The Ordination of Women:
To Nurture Tradition by Continuing Inculturation(1)
by Kari Elisabeth Børresen
from Studia Theologica 46 (1992) pp. 3-13; republished on our website with the necessary permissions
I. Godlikeness and Typology
After thirty years of research in patristic and medieval theology with focus on gender models, I consider women’s ordination to the priesthood a critical test case for the recognition of women’s fully human Godlikeness.
The attribution of creational imago Dei to female humanity as such is a very recent phenomenon in the history of Christian doctrine. This 20th-century accommodation to post-patriarchal culture in Western Europe and North America is here so successful that women’s creation in God’s image is often believed to be stated already in biblical texts! In fact, such innovative exegesis builds upon what I call ‘patristic feminism’, initiated by Clement of Alexandria and elaborated by Augustine. In the early stage of Christianity, women’s salvational equivalence was realized by attaining perfect manhood in Christ, i.e. by ‘becoming male’. From the 3rd to the 5th century, this andromorphic privilege was backdated to creation by defining God’s image as asexual, so that women were considered to be Godlike despite their non-theomorphic femaleness. The patristic innovation of sexless imago Dei influenced medieval exegesis, persisting through the Renaissance, Reformation and modern periods.(2)
Nevertheless, the previous definition of men’s exclusive Godlikeness in the order of creation still survives in traditional new Adam-new Eve typology. Androcentric gender asymmetry is here transposed from the first human couple to the order of salvation. Godlike Adam prefigures Christ, who as new Adam and divine Redeemer is incarnated in perfect manhood. Non-Godlike Eve prefigures the church/Mary, who as new Eve represents dependent and therefore gynecomorphic humanity. These theological gender models remain fundamental in both Orthodox and Catholic Christology, ecclesiology and Mariology, being invoked as prime obstacles to women’s ordination.
In consequence, the present deadlock suffered in the non-Protestant majority of Christendom, by refusing to ordain women, results from the simultaneous upholding of two, mutually exclusive, doctrinal tenets: Early androcentric typology on the one hand, 20th-century holistic Godlike-ness on the other.(3) To formulate the problem succinctly: Godlike women are deemed unfit to be Christlike priests. I find it important to stress that such logical inconsistency is a new feature of Christian doctrine; until a few decades ago, creational gender hierarchy was consistently defined as Godwilled, unharmed by women’s asexual imago Dei. Before the 19th century, the concept of theomorphic femaleness was unthinkable, a contradiction in terms since traditional God-language excludes the female from the Godhead.(4) In fact, the question of ordaining women qua fully Godlike female human beings was first raised about 50 years ago. The more or less ‘heretical’ women priests loosely featured in church history, (occurrence among Cathars, Waldenses and Lollards remains unproved), have eventually functioned despite their femaleness, thus making de-feminized salvational equality with men operative already in this world,
Correspondingly, traditional arguments against women’s ordination presuppose creational gender hierarchy as normative both in church and society. When this harmonious theo-sociological pattern is disrupted by the current collapse of androcentric culture in the Western world, conclusions are conserved in spite of discarded premises. Without acknowledging the superseded rationale of male Godlikeness, typological gender models now serve as last resort both in Catholic and Orthodox debate.
From my standpoint as a Catholic feminist theologian, I believe the ensuing blockage, where ecclesiastical establishments raise barriers between women and God, can be overcome by following the church Fathers’ intent. They strove to insert women in a religious system where femaleness was either absent or alien. The gradual inclusion of females in fully Godlike humanity, as realized by interpretation of Scripture through Christian tradition, provides an exemplary model of continuing inculturation.(5)
II. Inculturated Tradition
In fact, 20th-century biblical interpretation applies three inclusive strategies, all of which are inherited from patristic exegesis: 1. The sexual differentiation expressed in Gen. l:27b, ‘male and female he created them’, is disconnected from the subsequent blessing of fertility in Gen. 1:28 and linked to the preceding image text of Gen. l:26-27a; ‘Let us make Adam (collective male) in our image, according to our likeness … and God created Adam in his image, in the image of God he created him’. 2. Paul’s argument for men’s exclusive Godlikeness in I Cor. 11:7: ‘For man should not cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man’, is veiled. In context, Gen. l:26-27a is here combined with God’s formation of Adam from clods in the soil and blowing into his nostrils the breath of life, according to Gen. 2:7. In I Cor. 11:8, Paul asserts man’s theomorphic precedence in terms of woman’s derivative formation of Adam’s rib, ‘as an aid fit for him’, according to Gen. 2:18,21-23.3 The negating citation of Gen. l:27b in Gal. 3:28: ‘there is not male and female, for you are all one (collective male) in Christ,’ is interpreted as including women instead of abolishing female-ness. It is of note that this text presents a mixture of reverting to creational perfection, defined as presexual, and salvational attainment of Christlike sonship in male wholeness.
