Now that the Bible has laid the foundation for misogyny, how did the leaders of early Christianity build upon it?
Saint Clement of Alexandria / Christian theologian (c150-215)
[For women] the very consciousness of their own nature must evoke feelings of shame. Pedagogues II, 33, 2
… excludes…intercourse with a…pregnant, barren, or menopausal wife and for that matter, with one’s wife ‘in the morning,’ ‘in the daytime,’ or ‘after dinner.’ Clement warns, indeed, that ‘not even at night, although in darkness, is it fitting to carry on immodestly or indecently, but with modesty, so that whatever happens, happens in the light of reason…’ for even that union ‘which is legitimate is still dangerous, except in so far as it is engaged in procreation of children.
“Nor are women to be deprived of bodily exercise. But they are not to be encouraged to engage in wrestling or running, but are to exercise themselves in spinning, and weaving, and superintending the cooking if necessary. And they are, with their own hand, to fetch from the store what we require. And it is no disgrace for them to apply themselves to the mill. Nor is it a reproach to a wife–housekeeper and helpmeet–to occupy herself in cooking, so that it may be palatable to her husband. And if she shake up the couch, reach drink to her husband when thirsty, set food on the table as neatly as possible, and so give herself exercise tending to sound health, the Instructor will approve of a woman like this, who ‘stretches forth her arms to useful tasks, rests her hands on the distaff, opens her hand to the pool, and extends her wrist to the beggar.'” Paedagogus III
Tertullian / Father of Latin Christianity (c160-225)
In pain shall you bring forth children, woman, and you shall turn to your husband and he shall rule over you. And do you not know that you are Eve? God’s sentence hangs still over all your sex and His punishment weighs down upon you. You are the devil’s gateway; you are she who first violated the forbidden tree and broke the law of God. It was you who coaxed your way around him whom the devil had not the force to attack. With what ease you shattered that image of God: Man! Because of the death you merited, even the Son of God had to die… Woman, you are the gate to hell.
Woman is a temple built over a sewer, the gateway to the devil. Woman, you are the devil’s doorway. You led astray one whom the devil would not dare attack directly. It was your fault that the Son of God had to die; you should always go in mourning and rags.
Origen / 3rd century theologian (c184-235)
And do you not know that you are (each) an Eve? The sentence of God on this sex of yours lives in this age: the guilt must of necessity live too. You are the devil’s gateway: you are the unsealer of that (forbidden) tree: you are the first deserter of the divine law: you are she who persuaded him whom the devil was not valiant enough to attack. You destroyed so easily God’s image, man. On account of your desert–that is, death–even the Son of God had to die. On the Apparel of Women, chapter 1
For it is improper for a woman to speak in an assembly, no matter what she says, even if she says admirable things, or even saintly things, that is of little consequence, since they come from the mouth of a woman. Fragments on First Corinthians, 74
Saint Jerome / Latin Christian priest and theologian (c347-420)
As long as woman is for birth and children, she is as different from man as body is from soul. But when she wishes to serve Christ more than the world, then she will cease to be a woman and will be called Man. Commentary on the Epistle to the Ephesians, III, 5
If it is good for a man not to touch a woman, then it is bad for him to touch one, for bad, and bad only, is the opposite of good.
Regard everything as poison which bears within it the seed of sensual pleasure.
Woman is a tool of Satan and a pathway to Hell.
Saint Ambrose / Bishop of Milan (c340-397)
One who does not believe is a woman and should be designated by the name of that sex, whereas one who believes progresses to perfect manhood, to the measure of adulthood in Christ, with the name of the sex dispensing with the seductiveness of youth and the garrulousness of old age. The Exposition of the Gospel of St. Luke, lib.X,n.161
Saint John Chrysostom / Archbishop of Constantinople (c349-407)
[Women] in no case outstrip the men, but occupied the second rank. Epistle to the Ephesians, Homily 13
Amongst all the savage beasts none is found so harmful as woman.
