Equal treatment of women in the Bible?


#1

I don’t know if this is the right place to be asking this, but I figured Scripture might be a good place to start since we don’t really have a “history” forum–today, it’s generally (well, that’s an overstatement really, but anyway) well-accepted that women are equal to men. (Not trying to get into semantics here, but I figure everyone can understand what I mean by equal.) And in Genesis, God makes Eve as a partner to Adam. So where, somewhere along the line, did women somehow become inferior/treated as property? By the time we get to Deuteronomy, women can’t make decisions about things like marriage for themselves. Today, most of us would view that as oppressive. So if we were created to all be as equals, why did God allow that treatment in His laws? And is there any consensus on how that inequality developed?


#2

[quote="PrayingDuck, post:1, topic:345622"]
I don't know if this is the right place to be asking this, but I figured Scripture might be a good place to start since we don't really have a "history" forum--today, it's generally (well, that's an overstatement really, but anyway) well-accepted that women are equal to men. (Not trying to get into semantics here, but I figure everyone can understand what I mean by equal.) And in Genesis, God makes Eve as a partner to Adam. So where, somewhere along the line, did women somehow become inferior/treated as property? By the time we get to Deuteronomy, women can't make decisions about things like marriage for themselves. Today, most of us would view that as oppressive. So if we were created to all be as equals, why did God allow that treatment in His laws? And is there any consensus on how that inequality developed?

[/quote]

The Bible does not say that Eve was equal to Adam but that she was a "perfect helpmate" or "helper fit for him."

I'm not debating the issue raised about equality but correcting a misstatement of Scripture.

-Tim-


#3

[quote="PrayingDuck, post:1, topic:345622"]
I don't know if this is the right place to be asking this, but I figured Scripture might be a good place to start since we don't really have a "history" forum--today, it's generally (well, that's an overstatement really, but anyway) well-accepted that women are equal to men. (Not trying to get into semantics here, but I figure everyone can understand what I mean by equal.) And in Genesis, God makes Eve as a partner to Adam. So where, somewhere along the line, did women somehow become inferior/treated as property?

[/quote]

Traditionally, this is thought to have happened after the fall. Man suffers as worker and labourer...

And to Adam he said: Because thou hast hearkened to the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee, that thou shouldst not eat, cursed is the earth in thy work: with labour and toil shalt thou eat thereof all the days of thy life.
Thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to thee, and thou shalt eat the herbs of the earth.
In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread till thou return to the earth out of which thou wast taken: for dust thou art, and into dust thou shalt return.

...and woman suffers as wife and mother.

To the woman also he said: I will multiply thy sorrows, and thy conceptions: in sorrow shalt thou bring forth children, and thou shalt be under thy husband's power, and he shall have dominion over thee.

But note that the woman also receives a promise - fulfilled in the Blessed Virgin Mary:

I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall cursh thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel.

(Most modern translations have "his heel" rather than "her heel"; in both cases, the reference is to the "Seed of the Woman", namely, Jesus Christ, Son of Man and Son of God.)

By the time we get to Deuteronomy, women can't make decisions about things like marriage for themselves. Today, most of us would view that as oppressive. So if we were created to all be as equals, why did God allow that treatment in His laws? And is there any consensus on how that inequality developed?

Following the Fall, human society slowly dissolved into chaos (Genesis 6). Even in the restoration after the Flood (Genesis 9ff), humans were far from perfect; there were wars (Genesis 14) and towns that violated the sacred duty of hospitality and practiced various perversions (Genesis 19). The Deuteronomic code, given by God through Moses to His chosen people, should not be viewed as a gold standard on how to treat women; rather, it is God's attempt to impose some order on a society that was quite primitive, and which understood Him imperfectly. Compared to, say, Canaanite culture, the Deuteronomic code was amazingly progressive. Things like animal sacrifice must be interpreted in the same way.


#4

, "...and thou shalt be under thy husband's power, and he shall have dominion over thee".

I copied this from a previous post. That's what I was thinking, exactly.


#5

It is clear from the Bible that man has dominion over his woman. This is understood in most native societies across the world. Our Muslim brothers have a more complete understanding of this reality than the West. Democracy started to fail as a system when New Zealand gave women the vote. Marriages fail because women don't understand their place in the relationship. Submission to your husband is now being encouraged by many protestant sects. Women demanding the right to work has destroyed the family. Do I have to go on?
(We Aussies call this contribution to this thread - stirring the possum.)


#6

I wouldn’t really cite Islam as exemplary. Their “understanding” of this teaching includes honour killings, stoning women (and often allowing men to escape) for adultery, polygamy, female genital mutilation…I think I’ll stop here.

Democracy started to fail as a system when New Zealand gave women the vote.

Highly debatable. All forms of human government are fallible. There were problems with democracy long before women got the vote, and you can’t reduce a complex political landscape to one act. Your statement is an example of the post hoc, ergo propter hoc fallacy.

Marriages fail because women don’t understand their place in the relationship.