Christianity starts from what I call ‘redemptional democracy’, where both men and women are saved in Christ. Since God’s Son is incarnated in perfect humanity, i.e. male Godlikeness, women’s equality in the order of salvation implies that they achieve Christlike maleness, as expressed in Eph. 4:13: ‘until we all arrive at the unity of the faith and of the full knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure and the stature of the fullness of Christ. This early Christian theme of ‘becoming male’ as a prerequisite to, and consequence of, redemptive conformity with the new Adam, Christ, is succinctly verbalized in the last logion, 114, of the Gospel of Thomas (ca. 150 or earlier):
Simon Peter said to them, ‘Let Mary (Magdalene) leave us, for women are not worthy of Life’. Jesus said, ‘I myself shall lead her in order to make her male, so that she too may become a living spirit (cf. Gen. 2,7) resembling you males. For every woman who makes herself male will enter the Kingdom of Heaven’.
Sometimes disregarded as more or less ‘heterodox’, the motif of ‘woman transformed into man’ is fundamentally Christocentric, combining divine Sonship and Godlike manhood. In fact, this theme is found more often in Christian than in Gnostic sources.(6)
Early theological anthropology defines the first human male as Godlike prototype by combining Gen. l:26-27a and Gen. 2:7. The creation of Eve, according to Gen. 2:18,21-23, is regularly linked to the fertility blessing of Gen. 1:28 and not to theomorphic privilege. The traditional Adam-Christ typology starts from Rom. 5:14: ‘Adam, who is a type (typos) of the coming Christ.’ The correlated nuptial symbolism of Christ-church in Eph. 5:32, cf. H Cor. 11:2, is by Justin (died ca. 165), Irenaeus (died ca. 200), Tertullian (died ca. 220) and Ambrose (died 397) amplified in terms of a salvational couple: Christ/new Adam – Mary/church/ new Eve. Theomorphic maleness is here a self-evident premise, with corollary exclusion of femaleness at the divine level. It is essential to note that this gender hierarchy, transposed to the order of salvation, aggravates the subordination of Eve as made after, from and for Adam. The first human pair consists of one autonomous and one derived partner, but both are created beings. In contrast the redemptive couple features a divinely supreme Lord and humanity as his submissive bride. When Eve’s inferior femaleness serves as simile for human dependency of divine omnipotence, women’s creationally sub-male status is strongly reinforced.
