigeons, one for a burnt offering and the other for a sin offering. In this way the priest will make atonement for her, and she will be clean." Leviticus 12: 1-8
If a woman gives birth to a girl she is unclean for twice as long.
"When a woman has her regular flow of blood, the impurity of her monthly period will last seven days, and anyone who touches her will be unclean till evening. ? If a man lies with her and her monthly flow touches him, he will be unclean for seven days..." Leviticus 15:19-32.
?Man born of woman?Who can bring what is pure from the impure? No one!? Job 14:1-4
In some denominations women are still considered unclean during their menses. E.g. in the Greek Orthodox church women who have given birth attend church forty days after the birth to make amends for their uncleanness and be declared clean by the priest. Young women are still exhorted by their mothers and mothers in law to bow to this insulting and demeaning ritual.
The words whore and harlot are used frequently in the bible to describe women who deviated from the double standards sexual moral code. Women's bodies were not their own but the property of fathers and husbands. Virginity and chastity were mandatory for women and any woman breaking the double standard moral code was put to death. Under Mosaic Law men were permitted many wives while women were permitted only one and were subject to a test for unfaithfulness - Numbers 5:11-31. Men could divorce their wives on a whim - Deuteronomy 24:1-4. Women's main role was to bear male children and infertile women were scorned. In the bible it was always the women who were sterile, never the men.
??If however the charge is true and no proof of the girl?s virginity can be found, she shall be brought to the door of her father's house and there the men of her town shall stone her to death..." Deuteronomy 22:13-21.
Cultures, which demand virginity and chastity in women, have as their bedrock the double standard morality code. If men are encouraged to view women as depreciative chattels they will never regard them as human. And if women are not regarded as human, then all kinds of atrocities and injustices are permissible against them! "For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. For this reason, and because of the angels, the woman ought to have a sign of authority on her head;" 1 Corinthians 11:9, 10.
??women should remain silent in churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission...? 1 Corinthians 14:34
?Wives submit to your husbands, as is fitting to the Lord.? Colossians 3:18
Polygamy still exists amongst fundamentalist Mormons and certain sects. A fundamentalist group in America instructs women to call their husbands MASTER and to practice the art of being a SLAVE. Various fundamentalists exhort wives to submit and obey and have embarked on a chastity crusade targeting young women.
Today the religious right still uses the bible as a manual for the enslavement of women and persecution of homosexuals. Not only is the bible infested with sexism, but violence and obscenity also abound. Under the guise of "family values", the religious right is fighting to reverse all the gains made by women: the right to own property, the right to tertiary education, the right to work, the right to childcare, the right to vote, the right to plan their families, the right to equal wages, the right to enter politics and above all the right to sexual autonomy.
In the Roman Catholic tradition the Virgin Mary is held up as a role model for women. She symbolizes female "virtues" such as obedience, submission, chastity and silence. In fervent Catholic countries, Catholic women are encouraged to emulate her. In fact the more women submit and self-efface themselves the more they are praised for being ?good? Christian women. The Roman Catholic Church glorifies one woman while it rubbishes all the rest.
The "glory" of motherhood is constantly drummed into women with the intent of preventing them from doing anything else. At the same time the bible emphasises women's uncleanness after childbirth, and states that we are all born sinful. Even Mary had to make a sin offering after the birth of Jesus.
Women should beware of campaigns to enshrine "God's Law" and "family values" into secular law. Whenever "family values" and "god's law" are mentioned, the little alarm bells inside my head start ringing loudly!
It is time women saw the bible for what it is: a man-made, primitive "revelation"! No woman with a shred of self-esteem would want to demean herself by bowing to such tyrannical and self-effacing absolutes. Every time a woman submits to such demotion she throws away her sell-worth. Women's self-worth is anathema to fundamentalists who accuse women of being selfish and ungiving.
Some Christian apologists claim that sexist biblical verses are a reflection of Hebrew society of that time and that Jesus Christ was a reformer who endeavoured to improve the status of women. They point to Proverbs 31:10-31 describing the virtues of a good wife - hard working, intelligent while implying that such women are so rare that their price is more than the price of rubies. On the other hand, fundamentalists invoke sexist verses in order to deny women their rights. In the US, Reconstructionists dream of doing away with the constitution and enforcing their own version of "God's law" based on the Old Testament. They advocate the death penalty for adultery, homosexuality, witchcraft, blasphemy, unchastity and sacrificing to "false gods".
