The Decline Of Women's Roles In Early Christianity

2305 words - 9 pages

The Decline of Women's Roles in Early Christianity

"Suddenly Jesus met them and said, `Greetings!' And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him." (Matthew 28:9)# Near the end of each of the four Christian gospels, it is women who first discovered that the body of Jesus was missing and who were the first to report seeing him after his death. Certainly then, this is a major indication of the high involvement of women in early Christianity. With such high status undoubtedly must have come power, influence, and important positions in the early Church. But by approximately 750 C.E women had lost these major roles in the Church, and the power and influence they once had. This essay will examine the decline of women's roles in early Christianity, and argue that this loss of power was a direct result of the canons of early Eastern and Western Church councils, which were founded on patriarchal notions.

Before delving into why women lost positions in the early Church, it's best to first discuss what roles or positions they held. To begin, there were the wives of priests and various other church officials, who functioned as respected co-workers along side their husbands.# It is important to state though, that wives did not carry out the duties of their husbands. Next, was the order of widows, normally older women who had been married to only one man, and who had consecrated themselves to the church, after the death of their husbands, in order to pray for the clergy and congregation.# Deaconess was yet another position held by women. Although a deaconess did not have the same responsibilities as a priest, their specific role was to instruct female catechumens in the doctrines of the Christian faith, help to baptize women, look after the poor and sick, and serve at the altar. # Additionally it is highly probable that women also held the office of presbyter, an example being an inscription on a woman's tombstone found in Asia Minor that reads, "Bishop Diogas in memory of Ammion the Presbyter"#. A presbyter was one who would have taught Christian doctrine, had the authority to baptize, consecrate the communion, and perform whatever other religious rites were necessary, which is why the title is equivalent to that of priest or elder. Although it is hypothesized that women may have held the title of bishop, it is not known for certain. Therefore only the positions of deaconess, widows, and wives of clergy will be considered for this essay.

The Council of Carthage, circa 390 C.E. is one of the first to take influence away from Christian women. Canons IV and XXV state that clergy, specifically sub deacons, deacons, and presbyters should either separate from the wives they may already have had, or not get married, whichever the case may be. Furthermore canon LXX states that any clergyman unwilling to do this would be removed from his office.# Wives, having been influential in helping their clerical husbands within the Church...

Find Another Essay On The Decline of Women's Roles in Early Christianity

Women's roles in society, the pressures of being beautiful.

1096 words - 4 pages The increase of messages about thinness, dieting and beauty lends insecurities to "ordinary" women; making them feel that they are always in need of adjustments and that the female body is an object to be perfected. Real women's bodies have been lost in the eyes of the media and replaced by painfully thin advertisements. The problem is that women internalize these stereotypes and judge themselves by these unrealistic standards. We learn to

Early Christianity in Rome through Opposition of the Majority

2689 words - 11 pages establishment in Rome and able to affect the lives of many millions for centuries to come. Works Cited Carcopino, Jérôme. "Daily Life in Ancient Rome." New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1940. Gibbon, Edward. "Christianity and the Decline of Rome." New York: Collier Books, 1962. Gough, Michael. "The Early Christians." New York: Frederick A. Praeger, Inc., 1961. Wilkinson L.P. "The Roman Experience." New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 1974.

Women's Roles in Qatar

987 words - 4 pages ; it replaces the traditional roles of women. By providing them education, they do more then just care for their children and husband. Qatar has greatly developed in the past 15 years; however it is a shame that in this journey they have lost their culture.I personally think that my sisters and I are attending mix American Universities due to this development. The recent financial crisis resulted in a decline in oil prices and the budget of

Christianity in Axum the Early Era

1386 words - 6 pages worship were established. Once Ezana reached maturity, Frumentius and Aedesius returned to Roman society. After their departure from Axum, Aedesius returned to Tyre and Frumentius travelled to Alexandria. Once in Alexandria, Frumentius met with Bishop Athanasius, the Patriarch of Alexandria, where he discussed the Ezana’s allowances for Christianity in Aksum. This presented an ideal opportunity for Athanasius to send a formal mission to Axum

Women's roles prior to and during the evolution of the industrial revolution in England.