Since women’s achievement of theomorphic humanity is reserved for the salvational order, by transformation into Christlike manhood, this theme is inapplicable as an inclusive device already from creation. Given the basic Judaeo-Christian incompatibility of Godhead and femaleness, the innovative patristic move from an exclusively redemptional God-likeness to an imago Dei attributable to women in the creational order, is realized by asexual definition of theomorphic privilege. God’s image is here connected to the spiritual and rational human soul, considered to be sexless. This stratagem is invented by Clement of Alexandria (died ca. 215). He is the first author I have found who connects Gen. l;27b to the preceding image text of Gen. l:26-27a, in order to include women within Godlike humanity from initial creation. Clement equally initiates what I call the ‘feminist falsification’ of Gal. 3:28, using the text’s pre-sexual element to ensure women’s theomorphic privilege. Nevertheless, the fundamental incompatibility of Godhead and femaleness remains unchallenged by this genderfree definition of God’s image, correlated with the metasexual concept of divinity. In consequence, Godlikeness is attributed to women despite inferior womanhood, so that creational gender hierarchy persists as Godwilled norm for church and society.(7)
Augustine (died 430) is the first author who directly confronts I Cor. 11:7, affirming that women too are created in God’s image.(8) It is of note that patristic exegesis always understands this text as literally stating men’s exclusive Godlikeness. Augustine’s exegetical dilemma results from his inclusive interpretation of theomorphic humanity, which follows Clement’s connection of Gen. l:26-27a and 27b. Refusing to accept the Pauline denial of women’s imago Dei, Augustine takes refuge in allegorical exegesis. Consequently, I Cor. 11:7 is neutralized by interpreting Paul’s mulier in the sense of lower human reason, which is not Godlike, whereas higher human reason is figured by Paul’s Godlike vir. Augustine’s main proof-text is here Gal. 3:28, correctly understood in its combined presexual and andromorphic equality, but even more illogi-cally used than by Clement. Augustine invokes the negating citation of Gen. l:27b in order to include mulier as Godlike by attaching homo of Gen. l:27-27a to femina of 27b.(9) The traditional incoherence between Godhead and femaleness remains basic in this inclusive definition of imago Dei in manlike disguise. In fact, Augustine’s argumentation sharpens the ensuing conflict between women’s rational Godlikeness and their inferior femaleness. This split between God’s image and human gender is absent in men, since their creationally superior maleness reflects theomorphic excellence. It follows that Augustine’s predating of women’s salvational imago Dei to the order of creation dissociates spiritual equality from female subservience, thereby legitimating women’s subordination in church and society as divinely ordained.(10)
This strenuous insertion of sub-male women in Godlike humanity reappears in the discussion at the provincial synod in Mâcon (585), reported by Gregory of Tours (died 594). The episcopal majority voting in favour of defining femina/mulier as homo refers to the Augustinian linkage of Gen. l:26-27a and 27b.(11) In contrast, medieval interpretation is influenced by the unveiled androcentric exegesis of so-called Ambrosiaster, regrettably transmitted as though it were written by Ambrose or Augustine.(12) Active in Rome around 370-380, this unidentified author emphasizes women’s lack of creational Godlikeness, drawing explicitly on I Cor. 11:7. Ambrosiaster defines creational imago Dei in terms of Adam’s unique position as human prototype, imitating God as origin of the universe: one manlike God creates one Godlike man. God’s creative priority is thus mirrored by Adam’s carnal causality of the human race, Eve included. In consequence, Adam transmits his theomorphic privilege to all human males, whereas all human females inherit Eve’s derived subservience. Ambrosiaster’s texts are regularly cited in medieval canon law, in order to corroborate women’s subordinate status. Surviving in Corpus Iuris Canonici (1582), they functioned until the Codex of l917.(13)
Ambrosiaster’s male imago Dei is in medieval exegesis transformed to affirm that men are Godlike in the first place, principaliter, because of their creational precedence, but not exclusively. In this version, Ambrosiaster’s comparing of theocentrism and androcentrism is rehearsed in scholastic anthropology. Bonaventura (died 1274) states that human Godlikeness is equal as to its essence in both man and woman, although accidentally greater in a man because of his exemplary maleness.(14) Also referring to I Cor. 11:7, Thomas Aquinas (died 1274) presents a less sophisticated variant of Ambrosiaster’s parallel of monotheism and monogenism:
But as regards a secondary point, God’s image is found in man in a way in which it is not found in woman; for man is the beginning and end of woman, just as God is the beginning and end of all creation.(15)
