Opinions on faith and life

Gender-obsessed Christianity

2010-06-08

Though I’ve lamented the endless repetition in the “gender war” in Christianity, it’s always good to point out both logical and theological flaws we see every day. But before I examine the next one, let me emphasize once again that the overarching principles of our faith– our adoption as children of God, our being equal (yet distinguishable) parts of one Body, the command to esteem others as our betters instead of our underlings or assistants, for example– are never negated or excepted in any particular scripture. We must see temporary or situational stopgap concessions for what they are (such as Paul’s instructions on how Christians in slavery should behave), not for timeless and universal sanctions. Whatever we see must not conflict with the indisputable foundation of Jesus’ teachings against lording over, regardless of how benevolently one might wish to practice it.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at an article called God’s Glory is Displayed Through GENDER. It centers on an epiphany experienced by the author during a talk on Gen. 2:23, which tells of Eve’s creation. But this claim is made:

It is VERY important that we understand that without the distinct characteristics in man and woman, meant to reveal Himself through the union of the two in marriage, we only see a part of who God is.
This is an inference, not a declaration of God. Scholars have long debated what exactly is meant by people being made in the image of God, such that any claim of having THE correct interpretation would be arrogant at best. While no once can argue successfully against God showing attributes of both strength and tenderness, fatherhood and motherhood (giving “birth”, gathering as a hen gathers her chicks, etc.), such attributes are those of character, not the flesh. Women in scripture are shown as having all the characteristics men esteem as “manly”, such as courage, boldness, intelligence, leading Israel (such as Deborah), running their own businesses (Prov. 31), and independent thinking (remember Abigail?), and many men such as King David were known as much for their tender hearts as their military exploits. We err greatly when we try to read the chivalry of the Middle Ages or 1950s America onto the scriptures. So it does not follow that we can only see part of who God is if we only consider either males or females.

Now I can agree with this to a degree:

“Isha” comes from a Hebrew word meaning “soft”, while “Ish” comes from the word meaning “strength”. Now remember, God had said, “Let us make man in our image”. Adam at first embodied the whole image of God. (Even the word translated “man” in the first part of the verse has a different meaning than what we see after Eve was created.) Literally, God took the feminine nature out of Adam and embodied that in a new creation.
Katherine Bushnell had a similar view, and I think it’s entirely reasonable, though many bristle at the very idea that Man was created as male/female. They bristle because they immediately think “androgyny”, but that is only repulsive if there is already separate male and female of the same kind. That is, just as marrying one’s near relative was only a sin after people’s genes had degenerated to the point where too many mutations would arise from such a union, so also androgyny would only be a sin if man were presumed not to have been made with the capacity to self-reproduce. But this is hardly a necessary view either way; it has no bearing on the essential point of God taking “isha” from “ish”.

What I mean is that something was removed from the man, and that woman was made from it. The real significance of this is not “gender” per se, but unity of substance. Eve was made of the very same “flesh and bone” as Adam, thus making her his clone; her flesh was made of the very same substance. She is thus shown in scripture to be his absolute equal, unlike the animals who (like Adam, it should be noted) were made from dust. We should also remember that God’s statement of having dominion over the earth and animals was made to THEM:

