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Thomas of Strasbourg
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Thomas of Strasbourg

c. 1275-1357

Data published by John Hilary Martin, O.P.,‘The Ordination of Women and the Theologians in the Middle Ages’, published in Escritos del Vedat 16 (1986) 87-143, here pp. 114-116; also in , A History of Women and Ordination, Volume 1, The Ordination of Women in Medieval Context, ed. by Bernard Cooke and Gary Macy, the Scarecrow Press, London 2002, pp. 31-160, here pp. 91-2, 145, 167.

Information on the author

Thomas of Strasbourg OSEA was perhaps the first of his Order to comment on all four books of Peter of Lombard. He functioned as Prior General of the Augustinians from 1345 to 1357. His commentary was edited many times in the 15th and 16th centuries, including Strasbourg, 1490; Venice, 1564; and Venice, 1588.

Latin Texts

Selections (paragraph numbering by John Wijngaards)

§ 1. "Aliqua uero requiruntur de necessitate, et hoc dupliciter: quia quaedam requiruntur de necessitate sacramenti, puta, illa sine quibus ordinandus non recipit sacramentum ordinis: quamuis circa ipsum fiat extrinsecus, quod per ordinatorem fieri debet circa ordinandum... Conclusio, secunda est, quod ordinandus sit sexus masculini, hoc est de necessitate sacramenti: Quia illa persona, uel ille sexus non est capax sacramenti ordinis, cui ex Apostolica ordinatione docere in ecclesia, semper est imhibitum, et habere caput uelatum in ecclesia quando orat, est praeceptum. Sexus foemineus est huiusmodi: ergo de necessitate sacramenti esse uidetur, ut ordinandus sit sexus masculini."
Thomae ab Argentina Commentaris in IIII Libros Sententiarum... (Venice, 1564), IV Sent., dist. 25, a. 3, 11: 142 rb; vb.

"Some things are required by necessity and this in two ways since some things are required by the necessity of the sacrament, for example, that without which the one to be ordained does not receive the sacrament (sacramentum) of orders, even though in regard to him the same extrinsic things were to be done that the ordaining minister [normally] does regarding ordination . . . .The conclusion is, in the second place, that the one to be ordained is to be of the masculine sex; this is of the necessity of the sacrament (sacramentum), since that person, or that gender, is not capable of the sacrament (sacramentum) of orders who on the Apostle's instruction are permanently forbidden to teach in church and who have to keep their head covered in church when they pray. Such is the feminine sex; therefore it seems to be of the necessity of the sacrament (sacramentum) that the person to be ordained belong to the masculine gender."
Commentary on the Fourth Book of Sentences, dist. 25, a. 3 (Ziletti edition 2:142 rb; vb).

§ 2. Major patet: quia ordinato competit docere in ecclesia, et hoc uel actu, puta, si est sacerdos, aut diaconus: quia etiam diacono competit praedicare Euangelium uel potentia, si est in ceteris ordinibus infra ordinem diaconatus. Etiam nulli ordinato competit semper habere caput uelatum in ecclesia, quando orat, ut de se patet. Minor etiam probari potest ex dictis Apostoli: quia mulier debet orare uelato capite, ut dicit Apostolus, I ad Cor., II [34]. Nec debet docere: quia ait Apostolus. I Tim. 2, 'Muliere docere in ecclesia non permitto',"
ed. cit., 142 vb.

"The first [lit. greater] premise is clear: since teaching in church belongs to having been ordained and this teaching either by act, for example if one is a priest, or a deacon: because also a deacon is qualified to preach the Gospel; or by power [delegation?] if one is in certain orders below that of the diaconate. Also, it does not belong to any ordained person to always have his head covered in church when praying, as is evident in itself. The second [lit. minor] premise can also be proved, [namely] from the words of the Apostle since a woman must pray with her head covered, as the Apostle said in the First Letter to the Corinthians 11 [34]. Nor may she teach since the Apostle said in First Timothy 2, 'I do not permit a woman to teach in church'."
Ibid. (Ziletti., 2:142 vb).

§ 3. "Christus, Matri suae, non obstante, quod esset nobilissima, et sanctissima creatura, sacramentum ordinis non contulit: ergo nullam mulierem huiusmodi sacramenti uoluit esse capacem. Antecedens est notum: quia, ut patet ex superius dictis, Christus sacramentum ordinis contulit tantummodo uiris: consequentia etiam patet: quia Christus, tanquam bonus filius Matrem suam honorauit praecunctis creaturis, et per consequens si secundum diuinam ordinationem mulier esset capax istius sacramenti: Christus nequaquam hunc gradum honoris subtraxisset a ueneranda, et dilectissima Matre sua".
ed. cit., 142 vb-143 ra.

"Christ did not confer the sacrament (sacramentum) of orders on his mother despite the fact that she was the most noble and holiest creature; therefore he wished that no woman be fit for this sacrament (sacramentum). The antecedent should be noted: since as is evident from what was said above, Christ conferred the sacrament (sacramentum) of orders only on men; the consequence is also clear: since Christ, as a good son who honored his mother before every other creature, and consequently, if a woman were suitable for this sacrament (sacramentum) according to divine regulation, Christ would have by no means withheld this grade of honour from his most worshipful and most beloved mother."
Ibid. (Ziletti., 2:142 vb-143 ra).

§ 4. "Praeterea, si ordo repugnaret sexui foemineo, hoc maxime esset pro tanto: quia muliere non posset competere potestas iudicandi: sed hoc non obstat: quia ut patet Iudicum 4 [4], Delbora [sic!] iudicauit populum Israel, et ei praefuit multis annis: ergo secundum sacram scripturam ordo non repugnat mulieri..."
ed. cit., 142 vb.

" . . . Besides [= voicing an objection], if orders would be incompatible with the female sex, this would be above all for this, that the power of judging does not become a woman. But this doesn't stand, since as is clear from Judges 4 [41], Deborah judged the people of Israel and presided over them for many years. Therefore according to sacred scripture orders is not incompatible with women."
Ibid. (Ziletti., 2:142 vb).

§ 5. Ad. 2 dicendum, quod potestas iudicandi est duplex. Una in temporalibus. Alia in spiritualibus. Prima non repugnat mulieri: quia multae fuerunt mulieres multam, et magnam habentes temporalium potestatem, et adhuc sunt in diuersis partibus mundi. Talis etiam erat potestas ipsius Delborae, de qua procedit argumentum: Sed potestas spiritualis iudicij nulli competit mulieri, nec per consequens ordo, cuius potestas est simpliciter spiritualis".
ed. cit., 143 ra.

"As to the second objection, it must be stated that the power of judging is twofold: one regarding temporal matters, another regarding spiritual matters. The first is not incompatible with women since there have been many women who had great and vast power of temporal things, and there still are in different parts of. the world. Such was Deborah's power on which the argument was based. But the spiritual power of judging is not suitable for any women, nor as a consequence, is [holy] orders whose power is simply spiritual."
Ibid. (Ziletti., 2:143 ra).

edited and translated by John Wijngaards

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