Unfortunately, the medieval blending of Augustinian and pseudo-Augustinian sources curtails ‘patristic feminism’. This regression becomes manifest in scholastic arguments against women’s ordination to the priesthood. Thomas Aquinas’ use of Aristotelian socio-biology, at the time considered very up-to-date, makes his explanation of female inferiority inapplicable for a present defence of exclusively male priesthood; it is therefore discarded.(16) On the contrary, Bonaventura’s affirmation of femaleness as impeding Christlike representation is still repeated.(17)
Bonaventura’s reasoning clearly demonstrates the logical connection between androcentric typology and non-theomorphic femaleness. He invokes I Cor. 11:7 in the sense of men’s exclusive Godlikeness qua human males. This indispensable requirement for priestly ordination, both de iure and de facto, follows from men’s creational precedence. Consequently, subordinate females are unable to represent Christ the Mediator, who was incarnated in the male sex:
It is impossible to be ordained without possessing God’s image, because this sacrament makes man (homo) somehow divine by sharing divine power. Only the male (vir) is the image of God by virtue of his sex, according to I Cor. 11:7. In consequence, woman (mulier) can in no manner be ordained … The reason for this is not so much the Church’s decision as the non-congruity of priesthood with the female sex. In this sacrament the person ordained signifies Christ as mediator. Because this Mediator existed only in the male sex (virilis sexus), He can be signified only through the male sex. In consequence, only men have the possibility of receiving priestly ordination, since they alone can naturally represent and actually carry the sign of the Mediator by receiving the sacramental character.(18)
Women’s incapacity of cultic mediation between God and humankind results from their lack of Godlikeness qua females. Creationally theo-morphic in spite of their sub-male sex, women cannot represent Christ’s perfect maleness as priests. The traditional disparity between Godhead and femaleness remains fundamental, obviously demonstrated by women’s combined corporeal and symbolic deficiency (impedimentum sexus), resulting from their derived and subordinate womanhood.
In early patristic doctrine, androcentric typology corresponds to the initial theme of Christomorphic maleness, where women become salvationally Christlike by gender reversal. Asexual definition of imago Dei emerges later and is applied to insert women as Godlike already from creation, despite their non-theomorphic femaleness. Typological gender models survive through this second stage by combining asexual God-likeness and andromorphic excellence. Bonaventura’s argumentation is especially important because he so clearly connects the two, logically incoherent themes, when he argues both for women’s sexless imago Dei and against female ordination. Christocentric typology is here used as a restrictive device, making women incapable of representing Christ’s incarnated humanity and redeeming divinity as priests. Their cultic incapacity is thus explained in terms parallel to women’s lacking representation qua females of their Godgiven, genderfree image quality. In contrast, men’s primary sex symbolizes both their asexual imago Dei in male disguise and Christ’s perfect manhood, making them capable of sharing divine power as priests.
III. Feminist Interpretation
Twentieth-century theology continues the church Fathers’ ingenious backdating of redemptive equality to the order of creation by invoking human equivalence to abolish hierarchical structures of race, class and gender. Feminist theologians often equate the evils of racism, classism and sexism, to be overcome by Christian liberation. This common ranking implies inaccurate knowledge of doctrinal history, since creational gender hierarchy has always been affirmed as Godwilled in traditional theology, to be dismissed only recently as normative for society. In fact, Jewish ethnocentricity was relinquished when Christianity spread to the Graeco-Roman world. Slavery was not sanctioned in terms of God’s creative order, but accepted as a necessary consequence of the first sin, to cease when economically feasible. In contrast, the sexism of creational male priority was unanimously defined as ordained by God. Women’s finality qua female human beings was exclusively interpreted in terms of their auxiliary role in procreation. This basic malecentredness is succinctly expressed by Augustine when he states that both in work and in friendship would another human male (masculus) have been more congenial company for Adam.(19) It is of note that this traditional justification for female existence is still rehearsed in magisterial documents, where motherhood is defined as women’s specific vocation.(20)
From the 20th-century viewpoint of Atlantic civilization, androcentric gender models are rejected as oppressive for women. It is important to remember that in late Antique and medieval culture this perspective was reversed, in that women’s salvational equality resulted from God’s enhancement of a priori accepted inferior femaleness to the fully human status of male or asexual perfection. Therefore, patristic displacement of women’s redemptive Godlikeness back to creation provides an indispensable basis for present creational feminism.