God blessed THEM and said to THEM, “BE FRUITFUL AND INCREASE IN NUMBER; fill the earth and SUBDUE it. RULE OVER the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” (Gen. 1:28)
BOTH were to RULE, and even if we try to take the self-reproducible Adam as being able to “fill the earth”, we have to ignore “THEM”. The inescapable fact before us is that God is giving rule to more than one person, and these persons are to fill the earth and subdue it. But the statement in 2:23 is not connected contextually to this subduing of the earth, but to the reason given in vs. 24: a man is to leave his parents and join to his wife, to be “one flesh”. Not to be two fleshes with one in charge of the deceivable other, but a union of complementary bodies. This is God’s design for procreation, not His design for government. And note that it is the man who joins to the woman. Think about that. Yet the author of the cited article concludes:
God was screaming to Adam, and to us: “You can only fully understand Me by looking at the totality of Who I am through gender.”
This statement implies that only married couples can illustrate the nature of God, but no such thing is seen in scripture, and it insults those who remain single. What Paul wrote about Christ and the church in Eph. 5:32 was how marriage is a pattern of what Christ did for us. He “left His Father’s house” to join to His Bride, and the two became one Body. This is about unity, not about God forcing Himself upon mankind. Jesus was “made like his brothers and sisters in every way” (Heb. 2:17) and “shared in [our] humanity” (Heb. 2:14) to be one with us, giving up His position for a time (Phil. 2:5-11) and calling us His friends instead of servants (John 15:15). It is this humbling, this service, this giving up of position to join and love and nurture which the Christian husband is called to emulate. And Paul also wrote that the ideal state for any Christian is singleness (see 1 Cor. 7).

Are we thus arguing that Jesus is indistinguishable from His Body, or that in joining to us He lost His divinity? Not at all. Yet this does not negate the fact that He did join, and He did become human as well. No mere human is ever told to play God to any other human; no Christian is to play Father to anyone else’s Son! It is never Jesus’ divinity which men are to model, but His humility, His willingness to stoop to the level of the oppressed and lift them up. Again, this is about unity and humility, not some obsession with sex, as the next mind-blowing (for decidedly negative reasons!) quote illustrates:

And when we embrace this uniqueness, celebrating our differences, we say to God, “It is very good”.

But when we bristle at and blur these differences we raise a fist and say, “It is not good”.

And the picture gets clearer…man reflects God’s “going out” power (even in the basic anatomy and events of reproduction), while woman reflects His “receiving” power in her anatomy and her ability to house and nourish life.

This is the common straw man argument against equality: that we wish to blur the distinction between male and female. That is, of course, quite untrue. The anti-equality view confuses equality with sameness, as if a person’s left and right hands, equal and mirror images that they are, are indistiguishable. As I’ve said before, identical twins are clearly two separate beings regardless of how hard it may be to tell them apart, and neither twin should boss the other (by what right would we insist otherwise?). And no egalitarian thinks there are absolutely no anatomical differences, or that we should ignore them; we celebrate them as much as anyone. What we don’t do is obsess over which body “has the final say”, which body “leads”, which body can teach scripture. God, as I’ve said many times, is still not “a respecter of persons” and still does not “judge according to the flesh”.

And I’m sorry, but drawing an analogy between a man’s emissions and God’s “going out” power just disgusts me. This cultural need to make the man dominant through sex is about as far as anyone can get from the teachings of Jesus or the picture of unity and equality we see in Genesis. This is rehashed pop psychology, not spiritual truth. Surely the Holy Spirit cringes and grieves at such shameful analogies.

This is why homosexuality is an abomination to Him. This is why a rejection of the gift of reproduction fails to display His glory. This is why an egalitarian view of marriage makes a mockery of Him. This is why when we balk at the “warrior” nature of man and the “nurture” nature of woman we act foolishly.
Oh please, God, grant me restraint.

Equality, as I’ve said, has NOTHING to do with sexual perversion. God calls it sin in both Testaments, and though some egalitarians do accept it, I do not. And it should again be noted that homosexuality is rampant in many patriarchal societies. If egalitarians are to be continually equated with this sin, then male supremacists must accept being equated with wife abuse. And what exactly is “rejection of the gift of reproduction”? Are the barren cursed of God? Are they in sin, even if they want children but cannot have them? Was Paul in sin for being single and teaching the same? If any model of marriage mocks God, it is the hierarchical, disgusting, “me Tarzan you Jane”, man as “power of God” to woman’s “mere human receptacle” model. All this pop psych “warriors and princesses” nonsense just makes my blood boil.

When, oh when, will Christians learn to get off the “who’s in charge” train and just “treat others as you would have them treat you”?