2963 words - 12 pages class to thrive. Isolated by these ideologies and rigid social class distinctions, the lower class began to resent the industrialist that employed them. Engaging in acts of carousing and debauched behavior that were rebellious social statements emphasizing the lower classes rejection of the hypocritical social restraint the middle class attained to, dividing the classes and women's roles for many decades following the early 1800's.Leading up to the

Women's Roles in Epic of Gilgamesh, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and The Canterbury Tales

1482 words - 6 pages Changing Women's Roles in The Epic of Gilgamesh, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and The Canterbury Tales Over the course of time, the roles of men and women have changed dramatically. As women have increasingly gained more social recognition, they have also earned more significant roles in society. This change is clearly reflected in many works of literature, one of the most representative of which is Plautus's 191 B.C. drama Pseudolus, in

A Comparison of the Status of Women in Classical Athens and Early Christianity

566 words - 2 pages A Comparison of the Status of Women in Classical Athens and Early ChristianitySince the beginning of time the treatment of women has improved dramatically. In the earliest of times women were mere slaves to men. Today women are near equals in almost all fields. In 411 B.C., when Lysistrata was written, men had many stunning advantages to that of their female counterparts. Although women's rights between 30 and 100 A.D., the time of the New

The Development of a Campaign for Women's Suffrage in Early 1870's

3184 words - 13 pages The Development of a Campaign for Women's Suffrage in Early 1870's The campaign for women's suffrage gathered support after 1870, mainly because of a growing number of women who, through education, realised society was extremely unequal and recognised a need for change through action. The Forster act of 1870 which gave compulsory primary education to girls, was a landmark event that meant the women of the future would

Women's Roles in The Yellow Wallpaper and The Withered Arm

1116 words - 4 pages Women's Roles in The Yellow Wallpaper and The Withered Arm In the late 19th century, women were expected to conform to the conventions of society. This meant that they were expected to get married young, pure and beautiful. They were treated like objects as if men bought them. How the woman felt was irrelevant in this period. Women were expected to produce an 'heir and a spare'. Women were also victim to double standards. For example

Women's Roles in Colonial America

616 words - 2 pages Colonial America was parallel to England and the European way of life in many aspects, especially in that of gender distinction. However, the colonies gradually developed unique distinctions which varied from one colony to the next. Marriage was in many cases, but not all, a business venture carefully managed by the parents of the man and the woman. The woman’s role in the Virginia family was greatly influenced by social class, her husband

Women's Roles in the Postclassical Period by Religion

1228 words - 5 pages Throughout most of documented history women of all cultures and civilizations have lived under patriarchal circumstances. In almost every religion and civilization women's status was not equal to that of a man's. Women in most cultures are looked at as subservient, obedient creatures that were put on this world for very few reasons, mainly to bear children and do what their husbands require of them. In fact, religions are a big part of the

Similar Essays

Decline Of Christianity In America Essay

1879 words - 8 pages and grew into one of the most powerful countries in the world. Although America began as a Christian nation, she has pulled away from the fundamental beliefs that initially held her together. Despite their ancient predecessor’s emphasis on faith and Christianity, the current government h as taken a more secular path. Examples depicting the decrease of morality within the government include the legality of abortion and the exclusion of religious

The Decline Of European Christianity Essay

1659 words - 7 pages evolution being the one of such theories. The church took active roles in both World War One and World War Two. It used the teachings of the Bible to encourage the oppressed to hold on, citing the afterlife as the consolation. Secular humanism is another issue that influenced the decline of Christianity in Europe. When freethinking started to be popular in Europe, many secular issues started being practiced. One of the laws that was passed and

Women's Roles In The Military Essay

1280 words - 5 pages Women's Roles in the Military Before World War I, women assisted the military during wartime mainly as nurses and helpers. Some women, however, did become involved in battles. Molly Pitcher, a Revolutionary War water carrier, singlehandedly kept a cannon in action after a artillery crew had been disabled. During the Revolutionary and the Civil War, a few women disguised themselves as men and took part in hand-to-hand combat. The first

The Changes In Women's Roles Essay

2903 words - 12 pages The Changes in Women's Roles Do you ever wonder how women's roles have changed in recent times? Originally women were in the household to take care of family matters such as cooking, cleaning, and children. Now in more modern times women's roles have expanded to working outside the home to take control of their families, and to work and take care of the children. Along with the increase of women in the work place the business of working