The whole of her bodily beauty is nothing less than phlegm, blood, bile, rheum, and the fluid of digested food… If you consider what is stored up behind those lovely eyes, the angle of the nose, the mouth and cheeks you will agree that the well-proportioned body is merely a whitened sepulcher.
There are in the world a great many situations that weaken the conscientiousness of the soul. First and foremost of these is dealings with women. In his concern for the male sex, the superior may not forget the females, who need greater care precisely because of their ready inclination to sin. In this situation the evil enemy can find many ways to creep in secretly. For the eye of woman touches and disturbs our soul, and not only the eye of the unbridled woman, but that of the decent one as well. On Priesthood, VI ch.8
Saint Augustine / Bishop of Hippo Regius (354-430)
Woman was merely man’s helpmate, a function which pertains to her alone. She is not the image of God but as far as man is concerned, he is by himself the image of God.
Woman does not possess the image of God in herself but only when taken together with the male who is her head, so that the whole substance is one image. But when she is assigned the role as helpmate, a function that pertains to her alone, then she is not the image of God. But as far as the man is concerned, he is by himself alone the image of God just as fully and completely as when he and the woman are joined together into one.
I don’t see what sort of help woman was created to provide man with, if one excludes procreation. If woman is not given to man for help in bearing children, for what help could she be? To till the earth together? If help were needed for that, man would have been a better help for man. The same goes for comfort in solitude. How much more pleasure is it for life and conversation when two friends live together than when a man and a woman cohabitate? De genesi ad litteram, 9, 5-9
What is the difference whether it is in a wife or a mother, it is still Eve the temptress that we must beware of in any woman… I fail to see what use woman can be to man, if one excludes the function of bearing children
We must conclude, that a husband is meant to rule over his wife as the spirit rules over the flesh.
Therefore, if I were to ask any good Christian who has a wife, and even though he may still be having children by her, whether he would like to have his wife in that kingdom; mindful in any case of the promises of God, and of that life where this incorruptible shall put on incorruption, and this mortal shall put on immortality; though at present hesitating from the greatness, or at least from a certain degree of love, he would reply with execration that he is strongly averse to it. Were I to ask him again, whether he would like his wife to live with him there, after the resurrection, when she had undergone that angelic change which is promised to the saints, he would reply that he desired this as strongly as he reprobated the other. Thus a good Christian is found in one and the same woman to love the creature of God, whom he desires to be transformed and renewed; but to hate the corruptible and mortal conjugal connection and sexual intercourse: i.e. to love in her what is characteristic of a human being, to hate what belongs to her as a wife. On the Sermon on the Mount 1, 41
I consider that nothing so casts down the manly mind from its heights as the fondling of women, and those bodily contacts which belong to the married state. Soliloq.I 10
Saint Leander / Catholic Bishop of Seville (c534-601)
Nor has she any need to become a slave to her body which by natural law should be subservient to a man. Happy the virgin who takes her body from Eve but not her punishment. Regula Episcopi
Saint Odo / Abbot of Cluny (c878-942)
To embrace a woman is to embrace a sack of manure…
When you look upon a woman consider that you not face a human being but the Devil himself, the voice of a woman is the hiss of a snake.
Saint Bernard of Clairveaux / (1090-1153)
Woman is the organ of the devil.
Petrus Cantor / Roman Catholic theologian (1150-1197)
Consider that the most lovely woman has come into being from a foul-smelling drop of semen, then consider her midpoint, how she is a container of filth; and after that consider her end, when she will be food for worms.
Sicardus of Cremona / Prelate (1155-1215)
A double curse lies on the feminine growth. For she carries the curse of Adam and also the (punishment) ‘you will give birth in pain’. Or, perhaps, because, as the knowledge of physicians reveals, female children remain at conception twice as long unformed as male children. Mitrale V, chapter 11
Saint Albertus Magnus / Dominican friar and Catholic Bishop (c1200-1280)
Woman is a misbegotten man and has a faulty and defective nature in comparison to his. Therefore she is unsure in herself. What she cannot get, she seeks to obtain through lying and diabolical deceptions. And so, to put it briefly, one must be on one’s guard with every woman, as if she were a poisonous snake and the horned devil. … Thus in evil and perverse doings woman is cleverer, that is, slyer, than man. Her feelings drive woman toward every evil, just as reason impels man toward all good.
