The Christ is the liberator and restorer of woman, in spite of St. Paul and the Fathers of the Church"The Christ is the liberator and restorer of woman, in spite of St. Paul and the Fathers of the Church who, by lowering woman to the role of man's servant, have wrongly interpreted the Master's thought. She had been glorified in Vedic times; Bouddhah had mistrusted her; the Christ has raised her by restoring her mission of love and divination. The initiate woman represents the soul of Humanity; Aisha, as Moses had named it, i.e. the power of Intuition; the loving and seeing Faculty. The impetuous Mary Magdalene, out of whom, according to the biblical expression, Jesus had driven seven devils, became the most ardent of his disciples. She it was who first, St. John tells us, saw the divine Master, the spiritual Christ risen from the tomb."
"For at this hour a wave of joy overwhelmed the tragic thought in the
consciousness of the Christ. The tempest has not yet burst over the
lake of Tiberias. It is the Galilean springtime of the Gospel, the
dawn of the kingdom of God, the mystic union of the initiate with his
spiritual family, which follows and travels with him as the
procession of handmaidens follows the bridegroom in the parable. The
believing crowd hurries along in the footsteps of the beloved Master
on the banks of the azure lake enclosed in the glorious hills as in a
golden bowl. They go from the fragrant banks of Capernaum to
Bethsaida's orange groves and the mountainous Chorazim, where the
lake of Gennesareth is bordered by shady palms. In this procession
the woman have a place apart. The Master is everywhere surrounded by
The Mothers or sisters of his disciples, by timid virgins, or
repentant Magdalenes. Attentive and faithful, impelled by passionate
love, they scatter along his path eternal blossoms of sadness and
hope. They at any rate need no proof that he is the Messiah : a
single look into his face is sufficient for them. The wonderful
felicity emanating from his aura, added to the note of divine
unexpressed suffering they instinctively feel, persuades them that he
is the Son of God. Jesus had early stifled in himself the cry of the
flesh, during his stay among the Essenes he had tamed the might of
his senses. This had given him an empire over souls and the divine
power of pardon, a true angelic bliss. He says to the sinning woman
now, with disheveled hair, kneeling at the Master's feet, over which
she pours the precious ointment: "Much shall be forgiven her, for
she has loved much!." Sublime thought, containing an entire
redemption, for pardon sets free.
The Christ is the liberator and restorer of woman, in spite of St. Paul and the Fathers of the Church who, by lowering woman to the role of man's servant, have wrongly interpreted the Master's thought. She had been glorified in Vedic times; Bouddhah had mistrusted her; the Christ has raised her by restoring her mission of love and divination. The initiate woman represents the soul of Humanity; Aisha, as Moses had named it, i.e. the power of Intuition; the loving and seeing Faculty. The impetuous Mary Magdalene, out of whom, according to the biblical expression, Jesus had driven seven devils, became the most ardent of his disciples. She it was who first, St. John tells us, saw the divine Master, the spiritual Christ risen from the tomb. Legend has been obstinately bent on seeing in the passionate believing woman the greatest worshiper of Jesus, the heart initiate, and legend has not been mistaken, for her history represents the whole regeneration of woman as desired by the Christ.
It was in the farm of Bethany, near Martha, Mary and Mary Magdalene, that Jesus loved to rest from the labours of his mission, and prepare himself for supreme tests. There he lavished his tenderest words of comfort, and in sweet discourse spoke of the divine mysteries he dared not yet confide to his disciples. At times, as the sun was setting in the golden horizon of the west, half-hidden in the branches of the olive-groves, Jesus would become pensive, and a veil would overshadow his illumined countenance. He thought of the difficulties of his work, of the uncertain faith of the apostles , of the hostile powers of the world. The temple, Jerusalem, humanity itself, with its crime and ingratitude, seemed to overwhelm him beneath a living mountain.
Would his arms upraised to heaven be strong enough to grind this mountain to powder, or would he himself be crushed beneath its mighty bulk? Then he spoke vaguely of a terrible trial which awaited him, and also of his coming end. Awed by his solemn tones, the women dared not question him. However unchangeable the Master's serenity of soul might be, they understood that it was as though wrapped about with the shroud of an indescribable sadness, separating him from the joys of earth. They had a presentiment of the prophet's destiny, they felt his invincible power of resolution. What was the meaning of those gloomy clouds which arose from the direction of Jerusalem? Wherefore this burning wind of fever and death, passing over their hearts as over the blighted hills of Judea, with their violet cadaverous hues? One evening _ a star of mystery _ a tear shone in Jesus eyes. A shudder passed through the frames of the women, their tears also flowed in silence. They were lamenting over him; he was lamenting over all mankind!"