28 Comments

Paula Fether

Hi Angela,

When the author writes that the egal view of marriage mocks God shortly after mentioning homosexuality, and given the pervasiveness of the view that egal is a slippery slope to acceptance of homosexuality, the implication is hard to miss. I cannot know what the author meant but only what she wrote. I am not aware of any who are against egal who don’t also lump it in with homosexuality.

If the author does believe all of us should treat others better, then her piece here contradicts it, since making the husband in charge of the wife is the opposite of treating her as better. And if his "service" is defined as benevolent rule, then her service cannot be defined only as willing obedience; this would be a double standard or the fallacy of "special pleading".

The anti-egal argument is in fact a "clamor to establish authority in marriage"; ask any teacher of male preeminence and they will tell you that the man has authority over the woman. This is a basic and fundamental plank in their view. They typically retort that without this chain of command there would be chaos, that disagreements would always end in impasse. I know of no anti-egal teacher that would not insist that the man has final authority.

"What God has so clearly established" is the point under debate, such that declaring one’s own interpretation the only possible one is the fallacy of begging the question. I have "given the Greek" many times in this blog and in my books; see esp. the Nicolaitan one, which is a Bible study on power and control. What is "clear" after I completed the study is that God "is no respecter of persons", does not "judge on the flesh", and that there is to be no "lording over" of any kind in the Body of Christ. Calling hierarchy "beautiful and non-offensive", especially between a husband and wife, misses the point entirely: it’s not about how, but whether.

Lin

"I don’t think it’s a clamor to establish authority in marriage, but an effort to preserve what God has so clearly already established. Give me the Greek, do the cross-studies, Scripture is still very plain about the beautiful (and non-offensive) roles in marriage."

Angela, Can you point me to these specific non biological "roles" in the New Covenant?

territippins

And I’m sorry, but drawing an analogy between a man’s emissions and God’s “going out” power just disgusts me. This cultural need to make the man dominant through sex is about as far as anyone can get from the teachings of Jesus or the picture of unity and equality we see in Genesis. This is rehashed pop psychology, not spiritual truth. Surely the Holy Spirit cringes and grieves at such shameful analogies.

I guess egalitarians are Freudian to. You know one of the philosphies put forth was that women were in fact envious of men’s sex organs. But, in reality the problem was that freedom came along with having the right sex organ......and women know this. To continually spiritualize the sexual union between men and women and compare the man’s contribution to God’s power over her is truly twisted.

Paula Fether

Yep. And it’s exactly the same thing taught by Muslims, Mormons, and Moonies... along with almost every other religion and culture in history. Yet it’s only us egals who "bow to culture". Go figure.

Paula Fether

Last night and this morning I was listening/watching some YouTube videos of people who absolutely have mastered the instrument they played. Yet the comments ruined everything when they likened this mastery to male sexual conquest. This misogyny, this devaluing of the woman, is everywhere. That it should also be in the Body of Christ is beyond blasphemous.

Lin

"To continually spiritualize the sexual union between men and women and compare the man’s contribution to God’s power over her is truly twisted."

terri, You are so right. This is exactly what they do and it IS pop psychology. What amazes me is how long it took me to see the subtle sexual focus coming from comps.

And Paula is right...when we strip away all the adjectives they use, how is it different from the focus in Mormonism and Islam?

Greg Anderson

Paula,

The blogosphere is teeming with just about anything that strikes one’s fancy these days, both religion based and purely secular.

The blog you’ve referred to in this post plays to a specific constituency of women who are not about to change their minds. They sincerely and completely believe this stuff, and it has been sold to them much in the same way a marketing firm sells cute shoes to countless women all across America.

Don’t get me wrong, I love seeing cute shoes on women, but I also love to see steel in their spines when it comes to bucking the system; women (from film & print) like Ellen Ripley, Clarice Starling and Rose Madder to name a few.

I didn’t know whether to laugh, cry, barf or cuss when the author of the piece went on about the "warrior" nature of man and how it’s part of God’s holy design.

