Actions Speak Louder Than Words: Men's Ideas And Women's Actions In Western European Church History




Sharp, Rebekah

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Evangelical organizations like the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) have recently made headlines for their strong positions against women in the pulpit. However, the debate on women in Church leadership is not a new one. The basis of the argument against women’s ability to lead has evolved, stagnated, and then evolved again. This thesis will analyze primary sources from ancient, medieval, and Reformation eras, attempting to trace male attitudes toward women’s abilities to lead. Specifically, this paper will focus on the primary sources analyzing Genesis’s creation and fall stories. Additionally, it will include the stories of real women who have directly contradicted these men’s theories about their capabilities. By analyzing the work of male philosophers, theologians, pastors, and female martyrs, anchoresses, and laywomen, I will aim to show how male opinions on women often change after encountering strong, capable women who challenge their previously held beliefs.



History, Religion, Women's History, Christianity, Europe