Despite apologists attempts to "white-wash" the bible with a litany of excuses, it does not change the fact that the bible is anti women.
I urge you not to take my word for it but to check it out yourself. Here are some more biblical "gems" to look up:
2:22 Eve created from Adam's rib. 3:16 Cursed with painful childbirth and domination by husband. 4:17 Cain marries sister? 4:19 Man marries two wives. 12:13-19 Abraham prostitutes wife. 19:1-8 Rape virgin daughters instead of male angels. 19:26 Lot's wife turned into pillar of salt for disobeying god. 19:30-38 Lot impregnates his two daughters while drunk. (So much for "family values"!) 20:2-12 Abraham prostitutes wife - again. 25:1-6 Keeping many concubines is OK.
20:17 Wife as property. 21:4 Wife and children belong to master. 21:7-11 OK to sell daughters. Female slaves can be used for sex. Polygamy permitted. Unwanted female slaves can be set "free" without payment of money. 22:18 Kill witches.
12:1 Childbirth a sin, Women unclean after childbirth. 15:19-32 Menstruating women are unclean. 20:10-16 Death penalty for homosexuality and various sexual transgressions. 21:7 Priests must not marry prostitutes or divorcees. 21:9 Burn daughters. 21:13-14 Priest must marry virgin, not "used" woman.
1:2 Census lists only men - women do not count. 5:11-31 Fidelity test for women only. 30:1-16 Woman's vow invalid unless approved by her father or husband. 31:17-18 Kill all except virgins. Keep virgins for yourselves. CH 12 Miriam punished for rebuking Moses.
20:14 Take women, livestock as plunder. 22:13-21 Stone non-virgin bride. 22:23-24 Stone rapist and rape victim. 22:28 Rape victim must marry rapist; rape victim's father compensated for depreciation of his property. 25:11-12 Cut woman's hand for touching foe's penis. 24:1-5 Man can "send" wife from HIS house. Man must not marry "used" woman. 28:18 The FRUIT of your womb will be cursed - eclectic "pro-life" verse!
5:30 Women are spoils of war. 14:20 Samson gives wife to another man. 16:1 Samson visits prostitute. CH 19 Concubine pack-raped and butchered. 21:10-12 Slaughtered all inc. women and children. Saved virgins for wives. 21:21 Abducted girls for wives.
Ruth shags Boaz.
15:2-3 Attack Amalekites, kill men, women, children and livestock. 22:19 Kill all inc. infants and livestock. 21:4-5 Men avoid defilement with women.
5:13 David took many wives and concubines. CH 13 Ammon rapes his own sister. 16:21-22 Absalom sleeps with his father's concubines. 6:20-23 Mischal punished with bareness.
11:3 Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines.
9:30-37 Brutal murder of Jezebel.
15:13 Put to death unbelievers. 11:21 Hoards of wives and concubines.
CH 1-2 Queen Vashti dethroned for disobedience; setting "bad" example to all other women.
51:5 Sinful since conception. 127:3 Sons are heritage from god. 137:9 Seizes infants and dashes them against rocks.
CH 5 Beware of wicked women! CH 7 More of the above. 6:24 As above. 31:3 Do not waste strength on women.
3:16-26 Lord punishes haughty women. 4:4 Filthy women. 13:16 Ravish wives, dash infants. 19:16 Will be like women! (insult to Egyptians)
9:6-7 Slaughter all including children. CH 16 Prostitutes, stoning, promiscuity... CH 23 Tale of two adulterous sisters - reads like the script of a pornographic film. I bet you weren't told this story at Sunday school!
13:16 Rip pregnant women, dash little ones. (Another "pro-life" verse!)
3:4... wanton lust of a harlot... prostitution... witchcraft. 3:5 I will lift your skirts over your face! 3:13... Your troops are all women. (insult to Nineveh)
5:32Husband can divorce wife for adultery. Can wife divorce husband for the same? CH 25 Sexist tale of ten virgins.
2:22 Mary must be purified after birth of Jesus. 2:49 Jesus rebukes his mother.
11:2-10... Woman created for man. 14:34 Women must be silent in churches.
5:22-24 Wives must submit to husbands in everything.
3:18 Wives submit to husbands. 3:22 Slaves must obey masters in everything.
2:11-15 Woman must not have authority?she must be silent. Women can be saved with childbearing. 5:9-10 Widows should be faithful to husband and must wash saints' feet.
2:18 Slaves submit to masters, even masters who are harsh. 3:1 Wives submit. 3:5-6 Sarah calls husband master.