So if a husband is an abusive alcoholic, “his woman” (I quote your own term) must let him kill her and molest the children?

Submission to your husband is now being encouraged by many protestant sects.

We are Catholics, not Protestant sects.

Women demanding the right to work has destroyed the family. Do I have to go on?

On the contrary, women being allowed to work ensured that my family could afford to educate me and my brother the way my family wanted, and own a house of our own. Doesn’t sound like destruction to me.

(We Aussies call this contribution to this thread - stirring the possum.)

Lee Kuan Yew was right about Aussie culture, I guess. :wink:


#7

RPRPsych, thanks for that. You just increased my faith in decent logical people despite religion.

Petaro: you're still around? Wow. This forum sure does have lenient rules.


#8

In Judaism and Christianity, men and women are equal before God but are not equal in their societal roles. It almost goes without saying that the spread of Christianity greatly elevated women from their status in pagan societies.


#9

Hope this isn't off the subject, but when I saw your question, I immediately thought of the incident in Numbers chapter 12 when Aaron and Miriam grumbled against Moses. Only Miriam was punished with leprosy. Many have wondered if God was treating women differently than men, but Jewish commentators have said that it wasn't that God was punishing only the woman, but that God sees men and women as equals, and if God had also punished Aaron with leprosy, then he would have been unclean and unable to perform his Priestly duties.

Men and women have different rolls to play, but are considered equal in God's eyes.


#10

[quote="Petaro, post:5, topic:345622"]
It is clear from the Bible that man has dominion over his woman. This is understood in most native societies across the world. Our Muslim brothers have a more complete understanding of this reality than the West. Democracy started to fail as a system when New Zealand gave women the vote. Marriages fail because women don't understand their place in the relationship. Submission to your husband is now being encouraged by many protestant sects. Women demanding the right to work has destroyed the family. Do I have to go on?
(We Aussies call this contribution to this thread - stirring the possum.)

[/quote]

I'm Australian and I've never heard that expression :shrug:

The sad thing is that some people actually have such repellent views for real.


#11

[quote="RPRPsych, post:6, topic:345622"]
I wouldn't really cite Islam as exemplary. Their "understanding" of this teaching includes honour killings, stoning women (and often allowing men to escape) for adultery, polygamy, female genital mutilation.....I think I'll stop here.

Highly debatable. All forms of human government are fallible. There were problems with democracy long before women got the vote, and you can't reduce a complex political landscape to one act. Your statement is an example of the post hoc, ergo propter hoc fallacy.

So if a husband is an abusive alcoholic, "his woman" (I quote your own term) must let him kill her and molest the children?

We are Catholics, not Protestant sects.

On the contrary, women being allowed to work ensured that my family could afford to educate me and my brother the way my family wanted, and own a house of our own. Doesn't sound like destruction to me.

Lee Kuan Yew was right about Aussie culture, I guess. ;)

[/quote]

Spot on on all points except about our culture. Hee! Hee! Come in Spinner!


#12

The Bible chronicles human behavior and we know that at a base level of human nature, people will use others, especially the vulnerable. So women in the role of childbearing are often used and abused, throughout the world in many cultures. Jesus in the New Testament really is the person who turns it around and spends his time with women, heals women, sees women as human first, respects their roles.

As the anti-slavery movement had its roots in Christianity, so did women's suffrage. This is a profound change in the world. The excessive anti-femaleness of the feminist movement (abortion, abandoning children, acting like men) is the same old sin that every culture has dealt with throughout history: freedom versus license.


#13

All silliness aside, it is important to realise that Jesus was the champion of women within His culture. His appearance before a women as a witness to His resurrection goes against the lame view that is still held in Muslim culture, that a woman's testimony is inferior to a man's. The Church's reverence for the Virgin Mary shows us what women can aspire to after the Fall has been defeated.The church has always taught that both genders are equal in the eyes of their Creator, but have different complementary roles. How can you love your wife if you don;t consider her your equal? Much of the gender wars inspired by a false world view lends itself to ridicule if you take a Christian perspective.
No longer, since the Matrimony Act does English law consider a woman a chattel of the marriage. Since WWI woman's right to work has freed her from the dependence on a man which plagued Victorian mores. No fault divorce, contraception and abortion has given a dysfunctional freedom to women which should be recognised as a perversion of their rights.
Any good man looks to his wife as an instrument of his salvation. My good wife is happy if I just do the dishes once in a while... Sorry fell back on the old ways...


#14

[quote="missluckie26, post:7, topic:345622"]
RPRPsych, thanks for that. You just increased my faith in decent logical people thanks to their religion.

[/quote]

Fixed that. And thanks. :D :thumbsup:


#15

[quote="Petaro, post:11, topic:345622"]
Spot on on all points except about our culture. Hee! Hee! Come in Spinner!