JESUS : THE LAST GREAT INITIATE
The Public Life of Jesus - Popular and Esoteric Instruction, Miracles, Apostles, Women
Kessinger Publishing; Facsimile edition edition (March 1997)
"Misogyny is fundamental to the basic writings of Christianity. In passage after passage, women are encouraged-no, commanded-to accept an inferior role, and to be ashamed of themselves for the simple fact that they are women. Misogynistic biblical passages are so common that it's difficult to know which to cite. From the New Testament we find"Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church..." (Ephesians 5:22-23) and"These [redeemed] are they which were not defiled with women;..." (Revelation 14:4); and from the Old Testament we find"How then can man be justified with God? Or how can he be clean that is born of a woman?" (Job 25:4) Other relevant New Testament passages include Colossians 3:18; 1 Peter 3:7; 1 Corinthians 11:3, 11:9, and 14:34; and 1 Timothy 2:11-12 and 5:5-6. Other Old Testament passages include Numbers 5:20-22 and Leviticus 12:2-5 and 15:17-33.
Later Christian writers extended the misogynistic themes in the Bible with a vengeance. Tertullian, one of the early church fathers, wrote:
In pain shall you bring forth children, woman, and you shall turn to your husband and he shall rule over you. And do you not know that you are Eve? God's sentence hangs still over all your sex and His punishment weighs down upon you. You are the devil's gateway; you are she who first violated the forbidden tree and broke the law of God. It was you who coaxed your way around him whom the devil had not the force to attack. With what ease you shattered that image of God: Man! Because of the death you merited, even the Son of God had to die... Woman, you are the gate to hell.
One can find similarly misogynistic-though sometimes less venomous- statements in the writings of many other church fathers and theologians, including St. Ambrose, St. Anthony, Thomas Aquinas, St. Augustine, St. John Chrysostom, St. Gregory of Nazianzum, and St. Jerome.
This misogynistic bias in Christianity's basic texts has long been translated into misogyny in practice. Throughout almost the entire time that Christianity had Europe and America in its lock grip, women were treated as chattel-they had essentially no political rights, and their right to own property was severely restricted. Perhaps the clearest illustration of the status of women in the ages when Christianity was at its most powerful is the prevalence of wife beating. This degrading, disgusting practice was very common throughout Christendom well up into the 19th century, and under English Common Law husbands who beat their wives were specifically exempted from prosecution. (While wife beating is still common in Christian lands, at least in some countries abusers are at least sometimes prosecuted.)
At about the same time that English Common Law (with its wife-beating exemption) was being formulated and codified, Christians all across Europe were engaging in a half-millennium-long orgy of torture and murder of"Witches"-at the direct behest and under the direction of the highest church authorities. The watchword of the time was Exodus 22:18," Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live," and at the very minimum hundreds of thousands of women were brutally murdered as a result of this divine injunction, and the papal bulls amplifying it (e.g., Spondit Pariter, by John XXII, and Summis Desiderantes, by Innocent VIII). Andrew Dickson White notes:
On the 7th of December, 1484, Pope Innocent VIII sent forth the bull Summis Desiderantes. Of all documents ever issued from Rome, imperial or papal, this has doubtless, first and last, cost the greatest shedding of innocent blood. Yet no document was ever more clearly dictated by conscience. Inspired by the scriptural command," Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live," Pope Innocent exhorted the clergy of Germany to leave no means untried to detect sorcerers ... [W] itch-finding inquisitors were authorized by the Pope to scour Europe, especially Germany, and a manual was prepared for their use [by the Dominicans Heinrich Krmer and Jacob Sprenger]-"The Witch Hammer", Malleus Maleficarum... With the application of torture to thousands of women, in accordance with the precepts laid down in the Malleus, it was not difficult to extract masses of proof ... The poor creatures writhing on the rack, held in horror by those who had been nearest and dearest to them, anxious only for death to relieve their sufferings, confessed to anything and everything that would satisfy the inquisitors and judges... Under the doctrine of"excepted cases," there was no limit to torture for persons accused of heresy or witchcraft.
Given this bloody, hateful history, it's not surprising that women have always held very subservient positions in Christian churches. In fact, there appear to have been no female clergy in any Christian church prior to the 20th century (with the exception of those who posed as men, such as Pope Joan), and even today a great many Christian sects (most notably the Catholic Church) continue to resist ordaining female clergy. While a few liberal Protestant churches have ordained women in recent years, it's difficult to see this as a great step forward for women; it's easier to see it as analogous to the Ku Klux Klan's appointing a few token blacks as Klaxons.
As for the improvements in the status of women over the last two centuries, the Christian churches either did nothing to support them or actively opposed them. This is most obvious as regards women's control over their own bodies. Organized Christianity has opposed this from the start, and as late as the 1960s the Catholic Church was still putting its energies into the imposition of laws prohibiting access to contraceptives. Having lost that battle, Christianity has more recently put its energies into attempts to outlaw the right of women to abortion.
Many of those leading the fight for women's rights have had no illusions about the misogynistic nature of Christianity. These women included Mary Wollstonecraft, Victoria Woodhull, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Margaret Sanger (whose slogan," No God. No master," remains relevant to this day)."
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