INSTITUTIONALISED CHRISTIANITY AND THE QUESTION OF GENDER HIERARCHY

Nadja FURLAN

Abstract


The paper develops, from a feminist point of view, the issues of emergence and presence of patriarchal principles, gender hierarchy and unequal distribution of power between the genders within Christianity. First of all, it poses the question as to whether patriarchal supremacy is proper to and ordained by the Christian tradition or has developed and strengthened throughout the process of the institutionalisation of Christianity. The western world, shaped under the influence of Christianity, has been recording an increased number of critical questions concerning the issue of gender hierarchy within individual Christian Churches, the Catholic Church in particular. The patriarchal character of the Church order is called into question and put under a microscope. With the help of a scientific methodology that employs the hermeneutic key of feminist theology the paper endeavours to trace the origins of patriarchal androcentrism and unequal appreciation of the two genders. The results of the discussion corroborate the hypothesis that during the process of institutionalisation the Catholic Church adopted the patriarchal denotation of the culture in which it developed, and confirm the theory that Christianity in its doctrine sets a strong imperative of gender equality, grounded both in the person of Jesus Christ and his attitude towards women as well as in the Bible.

Keywords


gender hierarchy; gender equality and the Bible; institutionalisation of Christianity; patriarchalisation of Church and Christianity; feminist theology

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Print ISSN 1330-0288 | Online ISSN 1848-6096