A main target of feminist critique is the traditional interaction between andromorphic Godhead and theomorphic maleness, with corresponding split between divinity and femaleness. This androcentric inculturation of Christian God-language still determines the whole framework of doctrine and symbolism. Despite the new holistic imago Dei, where both women and men are defined as fully Godlike qua male or female human beings, God is overwhelmingly described as manlike or meta-sexual. Mancentred typology remains basic in Catholic and Orthodox Christology, ecclesiology and Mariology. In fact, such transposition of gender hierarchy from creation to salvation is irreconcilable with 20th-century theological anthropology and will therefore become obsolete. It follows that the contemporary collapse of male dominance in Western European and North American civilization represents the greatest challenge to theology and ecclesiastical institutions which has ever occurred in church history. A complete reformulation of God-language and religious symbolism is necessary to ensure the survival of Christendom in post-patriarchal culture. In this process, patristic theology can serve as model for new inculturation. The church Fathers’ intention of verbalising their experience of God in terms comprehensible to their time and place is imitable. On the other hand, much of the patristic doctrinal content is no longer viable, precisely because of its successful inculturation, formulated with anthropological presuppositions now superseded. Consequently, tenacious repetition of the church Fathers’ outdated conclusions is contrary to a validation of the sound aspects of Christian doctrine.
As of today, Judaeo-Christian tradition has been verbalized throughout three millenia of shifting socio-cultural contexts: Jewish, Greek, Roman, Celtic, Germanic and quite recently, North and Latin American, now followed by Asian and African. From my perspective of historical theology, I consider both Scripture (elaborated during ca. 1000 years) and biblical interpretation (worked out during nearly 2000 years) as parts of the same inculturating process. Therefore, I cannot endorse the various attempts to consolidate women’s Godlike, and consequently full religious capability by recourse to Scripture alone (sola scriptura). Many feminist theologians strive to renovate Christian God-language by invoking sections of Scripture for liberational purposes. This exegetical approach, which I call ‘sola pars scripturae’ (part of Scripture alone), I find futile. The canonical Bible has to be affronted in its entirety, since this predominant androcentric whole has determined the formation of Christianity. As an historian of ideas, I am also at odds with feminist theology which believes the scriptural base to be less malecentred than subsequent patristic and medieval interpretation. The gradual inclusion of women in fully Godlike humanity, as elaborated through doctrinal history, clearly demonstrates the opposite.
Following the patristic idea of divine pedagogy (pronoia paideusis), I consider both biblical and exegetical inculturation as instrumental in God’s continuous disclosure (revelatio continua). During the Renaissance, this concept was reformulated by a forerunner of 20th-century sociology of knowledge, the German cardinal Nicolaus Cusanus. He defines the revelatory interplay between Creator and creation as temporal unfolding (explicatio) of God’s eternal enfolding (complicatio). Nicolaus applies these terms in order to verbalize his enlightened insight (docta ignorantia): All human experience of God is necessarily conjectural, because it is determined by continually changing historical circumstances. Centered on Christ, this persistent dialogue between God and humankind is consequently acted out as incarnated revelation, that is in a manner understandable for human beings (humano modo).(21)
From a feminist viewpoint, this human mode of both Scripture and Christian tradition is perceived as inadequate in terms of exclusive male-gendered verbalization, predominantly limited to men’s experience of God. Feminist efforts to trace an early Christian Her-story, before, through and beyond New Testament texts, are therefore essential.(22) Many sources pertaining to women’s existence have been destroyed, hidden, manipulated or are still neglected. The few female writings which survive nave been controlled, selected and transmitted by male ecclesiastical authority. Independent and/or deviating women were normally repressed, condemned and even burned at the stake, like Marguerite Porete in 1310. Contemporary Women’s Studies are now bringing these creative and courageous church Mothers to light, valued as exemplary constructors of female-gendered God-language.(23) In order to become a fully human discourse on God, theology must express both women’s and men’s religious experience.