CH 17 Destroy great prostitute. 14:4...they did not DEFILE themselves with women but kept themselves pure.
Yes, since the beginning of humanity's developmental trend away from the Matriarchal level of consciousness to the Patriarchal level (from Jungian analyst Erich Neumann's work, particularly in 'The Great Mother') the Patriarchy has ruled. But just because the masculine bias has dominated does NOT mean that it is or has been accurate.
This is why several of my posts draw attention to the vector of Christianity known as Gnostic Christianity. Not that any one school should be dogmatically embraced, the Gnostics continued the early egalitarian attitude that Jesus established. This is why The Gospel of Mary Magdalene and other 'heretical' gospels which were eliminated from the canon: they said that it was Magdalene - a woman - who not only was the 'Apostle to the Apostles' because she was the first to witness the Resurrection (whatever that event actually was), and that it was Mary, not John who was the beloved disciple. DaVinci's 'Last Supper' illustrates a woman at the position that the 'beloved disciple' is to have had (unless John had breasts), so it is not a new idea. I do not personally believe that Jesus and Mary had children who grew up in France and became the Merovingian blood-line, but it is more than conceivable that the mysogynistic Church Fathers distorted the Truth for their own female-despising agendas. Moreover, in Judaism, a man was not allowed to speak openly in the Temple unless married and therefore 'complete' in his psychosexual and psychospiritual development. It is also conceivable that Mary was His 'wife' in a perhaps, unconventional sense. The later celibate value NEVER had a place in Jewish theology (except perhaps with the Essenes, which John the Baptist may have been, but not Jesus).
On my home shrine-table I have added statues of Mary Magdalene and Mary the Mother of Jesus, as well as a statue of Sophia - GOD's Wisdom - depicted as the Divine Feminine. These are there to balance the masculine representational art of the crucifix, a Cosmic Christ in the maw of Hell, a seven-branched menorah and a model of the Kabbalistic Tree (Feminine-Masculine-Neutral/Abstract). This bit of representational play is symbolic of our attempt to pull the obscured Divine Femine out of the Masculine, like Athena emerging from the head of Zeus. In Aramaic, Jesus would have (perhaps) called GOD "Abwoon," 'Cosmic Birther' or 'Cosmic Mother-Father,' with etymological roots in the same place as the Arabic 'Allah.' Oddly enough, as severely patriarchal as Islam is, their Name of GOD has a feminine component built into it. Anyway, thought I'd respond. Shalom. Salaam.
Some balance here but it ain't easy; tough row to hoe, so to say. Notice that it is all language. Meaning is intimately involved with language. And Being can not be divorced from meaning. Don't ask me what that means, but understand that it is meaning-full.
Jesus' radical treatment of women:
Christ overthrew many centuries of Jewish law and custom. He consistently treated women and men as equals. He violated numerous Old Testament regulations, which specified gender inequality. He refused to follow the behavioral rules established by the three major Jewish religious groups of the day: the Essenes, Pharisees and Sadducees. "The actions of Jesus of Nazareth towards women were therefore revolutionary." 1 Some examples are:
He ignored ritual impurity laws: Mark 5:25-34 describes Jesus' cure of a woman who suffered from menstrual bleeding for 12 years. In Judean society of the day, it was a major transgression for a man to talk to a woman other than his wife or children.
He talked to foreign women: John 4:7 to 5:30 describes Jesus' conversation with a woman of Samaria. She was doubly ritually unclean since she was both a foreigner and a woman. Men were not allowed to talk to women, except within thier own families. Jesus also helped a Canaanite woman, another foreigner, in Matthew 15:21. He is recorded as curing her daughter of demon-possession.
He taught women students: Jewish tradition at the time was to not allow women to be taught. Rabbi Eliezer wrote in the 1st century CE: "Rather should the words of the Torah be burned than entrusted to a woman...Whoever teaches his daughter the Torah is like one who teaches her obscenity." 5 ?Jesus overthrew centuries of tradition. In Luke 10:38-42, he taught Mary.
He used terminology which treated women as equal to men:
Luke 13:16 describes how he cured a woman from an indwelling Satanic spirit. He called her a daughter of Abraham, thus implying that she had equal status with sons of Abraham. "The expression 'son of Abraham' was commonly used to respectfully refer to a Jew, but 'daughter of Abraham', was an unknown parallel phrase...It occurs nowhere else in the Bible." It seems to be a designation created by Jesus.
Luke 7:35 to 8:50 describes how Jesus' forgave a woman's sins. He refers to women and men (i.e. "all" people) as children of wisdom.
