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The Hidden History of Women's Ordination – Female Clergy in the Medieval West - Oxford Scholarship Online
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The Hidden History of Women's Ordination: Female Clergy in the Medieval West

Gary Macy


For the first twelve hundred years of Christianity, women were ordained into various roles in the church. References to the ordination of women exist in papal, episcopal, and theological documents of the time, and the rites for these ordinations have survived. Yet, many scholars hold that women, particularly in the Western church, were never ordained. A survey of the literature discussing the ordination of women in Western Christianity reveals that most of these scholars use a definition of ordination to determine whether earlier references to the ordination of women were “real” ordinations th ... More

Keywords: abbess, bishop, Christianity, deaconess, Eucharist, Middle Ages, ordination, priest, theology, woman

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2008 Print ISBN-13: 9780195189704
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2008 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195189704.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Gary Macy, author
University of San Diego
Author Webpage