The Ordination of Women:
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 womens ordination to the priesthood a critical test case for the recognition of womens 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 womens creation in Gods 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, womens 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 Gods 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 mens 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 womens 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 womens 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 womens 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. Pauls argument for mens 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 Gods 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 mans theomorphic precedence in terms of womans derivative formation of Adams 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 Gods Son is incarnated in perfect humanity, i.e. male Godlikeness, womens 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 Eves inferior femaleness serves as simile for human dependency of divine omnipotence, womens creationally sub-male status is strongly reinforced.
Since womens 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. Gods 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 texts pre-sexual element to ensure womens theomorphic privilege. Nevertheless, the fundamental incompatibility of Godhead and femaleness remains unchallenged by this genderfree definition of Gods 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 Gods image.(8) It is of note that patristic exegesis always understands this text as literally stating mens exclusive Godlikeness. Augustines exegetical dilemma results from his inclusive interpretation of theomorphic humanity, which follows Clements connection of Gen. l:26-27a and 27b. Refusing to accept the Pauline denial of womens imago Dei, Augustine takes refuge in allegorical exegesis. Consequently, I Cor. 11:7 is neutralized by interpreting Pauls mulier in the sense of lower human reason, which is not Godlike, whereas higher human reason is figured by Pauls Godlike vir. Augustines 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, Augustines argumentation sharpens the ensuing conflict between womens rational Godlikeness and their inferior femaleness. This split between Gods image and human gender is absent in men, since their creationally superior maleness reflects theomorphic excellence. It follows that Augustines predating of womens salvational imago Dei to the order of creation dissociates spiritual equality from female subservience, thereby legitimating womens 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 womens lack of creational Godlikeness, drawing explicitly on I Cor. 11:7. Ambrosiaster defines creational imago Dei in terms of Adams unique position as human prototype, imitating God as origin of the universe: one manlike God creates one Godlike man. Gods creative priority is thus mirrored by Adams carnal causality of the human race, Eve included. In consequence, Adam transmits his theomorphic privilege to all human males, whereas all human females inherit Eves derived subservience. Ambrosiasters texts are regularly cited in medieval canon law, in order to corroborate womens subordinate status. Surviving in Corpus Iuris Canonici (1582), they functioned until the Codex of l917.(13)
Ambrosiasters 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, Ambrosiasters 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 Ambrosiasters parallel of monotheism and monogenism:
But as regards a secondary point, Gods 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 womens 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, Bonaventuras affirmation of femaleness as impeding Christlike representation is still repeated.(17)
Bonaventuras reasoning clearly demonstrates the logical connection between androcentric typology and non-theomorphic femaleness. He invokes I Cor. 11:7 in the sense of mens exclusive Godlikeness qua human males. This indispensable requirement for priestly ordination, both de iure and de facto, follows from mens 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 Gods 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 Churchs 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)
Womens 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 Christs perfect maleness as priests. The traditional disparity between Godhead and femaleness remains fundamental, obviously demonstrated by womens 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. Bonaventuras argumentation is especially important because he so clearly connects the two, logically incoherent themes, when he argues both for womens sexless imago Dei and against female ordination. Christocentric typology is here used as a restrictive device, making women incapable of representing Christs incarnated humanity and redeeming divinity as priests. Their cultic incapacity is thus explained in terms parallel to womens lacking representation qua females of their Godgiven, genderfree image quality. In contrast, mens primary sex symbolizes both their asexual imago Dei in male disguise and Christs 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 Gods 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. Womens 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 womens 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 womens salvational equality resulted from Gods enhancement of a priori accepted inferior femaleness to the fully human status of male or asexual perfection. Therefore, patristic displacement of womens 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 womens 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 Gods 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 Gods 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 mens 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 womens 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 Womens 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 womens and mens religious experience.
In accordance with my concept of Gods 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 womens 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 Christs 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 womens 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: Lordinazione 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 lhonneur 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 Gods 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 dune 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 daprès Augustin et Thomas dAquin (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, Womens 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. Lusage patristique des métaphores féminines dans le discours sur Dieu, Revue Théologique de Louvain 13 (1982), pp. 205-220. Gods Image, Mans Image? Female Metaphors describing God in the Christian Tradition, Temenos 19 (1983), pp. 17-32.
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