When I was doing my Exploring a Woman’s Freedom in Christ series, I did one post entitled The Complementarian Argument from Historical Precedence. In that post I listed a long series of quotes from the span of history. Each quote gave an historical perspective on the views of important men on women. It is an eye opening list, to say the least. To argue the complementarian position from the historical record is a poor choice, in my opinion. Yet it continues to be one of the most well-utilized arguments, primarily by those who have never explored the issue in any depth.
Quotes about Women from History
I came across another site with another list of historical quotes. The site God’s Word to Women includes quotes from Gene Edwards’ book The Christian Woman… Set Free – Women Set Free From Second-Class Citizenship in the Kingdom of God . I’ll share a few thoughts after the quotes…
Praise be to God that he has not created me a Gentile, a woman, or a hog.
The courage of a man is shown in his ability to command. The courage of a woman is found in obeying.
By all means get married. If you get a good wife, you will be happy. If you get a bad wife, you will become a philosopher.
Women are those who fell prey to their irrational, emotional side, and are therefore incapable of reason and making rational choices . . . moreover as irrational beings, women may not always know what they really want, and so it is the man’s domain to decide for them.
We have courtesans for our sex and pleasure. We have young slave prostitutes for our physical use and we have wives to bring up legitimate children.
Do not admire your wife’s beauty . . . from the time women are fourteen years old they think of nothing and aim at nothing except going to bed with men.
Even the most virtuous of women is a witch.
Oral Jewish Law
Woman is a temple built over a sewer. It is contrary to the order of nature and of the law for women to speak in a gathering.
Because of you we are punished by death . . . because of you, women, the Son of God had to die.
A man may marry again if he has divorced his sinful wife because he is not restricted in his right as is the woman, because he is her head.
By herself woman is not of the image of God. The man, on the other hand, alone, is the image of God.
For a man to go to a woman for advice is like going to the lowest kind of animal to seek advice.
Woman is defective and misbegotten.
The wickedness of women is greater than all other wickedness. A dragon is more curable than the familiarity of a woman. Avoid them like poisonous animals.
Pope Innocence III
There is no gown or garment that worse becomes a woman than when she would be wise.
All women are born that they may acknowledge themselves as inferior to the male.
To make women learned and to make a fox tame work out to the same end. Educating a woman or a fox simply makes them more cunning.
You would not let an eleven-year-old child stand up in a meeting and talk. Then why should you allow a woman to speak in a meeting?
A statement made in a Christian conference in the twenty-first century
What is profoundly sad is that a number of these are still being said today. Phrased a bit differently, perhaps, but the idea is the same.
There was a time when I thought that the issue of women in the church was important but not imperative. Over the past year and a half I’ve changed my mind. It is imperative. The more I read and study the related Scriptures, the more I realize that there is something dreadfully wrong in the church today in terms of how women are treated and spoken about.