An Essay on Context
The concluding chapter speculates on some of the reasons why the definition of ordination changed in the 11th and 12th centuries, and, more importantly, why women were no longer considered either ordained or able to be ordained. Four factors contributed to the change. The Gregorian Reform Movement with its insistence on celibacy introduced a new and more virulent form of misogyny into Western Christianity. Roman law was read selectively to enforce the idea that women were incapable of leadership roles in the church. The biology and politics of Aristotle, newly introduced in the West, asserted that women were biologically and intellectually inferior to men. Theologians read scripture as supporting the assumptions of Roman law and Aristotle concerning the inferiority women and Eve in particular become the scapegoat for the Fall. No one cause seemed determinative in relegating women to an inferior status, but rather a concatenation of several mutually reinforcing factors.
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