The cult of the warrior is as old as the Roman historian Tacitus, but the attempt to incorporate it into the Anglo Saxon Protestant belief system is relatively new.

Those who revel the loudest in the glories of war and conquest are always those who have never seen prisoners dying of scurvy or felt the tears of a napalmed village and rice paddies.

Mark Twain had this to say:

"There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man’s notion that he is less savage than the other savages."

Paula Fether

My spine feels like it’s made of rusty hinges, but hey, it’s a type of metal! :-D

Good quote from Mark Twain, whose witty wisdom still flies far over the heads of many self-proclaimed enlightened ones today. And your statement about those who glory in conquest is surely applicable to most of the big names in "Christianity" today. I keep praying for lessons in humility for them all.

And in spite of the futility of actually hoping to change a large number of minds held by patriarchy, at least one of them saw this rebuttal, and enough egals are speaking up to put fear in the hearts of the proud and their enablers. The brighter the light, the faster the roaches run.

Paula Fether

Got this in my email today (must remember to unsubscribe sometime). It’s a typical comment in such discussions:

1. Your posts in particular, to me, seem to continue dwelling on male "dominance" and "hierarchy" as God’s plan in all of this. Be careful not to overemphasize something that I think is a human extension of my main points all along. The proper way to think about it is by roles and order. This is what I think is really called for when Paul urges men to be the ’head’ of their wives, just as Christ is ’head’ of the Church in Ephesians 5. It’s not about dominance...it’s about what is required in order to function properly according to God’s design. I go back to the fact that in just about for everything to function properly, different parts exist and perform certain roles - for efficiency, performance, and vision of the whole. This is true in business, in politics, you name it. I dare say that God told us this was true in marriage and the church as well! I don’t know if you’re married or not - but if you are, whether you know it or not, you and your spouse perform different roles at times! I would go even one step further and say that if you only did the same things equally all of the time, you’d be horribly more ineffecient and less productive!

2. God did not have male dominance in mind when he created the world. I have not taken this position, and I wouldn’t support it. He did, however, ordain men and women to be different and to take different roles within marriage and the church. Not worse or lesser roles, just different. This is the substance of Paul’s statements. Don, again...the fact that the word ’roles’ isn’t in the Bible anywhere has zero relevance...neither are the words ’Forensic Justification.’ But I argue that forensic justification is still described in the Bible quite clearly.

1. Whatever they choose to call it, it’s still all about domination and authority, regardless of degree. And Paul never URGED men to be heads; he merely stated that the husband is "head" of the wife. The debate is over what "head" means, since Paul is using it as a figure of speech. "Roles and order" are inventions of interpreters and are not expressed in scripture. It most certainly IS about dominance, and once again, "God’s design" is the point under debate. Why do they keep arguing in circles like this? And why do they continually use every analogy but the Biblical one: a Body of one substance and unity? This is NOT a machine, an army, a company, or a government, it’s a marriage!

2. Once again, renaming a chain of command with euphemistic terminology does not make it something else. Either God ordained this chain or He did not, and Genesis has no support whatsoever for either "roles" or "church" or government or order. And "different" certainly is "lesser" when one always has the final say, by virtue of the flesh alone. The fact remains that "roles" are neither expressed nor implied.

::sigh:: I wish they’d at least come up with something new once in a while.

Angela

Paula,

I read the article you referenced and have read others from GC.

While I could see where some of your points may be valid, there were a few I thought were a bit misconstrued.

For example, you said:

"If egalitarians are to be continually equated with this sin, then male supremacists must accept being equated with wife abuse."

There was nothing in the article that gives the impression that the author was making a correlation between egalitarians and homosexuality. She was simply stating another idea that helps support her idea of why he created male and females differently.

Also, I’ve read some of her other thoughts on marriage and she maintains a clear embracing of "treating others better than yourself", even in marriage.

I would disagree with this statement you made:

"When, oh when, will Christians learn to get off the “who’s in charge” train and just “treat others as you would have them treat you”?"

