- Mar 8, 2006
- Reaction score
- Portland, Oregon
Have you actually read the statements of St. John Chrysostom that Pensateomnia posted? If so, can you say that your own interpretation of St. John's statements is correct? What if you find out that you had taken his words out of the context of the rest of his public teaching? It seems to me that you're reading your own biases and preconceived notions into St. John's statements rather than letting his own words speak for themselves within the Tradition of our Church. (btw, I think most Orthodox recognize St. John Chrysostom as a spiritual authority, but we don't recognize any of his own personal doctrines to have the weight of dogma.)ozgeorge said:Is it an absolute Truth that women are spiritually weaker than men and therefore require more grace than men do? Because it seems to me that this is what St. John Chrysostom is saying. Is this the "dogma" on which a male-only Priesthood is based, and therefore the dogma people are asking me to give the assent of my faith to?
Sorry. No can do.
You're right, but I don't think that St. John Chrysostom really said this in his public doctrine. I'll certainly have to read his statements again. Let me quote some snippets of Pensateomnia's post on this matter so you can (hopefully) see what I think St. John Chrysostom tried to say.ozgeorge said:You are free to believe as you wish. However I will never accept as Orthodox a doctrine which says that one half of the human race is less redeemed by Christ than the other simply because they have an XX chromosome rather than an XY chromosome. It's nonsense.
I guess you are free to believe what you will, but I would counsel you to be very careful in saying which parts of the Orthodox faith you will accept and which parts you won't. We are all called to be interpreters of the Faith by virtue of being the Church--this task doesn't just fall on the Fathers and the bishops alone--but this doesn't mean that we are free to reject what the Fathers and the Orthodox consensus recognize to be Orthodox. In this task, we should not so readily reject anything that such a Spirit-filled man as St. John Chrysostom had to say in his public ministry.pensateomnia said:Chrysostom has a fairly well developed theology of the ontological distinctness of men and women. On the one hand, he emphasizes that they have an absolute identical nature and that every person, regardless of gender, class or education, is one in Christ. Yet, as a proper Late Antique thinker, he is very keen on the idea of hierarchy and divinely appointed order.
The problem, however, is that St. John, like most ancient people, seems to occasionally identify outward characteristics with inward qualities. Thus, social or physical inferiority can also imply moral inferiority, e.g. the physically weak female also has a weak will and is therefore prone to sin. This seems to be the way St. John and many other Fathers interpret Eve's transgression and women's general response to hardship, battle, temptation, etc. (cf. the many times St. John praises certain women for their manliness, for overcoming their weakness, especially if they do so by means of the virginal life). Thus, women are weaker and need to be protected. By their very nature, they are not given to daring and leadership. Although St. John obviously bases his statements on Scripture, his statements are quite similar to the assumptions, arguments and explanations we find in pagan Greco-Roman sources.