A History of Women and Ordination: The Ordination of Women in a Medieval Context

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During the past fifty years, few issues have been more prominent and disputed in religious circles than has the ordination of women. This has been most acutely felt in the Roman Catholic Church, because the long-standing tradition of the Church has always seen women as incapable of ordination, and contemporary Papal encyclicals continue to support that position. Should such a tradition continue to be an obstacle to a change that is seen as desirable by so many groups? Is the push for this change simply an outgrowth of the women's movement of the latter part of the 20th century? Careful top-level theological, historical, and biblical examination of the Papal arguments against the ordination of women disagree, and it is the purpose of this series to explore as fully as possible, and using the best scholarly research, the historical roots and evolution of the role of women in Christian ministry from its beginnings, as well as the changing shape of that ministry. This first volume contains two studies, the first by Gary Macy, one of the series editors, and the other by Fr. John Hilary Martin. Macy provides the background to the earliest understanding of "ordination" and discusses some of the controversy surrounding the change in the definition of the term in the 12th century. Until that time "ordination" meant, "installed," as a king was said to be ordained when he was crowned king; a deacon was ordained into the diaconate and so was a deaconess. Then the theologians and canonists of the period insisted that the only "true" ordination was to those roles that served at the altar, and that, furthermore, only men could serve in those roles. This discussion sets the stage for Fr. Hilary's detailed study of the continuing concern of theologians through the next 300 years with the question of why women could not be ordained. He presents a wide array of sources that evidence the concern of scholars over the justification of this practice of exclusion. Both studies offer a wealth of hitherto unavailable informat
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Editorial Reviews

The book should find a home in any number of libraries large and small.
Journal Of Ecclesiastical History
A very interesting read.
This book is a fine piece of historical research, clear and unbiased. It is amply footnoted and includes a substantial bibliography…it belongs in every college library and should be read carefully by anyone who teaches ecclesiology or sacramental theory. In fact, it is useful for anyone interested in the development of doctrine.
Church Times
This is an excellent source-book, indispensable in any collection on the debate about women priests....an outstanding production.
— Dr. John Wijngaards
Church Times - Dr. John Wijngaards
This is an excellent source-book, indispensable in any collection on the debate about women priests....an outstanding production.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810843271
  • Publisher: The Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group Inc
  • Publication date: 8/1/2002
  • Series: Pietist and Wesleyan Studies
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 198
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Meet the Author

Bernard Cooke is a prominent U.S. theologian who has served as president of both the College Theology Society and the Catholic Theological Society of America, receiving from the latter its John Courtney Murray Award. He received his Ph.D. at Institut catholique de Paris in 1956 and is the author of more than twenty books including Why Angels? and The Future Eucharist. Gary Macy is a professor of Religious Studies at the University of San Diego. He earned a Ph.D. in Divinity from Cambridge University in 1978. He has published three books including Treasures from the Storeroom: Essays on Medieval Religion and the Eucharist.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments v
Introduction to the Series vii
Introduction to Volume 1 xi
1 The Ordination of Women in the Early Middle Ages 1
2 The Ordination of Women and the Theologians in the Middle Ages 31
Bibliography 161
Index 177
About the Authors and Editors 183
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