In accordance with my concept of God’s revelation as continuously unfolding, I do not share the need to corroborate female equivalence by postulating a greater influence of, and freedom for, women in emerging Christianity. This sort of ‘golden age dream’ affects some feminist theologians, who repeat the medieval and Renaissance manner of chastising churchly abuses by invoking an assumed earlier integrity (ecclesia primitiva),
The current feminist application of marginal texts, such as apocryphical literature and more or less ‘heterodox’ material, is even less propitious. In fact, most of these sources aggravate women’s gender reversal or defeminized asexuality, as means of achieving male or sexless human perfection.(24)
In my opinion, a fruitful feminist theology must be inspired by Catholic understanding of the interplay between Scripture and tradition, and guided by Orthodox belief in the Holy Spirit as acting through human history. Both visions presuppose what I summarily call ‘optimistic anthropology’, in the sense that creation is not totally alienated after the original fall and that redemption is fulfilled by divine and human interaction. The Greek church Fathers’ doctrine of Christ’s incarnated and resurrected humanity as causing Godlike human wholeness (theosis), is of exemplary value for feminist God-language. Liberated from its conjectural presuppositions of perfect manhood and asexual excellence, this patristic anthropology can bridge the subsisting barrier between Godhead and womanhood, thereby conforming to the new holistic definition of human Godlikeness. When both women and men are valued as theomorphic, God is correspondingly to be described by both male and female metaphors. The sparse and atypical imagery of God as womanlike, already found in Scripture and tradition, provides useful support.(25) When divine totality is verbalized in terms of diversified human wholeness, androcentric gender models lose significance in Christian doctrine and symbolism. In consequence. Godlike women’s capacity to serve as Christlike priests will be fully recognized. The ordination of women marks an ecumenical achievement!
1. Enlarged version of paper read Nov.19, 1989 at the Catholic, Orthodox and Anglican international congress: Woman and Ministry, an ecumenical problem, organized by the Theological Faculty of Sicily in Palermo, Italy. Italian translation of English original: ‘L’ordinazione delle donne: una questione aperta. Come alimentare la tradizione mediante una continua inculturazione’, in Cettina Militello (ed.), Donna e Ministero. Un dibattito ecumenico (Roma: Edizioni Dehoniane, 1991), pp. 245-263.
2. Biblical texts and early Christian, patristic, medieval and Reformation exegesis are analyzed in Kari Elisabeth Børresen (ed.). Image of God and Gender Models in Judaeo-Christian Tradition (Oslo: Solum Forlag, 1991).
3. Kari Elisabeth Børresen, ‘Immagine aggiomata – tipologia arretrata’, in Maria Antoni-etta Macciocchi (ed.), Le Donne secondo Wojtyla (Milano; Edizioni Paoline, 1992), pp. 197-212. French original: ‘Image ajustée, typologie arrêtée: analyse critique de “Mulieris dignitatem”‘, in Joseph Dore et al. (eds.). Mélanges en l’honneur de Joseph Moingt (Paris 1992).
4. Female Godlikeness was already stated by the Norwegian feminist theologian Aasta Hansteen, Kvinden skabt i Guds Billede (Woman created in God’s image, Christiania, 1878).
5. Kari Elisabeth Børresen, ‘Patristic Inculturation, Medieval Foremothers and Feminist Theology’, Religio 30 (1989), pp. 157-172.
6. Kari Vogt, ‘Devenir mâle: aspect d’une anthropologie chrétienne primitive’. Concilium 21 (1985), pp. 95-107. For an overview of the Classical and Hellenistic context, cf. Kerstin Aspegren, ed. René Kieffer, The Male Woman. A Feminine Ideal in the Early Church (Uppsala: Almquist & Wicksell International, 1990).
7. Kari Elisabeth Børresen, ‘Interaksjon mellom skriftgrunnlag og senantikk antropologi: kirkefedres tolkning av I Mos. 1,27 og 1 Kor. 11,7′, Platonselskabets symposium 1983 (København: Institut for klassisk filologi, 1985), pp. 117-132.
8. Kari Elisabeth Børresen, ‘In Defence of Augustine: how femina is homo’, in Bernard Bruning et al. (eds.). Collectanea Augustiniana. Mélanges T.J. van Bavel (Louvain: Institut Historique Augustinien, 1990), pp. 263-280.
9. De Genesi ad litteram 3,22. De Trinitate l2,7,10,12.
10. Kari Elisabeth Børresen, Subordination and Equivalence. The Nature and Role of Woman in Augustine and Thomas Aquinas (Washington. DC.; University Press of America, 1981). Translation of updated French original. Subordination et Equivalence. Nature et rôle de la femme d’après Augustin et Thomas d’Aquin (Oslo: Norwegian University Press, Paris: Maison Mame, 1968).