I don’t think it’s a clamor to establish authority in marriage, but an effort to preserve what God has so clearly already established. Give me the Greek, do the cross-studies, Scripture is still very plain about the beautiful (and non-offensive) roles in marriage.

Just because I am unwilling to submit to God by accepting His Word does not change its truth.

caraboska

A few observations:

1. In Genesis 1, it does say, ’in the image of God created him, male and female He created them.’ I think it might be stretching things to say that only man and woman together comprise ’the image of God’. But I think it is reasonable to conclude that neither sex can lay claim to being ’the fullness of God’s image’ (unlike the thoughts of some who think that only the man is, and the woman is some sort of appendage to man, intened to bring glory to man).

2. Nowhere in Genesis 2 are children spoken of. Indeed, it can be argued that it is not even sex that is being spoken of in v. 24 - ’one flesh’. After all, the Torah teaches that a man and woman are to be considered husband and wife - so that a divorce would be required to dissolve the relationship, and any sexual contact with the woman by anyone else other than the male party to this relationship would be no longer just fornication, but adultery - at the moment betrothal takes place. So, long before the couple take up joint residence and consummate their relationship.

3. It is true that in the Torah, it is the man who cleaves to his wife. ’Man’ here = male person, ’cleave’ is in the active voice. However, in the New Testament, whenever this verse is cited, there is a HUGE difference. The word for ’man’ does not mean ’male person’, but rather ’human being’. And even more strikingly, the verb is rather not ’cleave’, but ’be united to’. In other words, it is in the passive voice, not the active or even the middle.

Of course, the verses in question continue to speak of this ’male person’ being united to his ’wife’. But to take that literally would lead to the conclusion that women are not human. So the other alternative is to assume that a ’generic he’ is being assumed here - much as was done in English when I was a youngster, but began to change when I was in college. So that the verse would also apply equally well in the reading that ’a human being shall leave father and mother and be joined to her husband...’

The bottom line: In the Torah, marriage was evidently conceived of as something a man does to a woman, but in the New Testament, it is evidently conceived of as something God does to the two of them - something of which both are passive recipients.

Paula Fether

Good points again, carab.

I would add that when we’re looking at Genesis for what is in that context alone, we do see the Torah view: that the male joined to the female. And since many male supremacists appeal to this passage in an effort to establish hierarchy of man over woman before sin, it’s important to point out who joins to whom. As I’ve said, had it stated that the woman joins to the man, this would surely be trotted out as another proof of male dominance. But since Genesis clearly states that the man joins to the woman, they routinely gloss over this or ignore it completely.

But yes, when we look then at Paul’s appeal to this passage, it’s easy to presume he said it the same way as the Torah view. Thanks for pointing this out, since it’s yet another support for the fact that in Christ, everything has changed. This most fundamental of Christian precepts has been swept aside and forgotten by many teachers today.

Greg Anderson

Salient points Paula and caraboska.

Consider also that even in the purely biological realm, it’s always the male gametes (sperm) that does the leaving & cleaving in virtually all forms of sexual reproduction.

Even in terms of the energy expenditure required to accomplish the reproductive task; sperm is cheap, eggs are dear.

caraboska

Paula,

That’s just it: every citation of Genesis 2:24 in the New Testament, including the one in Ephesians 5, is formulated in the ’new’ way - not the way it is in the Torah. But this fact is not visible in any English translation. There are various translations of ’cleave’ - some active, some reflexive, some passive. But what happens is that a given translation will translate it the same way in both the Old and the New Testament. Which is grossly inaccurate...

caraboska

PS I would argue that the revolutionary thing that is present in both the Torah and the New Testament is that men are required to leave father and mother. Up until the Torah was revealed, it was obvious that the woman would do so. Now it turns out that both are required to do so...

Paula Fether

Greg, excellent point about the biological angle. The male supremacists of course only see this as the male’s power, while Genesis indicates it as the male’s being the one to join the female.

