luni, 19 noiembrie 2007

Women and Religious Communities II.

The main question

The main question is a hermeneutical one: does the religion we are talking about have a fixed dogma about the gender, the self-thinking, and the gender-determined place in society, or the religious thoughts can be remodeled by social requirements. How a particular religion or cult does relate to its own sacred texts? Are the scripts of texts sacred or the exegesis allows a historical context and point of view? The western culture developed a strong critical research in exegesis, and the social-religious orders are mostly interpreted in their historical contexts (for example the coverance of women`s hair in churches during the sermon, or the allowance of teaching to women). In the Islam for instance is totally forbidden to criticize the Quran or understand the historical patterns, because the Quran is sacred in it`s script, and for a Muslim is almost impossible to interpret the Quran in the western way. But it is true that Islam has not developed the idea of dogma, they doesn`t get dogmatics as it is interpreted is Christianity.

Christianity presents a very important example concerning the problem of explaining the sacred texts: protestant churches admit the critical exegesis, the catholic and orthodox churches are mostly based on church-tradition and traditional interpretation, which obviously does not allow any changes. Protestant churches involved the idea of women`s equality debated in 20th century.

The Bible and dogmatics

In the Old Testament`s genesis the woman (Eve, meaning mother) is made from the rib of the man (Adam, meaning man in general) meaning they are equal. During historical Judaism women are allowed to serve God in the Holy Place in Jerusalem (they are just a few, but looks like it was possible), they are allowed to inherit, if there`s no man descendant in the family, they are protected by the Jewish law and a divorce is allowed (well, for the request of the husband), and the wife has the right to obtain from her husband a divorce paper to prove she is not out of law.

Jesus in the New Testament is very liberal in this issue: he has women disciplines, which is almost impossible in that time. Paul also talks about women`s place, and restricts only the teaching, because women are not educated, but allows the prophecy, which means that a woman can be a pastor, but not a teacher. This changed in just a few ten years. (In the early Christian Church there were four types of pastors: prophets, texts-explicators (rabies), teachers for the new attendants, and deacons who served at the Holy Supper.)

In Church dogmatics and ethics there are some basic questions referring to the gender issue: does a Church ordinate women, does allow them to teach, does have a dogma about women`s place in family, does allow the divorce, and does a woman be able to ask for it, what does a Church think about the women`s right to abortion and contraception.