Saturday, September 8, 2012

Wrestling Eve? Meet St. Augustine the wrestler.(Warning: Adult themes)

[Warning: some quoted content is rated PG or PG-13]

"Woman  is not created in the image of god"

Wow!  This from the Saint who took it upon himself to rewrite the first chapter of Genesis, and define Women for centuries.

Recently a friend  chided me for idealizing Eden, calling it wrestling the scriptures.

Rather than hotly responding, "Augustine did the wrestle!"  I though I would quote wickepedia. to my audience here. Some things should not be forgotten.

[FYI:  this is after he abandonned his 11 year mistress and offspring, to "convert"]

WikiPedia Says:

[edit]Views on Women

Augustine's view of sexual feelings as sinful impacted his view of women. His beliefs on this issue were so extreme that he considered a man’s erection to be sinful because it did not take place under his conscious control. Rather than resolve his internal struggle with his own sexuality, he blamed women for being "stimulating." His solution was to place controls on women to limit their ability to influence men: “Thus the woman, but not the man, should veil herself to prevent her from causing this sinful response in the male.[132]

Augustine viewed women not only as threatening to men, but also as intellectually and morally inferior:

“It is the natural order among people that women serve their husbands and children their parents, because the justice of this lies in (the principle that) the lesser serves the greater . . . This is the natural justice that the weaker brain serve the stronger. This therefore is the evident justice in the relationships between slaves and their masters, that they who excel in reason, excel in power.[133]

“Flesh stands for the woman,” he said, “and the spirit for the husband…”[134]

"He concluded that 'the serpent, which represents the enticement to disobedience to God and the preference for selfish desires, first approached Eve, because as a woman she had less rationality and self-control and was closer to the ‘lower’ or female part of the soul…"[135]

"Adam, on the other hand, was equated with the higher, superior part of the human soul. In fact, his choice to eat the forbidden fruit along with his wife was viewed by Augustine as “an act of kindly companionship, lest she be left alone outside paradise”[136]

"In other words, Augustine believed that sin entered the world because man—the spirit—did not exercise proper authority over the woman—the flesh."[137]

[edit]Influence on the Role of Women in the Church

The idea that women cannot lead, teach or be a witness.... .... rests largely on two sources, Roman law, and the views of the early church fathers--one of the most influential being St. Augustine, the Bishop of Hippo.....[139]

[Augustines views as Later codified:]
‘Woman’ signifies ‘weakness of mind’. In everything a wife is subject to her husband because of her state of servitude. Woman is not created in the image of God. Wives are subject to their husbands by nature. 

Wikipedia concludes:
The laws and traditions founded upon St. Augustine's views of sexuality and women continue to exercise considerable influence over church doctrinal positions regarding the role of women in the church:[141] Women and men in the Western Christian tradition have suffered for a millennium and a half from the ways Augustine’s views on these matters have been treated as normative."[142]

Your thoughts? 


Summer said...

It is interesting that that these same ideas are indoctrinated into the muslim culture and currently more active there than in western, Augustine influenced culture today and in some Jewish faiths. Do you know of an earlier influence on such ideas?

Mart said...

Summer, that is a fascinating point. I think it worthy of a bit of research. Although, from my perspective, The Gender narsicism that Augustine started is as strong as ever in our society. The pendulum has just swung to the oposite extreme- Women retaliate from Augustine's extreme views by hating men, and thinking women are supperior. Instead of seeing the gender warfar as damaging to the human family.

But I would like to investigate your point more, it does seem to be a universal slippery slope, (largely based in chauvenism.)

Mary said...

I just miss spelled my own name. The last comment was from Mary, not Mart.