11. Historia Francorum 8,20.
12. Kari Elisabeth Børresen, ‘Imago Dei privilège masculin? Interprétation augustinienne et pseudo-augustinienne de Gen, 1,27 et I Cor. 11,7′, Augustinianum 25 (1985), pp. 213-234.
13. Decreti secunda pars, causa XXXm, 5,13,17,19. CIC 1,1254-1256.
14. Sententiarum IV,16,2,2.
15. Summa theologica 1,93,4, ad 1: ‘Sed quantum ad aliquid secundarium imago Dei invenitur in viro secundum quod non invenitur in muliere; nam vir est principium mulieris et finis, sicut Deus est principium et finis totius creaturae’.
16. Supplementum 39,1. 39,3, sed contra, ad 4.
17. Declaratio ‘Inter insigniores’, Acta Apostolicae Sedis 69 (1977), pp. 98-116. Kari Elisabeth Børresen, ‘Inter insigniores, erklaering mot ordinasjon av kvinner’, Kirke og Kultur 82 (1977), pp. 356-368.
18. Sententiarum IV,25,2,1, fund. 2. Concl.: ‘Item, nullus est possibilis ad ordines suscipiendos nisi qui Del gerit imaginem, quia in hoc Sacramento homo quodam modo fit divinus, dum potestatis divinae fit particeps; sed vir ratione sexus est imago Dei, sicut dicitur primae ad Corinthios undecimo: ergo nullo modo mulier potest ordinari. … In hoc enim Sacramento persona, quae ordinatur, significat Christum mediatorem; et quoniam mediator solum in virili sexu fuit et per virilem sexum potest significari: ideo possibilitas suscipiendi ordines solum viris competit, qui soli possunt naturaliter repraesentare et secundum characteris susceptionem actu signum hujus ferre’.
19. De Genesi ad litteram 9,5: ‘quapropter non inuenio, ad quod adiutorium facta sit mulier uiro, si pariendi causa subtrahitur’.
20. Cf. Epistula apostolica ‘Mulieris dignitatem’, Acta Apostolicae Sedis 80 (1988), pp. 1653-1729.
21. De pace fidei. Opera omnia 7 (Hamburg: Felix Meiner Verlag, 1959). Kari Elisabeth Børresen, Nicolaus Cusanus’ dialog De pace fidei. Om trosfreden (Oslo: Solum Forlag, 1983).
22. Cf. the pioneering work of Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, In memory of Her. A Feminist Theological Reconstruction of Christian Origins (New York: Crossroad, 1983).
23. Kari Elisabeth Børresen, ‘Women’s Studies of the Christian Tradition’, in Guttorm Fløistad, Raymond Klibansky (eds.). Contemporary Philosophy. A new Survey 6, Philosophy and Science in the Middle Ages (Dordrecht, Boston, London: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1990), pp. 901-1001.
24. Cf. Jorunn Jacobsen Buckley, Female Fault and Fulfilment in Gnosticism (Chapel Hill, NC , London: The University of North Carolina Press, 1986). Elaine H. Pagels, Adam, Eve and the Serpent (New York: Random House, 1988).
25. Kari Elisabeth Børresen, ‘Christ notre Mère, la théologie de Julienne de Norwich’, Mitteilungen und Forschungsbeiträge der Cusanus-Gesellschaft 13 (1978), pp. 320-329. ‘L’usage patristique des métaphores féminines dans le discours sur Dieu’, Revue Théologique de Louvain 13 (1982), pp. 205-220. ‘God’s Image, Man’s Image? Female Metaphors describing God in the Christian Tradition’, Temenos 19 (1983), pp. 17-32.
This website is maintained by the Wijngaards Institute for Catholic Research.
The Institute is known for issuing academic reports and statements on relevant issues in the Church. These have included scholars’ declarations on the need of collegiality in the exercise of church authority, on the ethics of using contraceptives in marriage and the urgency of re-instating the sacramental diaconate of women.
You are welcome to use our material. However: maintaining this site costs money. We are a Charity and work mainly with volunteers, but we find it difficult to pay our overheads.
Visitors to our website since January 2014.
Pop-up names are online now.
The number is indicative, but incomplete. For full details click on cross icon at bottom right.