For many years after the death of Christ, Christianity had many sectarian groups until it was

1000 WordsApr 23, 20194 Pages
For many years after the death of Christ, Christianity had many sectarian groups until it was standardized by the late fourth century in the Roman Empire. One of these groups was the Gnostic Christians. They believed God was a dyad, or as one having both male and female characteristics and as a result, practiced this equality between men and women in their communities. They clashed with the orthodox community during the second to fourth century and their teachings were excluded from the canonical teachings known as the New Testament. The standardized scriptures influenced the doctrine known today as orthodox, or correct teachings (Bentley and Zeigler 251). The traditional orthodox beliefs that women are to be subordinate to men are a…show more content…
The erasure of feminine imagery for God can be attributed to the social consequences that came from believing in a God that had masculine and feminine characteristics. The gnostics belief in their God also translated over into the gender roles of their communities. Women in the church were allowed hold roles that for the orthodox church were reserved only for men such as being a priest, prophet, healer, and evangelist. Though several women also held those roles ten to twenty years after Jesus’ death, prominent men in the Orthodox Church such as Bishop Irenaeus and Tertullian labeled the gnostics as heretics and expressed blasphemy over the fact that women were treated as equals (85). This patriarchal view may have been influenced due to various cultural influences in the churches of the Roman Empire, such as the arrival of Hellenized Jews. Traditional Jewish beliefs are seen in Paul’s viewpoint of the role of women as he argues from a conception of a masculine God. He says, “…a man…is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man” (qtd. in Pagels 86) for his justification of the subordination of women. By 200 BC, majority of Christian churches supported the pseudo-Pauline letter of Timothy, which read “Let a woman learn in silence with all submissiveness. I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over men; she is to keep silent” (qtd. in Pagels 86), which correlated to the start of the

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