Chris Geraghty continues his examination of church, men and misogyny. In Jesus The Forgotten Feminist he asked 'How did Jesus treat women?' and delved into scriptures and history showing how Jesus practised a radically inclusive approach to women that challenged the inequitable beliefs and practices of his own culture and community. Here in Virgins & Jezebels he writes about men and misogyny in the early Christian churches – not specifically about women and their contribution to the life of the primitive church, though, of course, the two cannot be separated. In truth, this book is about power, and who should exercise it.
It is about men’s clubs and the rules and regulations devised by members to exclude their womenfolk, about theological nonsense dreamed up and preached to keep women in their place, to undermine the fundamental and foundational values of Jesus’ Kingdom – to keep the keys of that Kingdom safely in clerical hands.
The place of women in the life of the early Church is a vast area of historical and theological study, but my principal focus is confined to the startling prevalence of misogynistic attitudes and practices in the various regions in which Jesus’ gospel was spread. The world has moved on from those earlier times – and for the better. Society now has female prime ministers, governors, judges, lawyers, surgeons, cricketers, soldiers, commentators, journalists and jockeys – but not archbishops or bishops or even common priests ... at least not in the Roman Catholic Church.