He accepted women in his inner circle: Luke 8:1-3 describes the inner circle of Jesus' followers: 12 male disciples and an unspecified number female supporters (Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Susanna and "many others.") It would appear that about half of his closest followers were women.
He appeared first to a woman after his resurrection: Matthew 28:9-10 describes how Mary Magdalene and "the other Mary" were the first followers of Jesus to meet him after his resurrection. (However, this account is contradicted by passages in 1 Corinthians, which state that the first person to see Jesus was Cleopas, Peter or all of the disciples.)
Women were present at Jesus' death: Matthew 27:55-56 and Mark 15:40-41 describe many women who followed Jesus from Galilee and were present at his crucifixion. The men had fled from the scene. (John 19:25-27 contradicts this; the author describes John as being present with the women.)
He told parallel stories: The author of the Gospel of Luke and of Acts shows many parallel episodes: one relating to a woman, the other to a man. For example:
Simeon and Hannah in Luke 2:25-38
Widow of Sarepta and Naaman in Luke 4:25-38
Healing of a man possessed by a demon and the healing of the mother of Peter's wife, starting in Luke 4:31
The woman who had lived a sinful life and Simon, starting in Luke 7:36
A man and woman sleeping together in Luke 17:34
Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5:1-11
Dionysius and Damaris in Acts 17:34
Lydia and the jailer's conversion in Acts 16:14-34
The book "Women in the Earliest Churches" lists 9 additional parallels. 3 Author Ben Withernington III quotes H. Flender:
"Luke expresses by this arrangement that man and woman stand together and side by side before God. They are equal in honor and grace; they are endowed with the same gifts and have the same responsibilities."
He expressed concern for widows: Jesus repeated the importance of supporting widows throughout his ministry. The Gospel of Luke alone contains 6 references to widows: (Luke 2:36, 4:26, 7:11, 18:1, 20:47 and 21:1)
Divorce: In Jesus' time, a man could divorce his wife, but the wife had no right to divorce her husband. This practice is supported by seven? references in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) in which a husband gives his wife a bill of divorce. There were no references to a woman giving her husband such a bill. In Mark 10:11-12, Jesus overthrows this tradition and states that neither spouse can divorce the other; he treats the wife and husband equally.?
There are two passages where Jesus deviates from his usual practice of treating women equally:
His disciples: There are three conflicting lists of the names of the 12 disciples that Jesus selected. In all cases, the disciples were male. He later selected a total of 70 disciples; the gender makeup of the latter group was not recorded.
Levirate Marriage: In Mark 12:18-27 Jesus answered a question posed by some Sadducees. They described a woman who was widowed and required to marry her brother-in-law. This was called a "Levirate" marriage. Their first-born son will be considered to be the son of the deceased husband. In this case, they imagined that seven brothers-in-law married her in succession without having a son. Jesus could have used the opportunity to preach on the unfairness of this requirement of Jewish law (from Deuteronomy 25:5-10). After all, the woman was not allowed to refuse to marry any of the brothers, even if she despised some of them. Levirate marriage often involved serial rape. But Jesus is not recorded as having condemned the practice.
There is a passage in the Christian Scriptures (New Testament) where Jesus is reported as having insulted a woman. He referred to her as a dog, a sub-human. However, his treatment of the woman was apparently based on racist feelings, not on sexist beliefs. In Matthew 15:22-28 she was described as a Canaanite; Mark 7:25-30 identifyied her as Greek/Syrophenician. She had pleaded with Jesus to cure her daughter who was possessed by a demon. He first ignored her, but then explained that he was sent only to bring the Gospel to the Jews, not to the Gentiles such as she. Jesus cruelly replied to the desperate mother that it was not right for him "to take the children's bread and to cast it to dogs." i.e. it is not appropriate to take the Gospel, which was intended only for the Jews, and offer it to Gentiles as well -- here described as sub-humans, as dogs. (Observant Jews in the 1st century CE often referred to Gentiles contemptuously as "dogs.") She quipped back to Jesus that even the "dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table." Jesus relented and, from a distance, cured the daughter of demonic possession because of the mother's faith.
Treatment of Mary Magdalene by an Angel:
In Matthew 28:1-7, after Jesus' resurrection, "Mary Magdalene and the other Mary" receive the first apostolic commission of any human - to tell the good news of the? resurrection to the disciples. This is reinforced by Jesus' appearance before the two women. The two Marys were thus the first apostles.