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The Bible, Feminism and the Dereliction of Metaphysics

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posted on Mar, 16 2012 @ 05:11 PM
This issue is either due to a profound ignorance of the archetypal nature of scriptural texts, or conversely, a humeanesque obsession with jettisoning any explanation that doesn't fit the modern fad of empiricism as the be all end all standard of truth.

First, let me say this: The Bible should NOT be understood literally. In some sections, there is an argument for literal interpretation, but in others, it defies all sensibility - not to mention a gross ignorance of how holy texts are generally interpreted (look to India for an example of how it works) - to insist on a literalist interpretation when that interpretation on the face misrepresents the archetypal-metaphysical basis for the concept ensconced in the allegorical theme.

Here's my beef: First, the claim that woman often make - particularly those of the Jewish ethnicity - of why they aren't allowed to partake in the gamut of Rabbinic laws; for instance, why can't women don phylacteries? (tefillin, in Hebrew), or why can't women become Rabbis? or sing in front of men? And there are many others like this. The typical response given by the Orthodox-Traditional establishment is (as if ignorant of the theological underpinnings of their own religion) "It's because women are superior to men that they are exempted from these duties" - this obviously does not suffice in convincing any intelligent woman who WANTS and DESIRES the same connection men enjoy (and they clearly enjoy it); thus, these practices, tefillin, the many more commandments applicable to men than women, all this is a 'punishment' for man. A punishment which nevertheless put's man in the position of decider.

Another, less satisfactory, though easier to tolerate (inasmuch as it doesn't make an effort to convince people logically) explanation is: Because God said so. In other words, Follow God and don't question His authority.

NEITHER of these pathetically puerile explanations touch on the real reasoning for why women are prohibited from wearing phylacteries or serving as a Rabbi or cantor - or, for that matter, singing in front of men, going out doors uncouth, etc.

The God of the Bible is a God of creation; He is a God which is fastidiously concerned with creation, unlike in Hinduism or other pre-Hebraic religions, where God is understood more in a pantheistic, or animistic way, and the morality prescribed is usually of an entirely utilitarian nature i.e. do not murder, steal, lie etc.

The God of the Bible, conversely, concerns himself with things which seemingly have no practical value; why cant a woman serve in a position of government (an issue redressed by Mill in his 'the subjection of women)? Or why can't a woman serve as a priest? If one analyses the dynamic of these and other similar laws, one will encounter a trend and tendency of the Bible to always place the man in a position of authority, or activity, and woman into a position of servitude, passivity and negation. In any schematic, the man is always the principle, the cause, and the animator, while the woman is the the perennial manifestation, effect and substance.

Thus, within creation itself, as opposed to outside it (a deus otiose, God seen from the Hindu, Christian or even Islamic perspective, the latter differing from the first two in that Allah is not found in his creation; creation is utterly obviated before the absoluteness of Allah, thus, unlike in the Hebraic conception, where man is made in Gods image i.e. God is found in creation, Allah is not; He is the Absolute void (or Ka'aba) in the midst of a barren desert i.e. creation) the God of creation has established an interplay between polarized energies; the masculine, and the feminine. This interplay is the archetypal background behind the world we experience with our finite senses: the skies - as the masculine, which 'encompasses' and feeds the world with its fructifying rain, exhibits the masculine principle as the active agent, while the physical world, the primordial substance worked upon, is the feminine and passive principle.

In every practical process in life, in nature, this dynamism inheres; in mans inner faculties, the masculine can be discerned as the power to reason - the rational function - whereas the emotions as the power to be worked upon - the vital principle.

With regard to my earlier question, why can't women wear phylacteries, the proper and correct explanation would be: woman more readily experience the type of connection artificially created by the phylacteries (which means 'amulet', the phylacteries press up against a certain part of the head which according to an acupuncture magazine article, facilitates ecstatic states of mind), this is so because woman, as "helpers" (as Eve) already possess the spiritual prowess (or energy, intuition, the ability to know without the aid of reason) to achieve that connection. Therefore, man, who is more abstract oriented in his constitution, requires phylacteries, while women do not need it. If a woman feels she has difficulty making that connection, then perhaps an argument could be made for her to make use of phylacteries for the same purposes man uses it. But if a woman seeks to use phylacteries for not other reason than a truculence and odium against a practice she perceives to be discriminatory, such a woman should first endeavor to understand the REAL reason for this practice. After that, after her obviously erratic mental function has been calmed, can she perhaps evoke the state produced by the phylacteries without which men would have trouble experiencing.