[/quote]

Ha ha! I saw what you did there. :D

And apologies about the Lee Kuan Yew crack, that was pretty uncharitable. :blush:

Is stirring up possums (like the current writer) a hobby of yours? :)


#16

Apology accepted. I deserved it.
I tend to become intellectually bored and am tempted to put a bit of ginger into some threads.

I believe Australians are often under estimated in their culture. At our school we received a through understanding of the nuances of syntac of the Greek language starting with an analysis of Ventris’ work on the Cretan Linear B of the Mycenaean culture of Knossos into classical and modern Greek. Our Latin ranged from the ubiquitous Gallic Wars by Caesar through to the Philippics against Carthage to the love poems of Ovid.
We were well versed in Aristotelian and Formal Logic.
Our studies in Linguistic Philosophy eg. Wittgenstein and the Philosophy of Science eg Karl Popper enabled a more complex analysis of Christian Epistemology in such writings as Lonergan’s Insight into Human Understanding… As mere youths we studied Aquinas’ Five Ways as well as the tempting Ontological Proof of Anselm.
We took our immersion French lessons on the Riviera as any group of young men. Hee! Hee!
Our study of English literature took us from Keats and Shelley to the war poems of Brooks and the Ides of Wordsworth, We revelled in the wit and tragedy of Oscar Wilde and the beauty of such Catholic classics as Thompson’s Hound of Heaven.
We laughed at the paradox of Chesterton and the seriousness of Belloc.
We were in awe of the complexity of the classic Lord of the Rings of Tolkien well before the movies; the Screwtape Letters and the Narnia books of Lewis as well as the Apologia pro Vitae Sua of Knox.
Our Catholic Faith was intertwined with our culture and our studies. The beauty of Australian poetry we discovered in the tragedy of Christopher Brennan and the weariness of America in Walt Whitman.
No Aussies have a culture but we prize it like a pearl of great price and often bury it in laughter.


#17

[quote="Petaro, post:16, topic:345622"]
Apology accepted. I deserved it.
I tend to become intellectually bored and am tempted to put a bit of ginger into some threads.

I believe Australians are often under estimated in their culture.

[/quote]

That canard, which dates back to old British cliches, is substantially well entrenched. It reaches a point where even a respected political theorist like Samuel Huntington can take swipes at Aussie culture en passant while trying to discuss civilizations.

At our school we received a through understanding of the nuances of syntac of the Greek language starting with an analysis of Ventris' work on the Cretan Linear B of the Mycenaean culture of Knossos into classical and modern Greek. Our Latin ranged from the ubiquitous Gallic Wars by Caesar through to the Philippics against Carthage to the love poems of Ovid.

We were well versed in Aristotelian and Formal Logic.
Our studies in Linguistic Philosophy eg. Wittgenstein and the Philosophy of Science eg Karl Popper enabled a more complex analysis of Christian Epistemology in such writings as Lonergan's Insight into Human Understanding.. As mere youths we studied Aquinas' Five Ways as well as the tempting Ontological Proof of Anselm.
We took our immersion French lessons on the Riviera as any group of young men. Hee! Hee!
Our study of English literature took us from Keats and Shelley to the war poems of Brooks and the Ides of Wordsworth, We revelled in the wit and tragedy of Oscar Wilde and the beauty of such Catholic classics as Thompson's Hound of Heaven.
We laughed at the paradox of Chesterton and the seriousness of Belloc.
We were in awe of the complexity of the classic Lord of the Rings of Tolkien well before the movies; the Screwtape Letters and the Narnia books of Lewis as well as the Apologia pro Vitae Sua of Knox.
Our Catholic Faith was intertwined with our culture and our studies. The beauty of Australian poetry we discovered in the tragedy of Christopher Brennan and the weariness of America in Walt Whitman.
No Aussies have a culture but we prize it like a pearl of great price and often bury it in laughter.

I think most of my teachers would have epileptic seizures if you asked them to teach any of that. And that closing statement is very good; there are some of us (my brother is one of them) who like burying their extensive culture in humour or sarcasm. :thumbsup:

(Psst....you do mean Apologia Pro Vita Sua by Bl. Cardinal Newman, don't you?) :)


#18

Well, I see a difference in the treatment of women between the Old Testament and the New Testament. We were told that God sees us the same...woman or man, slave or free..


#19

Mea Culpa! I also love his Development of Christian Doctrine.


#20

[quote="RPRPsych, post:6, topic:345622"]

So if a husband is an abusive alcoholic, "his woman" (I quote your own term) must let him kill her and molest the children? [/qoute]

I don't think he meant that at all.

I don't think people are too worried about what a racists has to say. Most of Asia (except for the major first word ones like China,Japan and South Korea) have a jealous streak running through them when it comes to Australia. A young nation that has surpassed countries like India, Singapore etc in living standards etc. Australia has been a huge slap in the face to many country's like India etc, Because here is this country that was home to the trash of Britain that has in only 200 yrs became a better place to live than their own country, So yes in a way our culture is little trashy... But it has out done places like India that has had a hell of a lot longer to get things right.
:D
[/quote]


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