Caraboska, good point again about the need for more accuracy in translation. People don’t like the C word (conspiracy), but I’ve seen enough evidence to say without hesitation that those who pay for translations make sure they get the product they ordered.

caraboska

Paula, I have been working as a translator for well over a decade. I have heard horror stories, but have not had more than one or two myself. I can count among my customers people who will beg me to issue a bill so I can pay them, people who will take up a collection and lend me the money out of their own pocket if their bureaucracy moves too slowly in paying me and thereby causes trouble in making my rent. And let’s say that my customers hire me because they know they will get an accurate, faithful translation without cutting corners.

So I guess I’m a little bemused by your cynicism about translation conspiracies and the money involved. In the case of Bible or other religious translations, it seems to me that it isn’t the money, it’s that the people ordering the translation make sure that the translators are ’doctrinally pure’ (and I am not talking just about such things as their Christology either :P ). In other words, it’s not the money, it’s that they are all on the same page (was going to write ’in bed together’... :D).

Paula Fether

Sorry for being too imprecise... ;-) But I think we’re both saying the same thing: that the big translation committees, even the UBS in charge of watching over the official Greek texts, are not above following their own agendas before faithfulness to the scriptures. (Pretty sure I’ve got links to some of those, in the Pharisee posts here as I recall). I’m happy to know that you are doing it right, and hope that others such as Katharine Bushnell’s work will finally get the respect they deserve.

caraboska

Paula, I hope you’re not suggesting that the UBS is playing fast and loose with the originals. I mean, I’m using their UBS4 - it would be very disturbing to find that something like that is going on.

As far as their translations go, I figured out ages ago that all ’evangelical’ translations have certain things in common - again, not just their Christology - and especially after I finally took the plunge a couple of years ago and taught myself Greek, I just don’t bother with translations at all unless I have to (e.g. to talk to people who don’t know Greek about what Scripture does or does not say). I guess my philosophy is, what can you expect? If that’s what they believe in, that’s what you’re going to get.

What mystifies me is why it has to be a package deal, since Scripture does not support all elements of the package. I still haven’t figured out what motivates this whole control-based relationship thing - apart from the relatively abstract idea of it being ’evidence of sin at work in human beings’.

On the other hand, to be fair, there is also a sizeable complement on the other side of the fence who do indeed play fast and loose with Scripture, speaking in terms of ’culture’, and even with the really important stuff. But again, why does that have to be a package deal? I just don’t get it.

Paula Fether

On Junia and the UBS, according to Eldon Jay Epp at this citation:

Moreover, in the 1998 Jubilee N-A and the 1998 printing of UBS, where Ἰουνίαν properly but inexplicably appeared in the text, the clearly masculine form Ὶουνιᾶν is not even in the apparatus, quite the contrary of what normally happens when a critical edition undergoes a change in its text: one reading moves up to the text as another moves down to the apparatus. In this case, however, suddenly the emperor has no clothes!

Apparently this masculine form Ὶουνιᾶν, disappears altogether from the textual scene! Of course, it should disappear, even though, as we shall discover in a moment, the clearly masculine form had been a Nestle fixture for three-quarters of a century and a UBS constant since the first edition in 1966. Yet in a flash it is gone, and neither the Jubilee Edition nor the 1998 volumes of N-A and UBS contains a list of changes made in its text as it moved through several printings between the 1993 and the 1998 volumes of N-A and UBS, nor is the reason for the change otherwise transparent.

One astounding fact (and disturbing, if one thinks about its implications) requires emphasis again about the UBS and the Nestle-Aland editions: to the best of my knowledge, never was the definitely masculine form of Ὶουνιαν (namely Ὶουνιᾶν), either when it was designated as the text or after it had been replaced in the text by the Ἰουνίαν reading, accompanied by any supporting manuscript or other evidence (except when UBS listed the support of eight early unaccented majuscules, which of course were impotent for determining accentuation.)