The God of the creation desires that man imitate the same archetypal dynamic in his human affairs; in the governing of society in all its multitudinous aspects.

Now, I think a demarcation should be made between the purely spiritual and the secular in regards to what befits man and woman. As a leader of a spiritual community, the Rabbi is to be a man; a man because just as God, the creator, is deemed to be the proper actor, and man, the receiver, so to should a symbolic ceremony be led by the same principle - a man. This principle deserves to be emphasized more in sacred affairs than in the mundane. For instance, I believe a woman could be just as competent a CEO as a man could be, if she possesses the requisite skills, or as a politician. The reason why in general Men grossly outnumber woman in all these spheres of influence in obvious: men have more time to devote to these affairs, whereas women as a whole divide their time between matriarchal duties (tending to family, children) and an occupation. For woman to truly be as able as man, they would in short, have to BECOME man; they would have to completely dispense with being a mother to her children, and embrace Aldous Huxleys dystopian vision of a social order without gender roles. A world order being pursued with a vengeance by feminists and communists alike.

So, in summation, the Bible exhorts us to understand the purpose and higher wisdom of the interplay between masculine and feminine energies; to be a woman does not equal to be subjugated; it does not mean men should treat women as Islamic law sometimes prescribes. To be a woman, in its truest sense, is to tend to that aspect of creation which man cannot properly do on his own.
edit on 16-3-2012 by dontreally because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 16 2012 @ 05:19 PM
Interesting and well thought out post. And very much the reasoning, to an extent, that those women of the Anglo-Catholic Church employed when petitioning to be allowed to be ordained into the priesthood. It worked in their favour, and though initially many refused to receive communion from those women, now, a couple of decades along road, few even bat an eye-lid. It is afterall, any form of ministry, a very nurturing and caring role, and therefore quite natural for a woman to be drawn to such a vocation.

posted on Mar, 16 2012 @ 06:08 PM
reply to post by Biliverdin

I'm not advocating women for Rabbinic positions - on the contrary, I'm saying they should respect the divine dynamic and seek other other positions of influence (as a spiritual councilor, for example)

I guess it depends on the religion; In Christianity, which already contains sine qua non a visceral dimension, it doesn't make much sense for all priests to be men; in fact, many new testament verses can be adduced to confute that Hebraic principle:

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple." Luke 14:26

6 While He was still talking to the multitudes, behold, His mother and brothers stood outside, seeking to speak with Him. 47 Then one said to Him, “Look, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, seeking to speak with You.”

48 But He answered and said to the one who told Him, “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?” 49 And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! 50 For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.” Matthew 12:46-50

"Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; - Matthew 10:37

For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. Matthew 10:35

All these verses highlight the essential undiscriminating attitude of Jesus towards the sexes (which should be interpreted as a metaphysical position)

For, Judaism, man, who serves as the physical manifestation of the masculine principle in the human community, should assume the symbolic role as Rabbi before the congregation. As reason and order are the summum bonum of creation, Judaism commands strict obedience to the spiritual dynamics God established. The spiritual dynamics are the archetypes which man in deference and humility for God is eventually to recognize, if he desires to live in harmony with the principles as they exist and function withinin creation.

posted on Mar, 16 2012 @ 06:26 PM
I realised that you weren't saying women should be Rabbis, and you were pretty clear in that, which is why I said 'to an extent'. I don't attend synagogue so it is not my place to comment of who should or should not officiate, so I merely politely disagreed with your conclusions within a wider a context.

posted on Mar, 16 2012 @ 06:54 PM
reply to post by Biliverdin

I appreciate your desire to be polite, but my argument is in favor of the patriarchal-aristocratic method (so unpopular today, mostly due to its being misrepresented), and my only dispute was against the rabid misunderstanding of why the Bible seems to put woman at a disadvantage.