Woman is less qualified [than man] for moral behavior. For the woman contains more liquid than the man, and it is a property of liquid to take things up easily and to hold onto them poorly. Liquids are easily moved, hence women are inconstant and curious. When a woman has relations with a man, she would like, as much as possible, to be lying with another man at the same time. Woman knows nothing of fidelity. Believe me, if you give her your trust, you will be disappointed. Trust an experienced teacher. For this reason prudent men share their plans and actions least of all with their wives. Woman is a misbegotten man and has a faulty and defective nature in comparison with his. Therefore she is unsure in herself. What she herself cannot get, she seeks to obtain through lying and diabolical deceptions. And so, to put it briefly, one must be on one’s guard with every woman, as if she were a poisonous snake and the horned devil…. In evil and perverse doings woman is cleverer, that is, slyer, than man. Her feelings drive woman toward every evil, just as reason impels man toward all good. Quaestiones super de animalibus XV q.11
The north wind strengthens the power, and the south wind weakens it… The north wind leads to the generation of males, the south wind to the generation of females, because the north wind is pure and dries out the exhalations and stimulates the natural force. But the south wind is moist and heavy with rain. Quaestiones super de animalibus XVIII q.1
Thomas Aquinas / Doctor of the Church (1225-1274)
As regards the individual nature, woman is defective and misbegotten, for the active force in the male seed tends to the production of a perfect likeness in the masculine sex; while the production of woman comes from a defect in the active force or from some material indisposition, or even from some external influence.
By taking the vow of virginity or of consecrated widowhood and thus being betrothed to Christ, they are raised to the dignity of men, through which they are freed from subordination to men and are immediately united with Christ. In I Cor. Ch.11, lectio 2
Woman is defective and misbegotten, for the active force in the male seed tends to the production of a perfect likeness in the masculine sex; while the production of woman comes from defect in the active force or from some material indisposition, or even from some external influence, such as that of a south wind, which is moist. Summa Theologica I q. 92 a. 1
Good order would have been wanting in the human family if some were not governed by others wiser than themselves. So by such a kind of subjection woman is naturally subject to man, because in man the discretion of reason predominates. Summa Theologica I q.92 a.1 reply 2
Sobriety is most requisite in the young and in women, because concupiscence of pleasure thrives in the young on account of the heat of youth, while in women there is not sufficient strength of mind to resistconcupiscence. Summa Theologica II-II q.149 a.4
The reliability of a person’s evidence is weakened, sometimes indeed on account of some fault of his…; sometimes, without any fault on his part, and this owing either to a defect in the reason, as in the case of children, imbeciles and women, or to personal feeling… Summa Theologica II-II q.70 a.3
Friar Cherubino of Siena / (late 1400s)
When you see your wife commit an offense, don’t rush at her with insults and violent blows, scold her sharply, bully and terrify her. And if this still doesn’t work, take up a stick and beat her soundly, for it is better to punish the body and correct the soul than to damage the soul and spare the body, then readily beat her, not in rage but out of charity and concern for her soul, so that the beating will redound to your merit and her good.” Rules of Marriage
Heinrich Kramer / German Catholic clergyman (1430-1505)
Since [women] are feebler both in mind and body, it is not surprising that they should come under the spell of witchcraft… All witchcraft comes from carnal lust, which is in women insatiable… The natural reason is that she (woman) is more carnal than a man, as is clear from her many carnal abominations. And it should be noted that there was a defect in the formation of the first woman, since she was formed from a bent rib…. And since through this defect she is an imperfect animal, she always deceives… nearly all kingdoms of the world have been overthrown by women… It is no wonder that the world now suffers through the malice of women… Let us consider another property of hers, the voice. For as she is a liar by nature, in her speech she stings while she delights us.” Malleus Maleficarum, 1486
Saint Ignatius of Loyola / (1491-1556)
The enemy is like a woman, weak in face of opposition, but correspondingly strong when not opposed. In a quarrel with a man, it is natural for a woman to lose heart and run away when he faces up to her; on the other hand, if the man begins to be afraid and to give ground, her rage, vindictiveness, and fury overflow.”