In fact, for the greater part of four centuries, as far as I can determine, no apparatus in a Greek New Testament cited Ὶουνιᾶν as a variant reading to the Ἰουνίαν in the text - not until Weymouth in 1892 (who cites Alford’s text - though neither in Alford nor Weymouth is any munuscript attestation provided) - and never again after that. The reason is simple enough: no such accented form was to be found in any manuscript or anywhere else. Moreover, when Ὶουνιᾶν was interpolated into the New Testament text and became a regular feature of the post-1927 Nestle and Nestle-Aland editions and all of the UBS editions until 1998, no viable manuscript support could be garnered for there was none. (page 47)

I don’t get it either, why some people think they have to have their admitted bias written into the Bible, e.g. the Holman Christian Standard:
"In the end this is an important thing for Southern Baptists to do, if for no other reason than that we will have a major translation we can control," Mohler said, according to a Baptist Press report.

caraboska

That matter of Junias vs. Junia... Since the old manuscripts are unaccented, in the absence of other compelling evidence for one version or the other, it seems to me that in the present state of ambiguity, the honest thing to do is to leave that word unaccented in Greek editions, and pick one or the other for translations, leaving the other as a footnote.

> “In the end this is an important thing for > Southern Baptists to do, if for no other > reason than that we will have a major > translation we can control,” Mohler said, > according to a Baptist Press report.

I admit to being a bit surprised that something like this was allowed to appear in a public forum. It just sounds so... worldly.

Lin

I don’t get it either, why some people think they have to have their admitted bias written into the Bible, e.g. the Holman Christian Standard:

“In the end this is an important thing for Southern Baptists to do, if for no other reason than that we will have a major translation we can control,” Mohler said, according to a Baptist Press report. "

Well, it makes for good PR but Mohler promotes the ESV. The ESV is the promoted translation at the seminary where he is Prez.

Actually, the Holman came about because of increasing NIV royalties and Lifeway.

But that would not make a good press release when thousands of Baptist churces have NIV’s in their pews they need to replace.

Lin

Bushnell has an interesting take on the cleave passage in Genesis. I had not looked into it in the NT and appreciate caraboska bringing up the differences. I am going to check it out.

Waneta Dawn

Bushnel says the man is to leave & cleave. He is to join his wife’s family. The wife does not leave her parent’s home for quite awhile, giving the parents time to determine if her new husband is safe, etc.

Bushnel comments that if we still did this today, domestic abuse would be greatly decreased, because parents would protect their daughters.

She uses the story of Jacob, Leah and Rachel as one example. Jacob’s wives were ASKED if they would go with him, it was not assumed that they would. They answered (my paraphrase) "Our dad isn’t treating us right, so, yeah, we’ll go with you."

Property was handed down through the women, not the men. When there was no daughter to pass the property to, they went back to the woman’s kin to find a daughter--as in the case of Rebecca, who then took up residence in Sara’s tent.

Lin

Thanks, Waneta.

It is interesting that God said this to Adam and Eve when neither had parents to leave.

Greg Anderson

Waneta Dawn #24,

Patriarchy and inherited male priviledge as absolutes is more peculiar to the three Abrahamic faiths (Judaism, Christianity & Islam) than it is in other cultural venues.

Long before the Catholic missionaries gained footholds in Norse societies, women had full recognition, inheritance and political voice in their long houses of council.

The same can be said for many Native American tribes before the advent of the Calvinist Protestant missionaries.

Lin

"Patriarchy and inherited male priviledge as absolutes is more peculiar to the three Abrahamic faiths (Judaism, Christianity & Islam) than it is in other cultural venues."

I don’t know, Greg. My guess is that 6 year old was probably scared to be forced to marry Mohammad and even more scared when he consummated that marriage when she was 9. Een the Jews would call that rape.

Sounds like male priviledge to me. Considering he had 11 other wives, too.

Greg Anderson

Lin,

I only included Islam into the three Abrahamic faiths as a "geographic marker" in the scheme of world religions.

I never intended to imply approval of Mohammed’s sexual conduct, tacit or otherwise.