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The Hidden History of Women's OrdinationFemale Clergy in the Medieval West$
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Gary Macy

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195189704

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195189704.001.0001

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 Defining Women Out of Ordination

 Defining Women Out of Ordination

(p.89) 4 Defining Women Out of Ordination
The Hidden History of Women's Ordination

Gary Macy (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter presents in detail how the definition of ordination changed in the 11th and 12th century. A law from the 11th‐century reform council of Benevento was interpreted by both canon lawyers and theologians to limit ordination to the ministries of subdeacon, deacon, and priest. At the same time, based on a scriptural commentary attributed to St. Ambrose, canonists and theologians began to argue that women could not be ordained. A debate in both canon law and theology concerning the ordination of women continued until the end of the 12th century. By the 13th century, however, it was assumed in both law and theology that women could not be ordained and indeed had never been ordained.

Keywords:   canon law, deacon, ordination, priest, theology, woman

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