Saint John Eudes / Missionary and priest (1601-1680)
It is a subject of humiliation of all the mothers of the children of Adam to know that while they are with child, they carry with them an infant… who is the enemy of God, the object of his hatred and malediction, and the shrine of the demon.
Martin Luther / Protestant Reformer (1483-1546)
If [women] become tired or even die, that does not matter. Let them die in childbirth–that is why they are there. Works 20.84
God created Adam master and lord of living creatures, but Eve spoilt all, when she persuaded him to set himself above God’s will. ‘Tis you women, with your tricks and artifices, that lead men into error.
The word and works of God is quite clear, that women were made either to be wives or prostitutes. Works 12.94
We may well lie with what seems to be a woman of flesh and blood, and yet all the time it is only a devil in the shape of a woman.
No gown worse becomes a woman than the desire to be wise.
Men have broad and large chests, and small narrow hips, and more understanding than women, who have but small and narrow breasts, and broad hips, to the end they should remain at home, sit still, keep house, and bear and bring up children. Table Talk
Only one woman in thousands has been endowed with the God-given aptitude to live in chastity and virginity. A woman is not fully the master of herself. God fashioned her body so that she should be with a man, to have and rear children.
Woman must never complete anything without man: Where he is, there she must be, and bend before him as before a master, whom she shall fear and to whom she shall be subject and obedient.
John Calvin / Protestant Reformer (1509-1564)
Thus the woman, who had perversely exceeded her proper bounds, is forced back to her own position. She had, indeed, previously been subject to her husband, but that was a liberal and gentle subjection; now, however, she is cast into servitude.
John Knox / Protestant Reformer (1513-1572)
Woman was made for only one reason, to serve and obey man.
John Dod / English clergyman (1549-1645)
Even as the church must fear Christ Jesus, so must the wives also fear their husbands. And this inward fear must be shewed by an outward meekness and lowliness in her speeches and carriage to her husband. . . . For if there be not fear and reverence in the inferior, there can be no sound nor constant honor yielded to the superior.
The second duty of the wife is constant obedience and subjection.
John Wesley / Founder of Methodist movement (1703-1791)
Do not any longer contend for mastery, for power, money, or praise. Be content to be a private, insignificant person, known and loved by God and me. . . . of what importance is your character to mankind, if you was buried just now Or if you had never lived, what loss would it be to the cause of God. Letter to his wife, July 15, 1774
Joseph Smith / Founder of Latter Day Saints (Mormon) movement (1805-1844)
The root of masculine is stronger, and of feminine weaker. The sun is a governing planet to certain planets, while the moon borrows her light from the sun, and is less or weaker.
Heber C. Kimball / Early Mormon apostle (1801-1868)
Women are made to be led, and counseled, and directed. . . . And if I am not a good man, I have no just right in this Church to a wife or wives, or the power to propagate my species. What then should be done with me? Make a eunuch of me, and stop my propagation.
Council of Congregationalist Ministers, Massachusetts
The appropriate duties and influence of woman are stated in the New Testament…. The power of woman is in her dependence, flowing from the consciousness of the weakness which God has given her for her protection…. When she assumes the place and tone of man as a public reformer… she yields the power which God has given her… and her character becomes unnatural. Pastoral Letter June 27 1837
Justin Fulton / Reverend
Who demand the ballot for woman? They are not the lovers of God, nor are they believers in Christ, as a class. There may be exceptions, but the majority prefer an infidel’s cheer to the favor of God and the love of the Christian community. It is because of this tendency that the majority of those who contend for the ballot for woman cut loose from the legislation of Heaven, from the enjoyments of home, and drift to infidelity and ruin,” Written in 1869, in opposition to women’s right to vote.