There's a deeper meaning and significance to it.

Just as there is a deeper meaning and significance to the Christian worlds affinity with secularism and egalitarianism. It's built into the very fabric of the New Testament. No special relationships exist i.e. between a man and God or a woman with God, and for that matter, between any person with any other person based on gender considerations, but only a perfect equality; As Jesus (or the anthropos, to speak metaphysically) said: "For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law" - this is democracy in embryo. Hence, "Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me" could be understood as, anyone who gives priority to one or another principle (feminine or masculine) above that of the tripartite Self (since it is 'christ' speaking, it already implies the absolute at a finite level, and hence, in it's 3 fold form) is unworthy (or unable) of receiving the awareness Christ consciousness bestows.

I'm not Jewish and you don't need to be Jewish to understand what Judaism is. But it would be nice for the REAL and tangible reason, the metaphysical-theological premise, to be understood, and not treated as non-existent as it is by almost everyone who has something to say about the discriminatory and immoral/sexist value judgements of the Torah.

posted on Mar, 16 2012 @ 10:48 PM
Duality as espoused by the new age crowd doesn't make sense i.e. there is no good nor evil. However, if we look at duality in the sense of this OP, not as opposition, but, rather, as a balance, then to me, it makes sense.

We have our natural roles...but that doesn't mean, in my thinking, one is above the other.

The weak, whether man or woman, often seem to chase and obsess over the the stronger and eschew the perceived "weaker." I've, in the past, prostituted that principle myself...and have been prostituted by it as well.

However, when there is a true balance between the feminine and masculine....YOWZA...what a sweet and pure thing it is. Respect, in that scenario, flows both ways.

One side note for those in tune with Christianity and/or Islam is the thinking that our virtuous females are so attractive as to warrant the attention of fallen--or potential fallen--angels. I don't blame them Angels: A virtuous woman is a mighty strength and an incomparable beauty to behold. So in that philosophy...maybe they should lay a little low so-to-speak.

I believe that for those who have developed healthy psyches its a balance--a beautiful balance--that supports the natural order and is a mighty, rock-solid, union. Anything thing else is not balance/partnership but misused power by either the male or the female force.

May the force be with us...but always balanced.

posted on Mar, 17 2012 @ 02:49 PM
reply to post by dontreally

The Torah was written by a patriarchal society, so it is naturally patriarchial in it's perception of god. Personally, when I do consider god, which to be quite honest I don't often feel the need to, I don't feel a need to ascribe a gender to that concept. For me, neither male or female would suffice. And that is not to say that I see it as equally comprised of both. I do feel more comfortable with trinitarianism...and yet, I admit that Christian trinitarianism still falls short due to it's need to break things down in to humanistic parallels and it is still, essentially, male and patriarchal. The Holy Spirit is genderless, the feminine aspect totally unacknowledged. So Christianity still fails to recognise the nature of existence, both in the wider sense, metaphysically, and within the context of life on Earth. Both Judaism and Christian philosophy remain inadequate conduits, in my opinion. However, and I should imagine that this is true for those who follow Judaism, that does not detract from the power of the teaching. I have no issue with Jesus and his teaching, and through those teachings I can have faith. That the wider philosophy remains somewhat at a tangent with what I know does not mean that I have to throw the baby out with the bath water. And just as Jesus can teach me, I have little doubt that had women been permitted into the mysteries, and their voices not suppressed, that I could equally (if not better) have been taught by them. But they were, are, and have been excluded, silenced and villified. So I cannot. But Jesus has, more so than any of the Jewish prophets and teachers a sympathy for womanhood, that also exists to a certain extent, in remnants, within the general teachings of Christianity.

In short, while I don't think that the patriarchial approach is wrong, I don't think that it addresses adequately the needs, spiritual and otherwise of the entire population and therefore fails to allow many of it's followers to fully realise their own divinity.


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