Gender Equality

gender-equality

In Genesis 1:28, “God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them”. When the spirit of God is within us, the barriers of sexism must be rejected.

In light of the newest scandal regarding Trump and his manners of misogyny, wish as we might that civilization has come multitudes from the eras of patriarchy, statistics tell us otherwise. According to the Thomson Reuters Foundation every seven seconds one girl under the age of fifteen is married.  In addition, Reuter reports that by 2030 the number of women married in childhood will increase from 700 million to 950 million.

According to “The Trump Tape”, Trump states he can do whatever he wants with women. He states that he can do anything, that he doesn’t have to wait, and he can just grab women by their genitals if he wants to. Although this sounds very crude and vulgar to us in the twentieth first century, Trump’s attitude is not unfamiliar. According to the Hebrew Bible, women within ancient Israelite society did not have agency over their bodies. Women were the property of men.

According to scholar and theologian Ken Stone in his article, “Marriage and Sexual Relations in the Hebrew Bible” from the Oxford Handbook of Theology, Sexuality and Gender, sexual relationships in ancient Israel have been misinterpreted. According to Stone, the word “wife” and “husband” were added into the text in accordance with English translators. “Ish” and “ishshah” in Hebrew are interpreted as “man” and “women”. In addition, the words “baal” and “adon” in Hebrew mean “lord” or “master” which have also been replaced with “husband” in English translations of the Hebrew Bible. For example, Stone cites Deuteronomy 24:1 in the NRSV which reads, ‘Suppose a man enters into marriage with a woman’, yet in Hebrew it is read, ‘If a man takes a woman he becomes her lord’.

Therefore, what we find is that when we read man and woman back into the text, the text reveals more clearly the negotiations that existed between men in the exchange of women. Stone states, within ancient Israelite society women were “given” and “taken” accordingly to prospective men to establish alliances and obligations between kinship groups and for the acquisition of dowries.

However, Jesus broke the barriers of misogyny when Jesus walked and talked with men and women in which he saw no division between his male and female disciples. Jesus, an advocate for social justice and change defied the religious bigotry of the Israelites and sought to undermine the hierarchal establishment by implementing tools for social change. Therefore, when Paul addresses the Galatians and acknowledges the equality of the Jew and Greek, slave and free, male and female, perhaps he was acknowledging the oneness of God in our shared humanity. That regardless of our perspectives, God is, and will always be equally within us. As we are created in God’s image, both male and female.

 

 

 

 

 

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4 thoughts on “Gender Equality”

  1. Jolie, Your statistics on the number of girls married as children are devastating. It is incomprehensible that at this time in history, women are still given and taken without their consent in these vast numbers. Christians who support Trump and who perpetuate gender inequality in other ways should look to Jesus, whom they claim to follow, and see the hypocrisy of their actions. Thank you for speaking on this issue.

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  2. Your article does a fine job of explicating Jesus’ work in the area of male/female equality. Considering Jesus as a man of his time and culture, his views are remarkable! He was either gifted with divine insight, or simply a person who knew a bad thing when he saw it – or both. It is interesting to note that female/male relationships have been problematic ever since the Garden.
    Thanks also for pointing out the ambiguity of the term ‘baal’ – In Jeremiah, God accuses Israel and Judah of following after other ‘baals’ – either gods, or “husbands.” At times the relationship between God and Judah/Israel is unclear: is God their Lord or their husband? I wonder how much this ambiguity has been perpetuated even now….so much of the bible shaped world culture.

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  3. Very enlightening post. Thank you for using Dr Stone’s research in this area to shine the light on the fact that while we try to cover it up misogyny has deep roots. Trump is nothing more than a modern day lord staking his claim over what he believes he is entitled to possess. It’s wrong on so many levels which you post speaks to elequently.

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