Term Paper: Women Called to Witness

Pages: 6 (2542 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Mythology - Religion  ·  Buy This Paper


[. . .] But, often these women themselves were not liberal in their personal lives, as they viewed themselves with the thought that men and women were fundamentally different. This led them to the concept that women were superior to men in moral terms, and this gave them the duty of improving the present moral conditions which would not be improved by men. The eyes of many women were opened by their action as what all could be done, and taught the women the necessities for women to organize the pursuit of any political agenda with success.

The feminists in a number of ways have approached the Bible. The lack of knowledge about some biblical women has been used by them to reconstruct their lives with imagination. To achieve this they have studied the religious texts with suspicion that they were written by men who deliberately wanted not to see women, or to devalue the impact of their presence, if their presence could not be denied. The records do not tell very much about this, and so that had to imagine in a very fertile and intelligent manner. They harp on the abuse and marginalization of women throughout the existence of the church, in the gospels and in the Jewish religious texts. As an example, there is the instance of Amnon raping Tamar in 2 Sam 13, and Jephthah sacrificing his daughters in Judges 11:29-40 and Lot offering his daughters to the men of Sodom in Gen 19:8. They have highlighted the fact that women had always been viewed as the property of men - Ex 20:17 and Deut 5:21 are examples.

Further, it was expected that women would remain virgins till they were married and the Biblical punishment for not observing this norm was to be death by stoning. The other side of the coin was that men were not expected to meet any such restrictions or be subject to any such penalties. The experience of women has however made them have a fresh look at the texts. The importance of women who were not powerful or important also mattered as they were the group capable of child-bearing. This has been studied by a feminine OT scholar who showed that the word for womb in singular is rhm. The word in plural is rahum and that denotes mercy of both God and humans. (See Trible for example) Tamar, the unnamed concubine in Judges; the female slaves who saved Moses, Ex 1:8-2:10 and Ex 2:2-4: Junia in the NT; Lydia etc. are all restored back in the religious texts. These changes change the texts that all of us read and interpret. The place of women in the church, society and family are being reviewed through a constant search of the religious texts, from Genesis to Paul. These people argue that the text of the Bible does not have any specific prohibition of leadership by women and their ordination as priests. For this, the passages from Paul are very important. The feminists have studied with special interest the Texts of Terror which depict women in frightening situations, but which have been in general ignored by the writers and commentators of the scriptures. The feminist OT scholar, Phyllis Trible insists that these pieces should be seen and committed to memory. The most frightening of these passages is probably the rape of the concubine described in Judges 19. At the same time, the feminists want to look at texts that highlight the inequality of women at home, society and the church. These are used to substantiate the argument that women are not used in these texts, or excluded. These are also used to counter texts of Paul and in Genesis to argue that God does not want women to lead.

In the nineteenth century, feminism was a mainly drawn from evangelicalism. At the same time, it sent mixed images about the new agency to women. Even in the twentieth century, the relationship of the two is uneasy, but it now seems that there will be an understanding. The feminist movement has started questioning some of the selfish and hurtful practices that were ignored earlier. This new approach, which sees the Bible as complementary for both men and women will remove the earlier errors and also not go on the opposite extreme which comes due the blurring of sexual distinction of human beings that have been decided by nature. Today, there is more emphasis on the question of equality so that women get equal opportunity to men, can get into the ministries of the church, share authority and make decisions within the institution of marriage.

The belief of Biblical support for the subordination of females or spiritual superiority of males has been rejected. The Bible is found to be objective, an authoritative meaning, an unchanged spiritual message, and clear though there have been changes in generations and interpreters. They emphasize the equality of all creatures before God, and this removes the theological or moral justification for the reduction in status of any group based on race, gender or class. On the Bible, their views are generally conservative, as also with theology, but support the ideal of abolishing the gender basis for roles church, home and society. The Bible is viewed as authoritative and supportive of feminist views when properly understood. Thus, the liberation of women can be achieved through evangelical religion.

In conclusion it can be said, that an individual's position in the kingdom of God will depend on his personal capabilities and his affinity to God. Since Christ believed in the equality of all believers in him, the women should get an equal opportunity with men to be ordained as ministers in the Church. In the home, they should be able to share authority and submission with their husbands, mutually. The eyes of many women were opened by their action as what all could be done, and taught the women the necessities for women to organize the pursuit of any political agenda with success. Thus I agree with Hardesty's thesis that the seeds of feminism can be found in Evangelical religion. And evangelical religion no doubt, liberates women.… [END OF PREVIEW]

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