August 1, 2016

Concerning Women’s Ordination: The Argument From Symbolism (Part 2: Transcendence, Immanence and Sexual Typology)

Filed under: Theology,Women's Ordination — William Witt @ 2:13 am
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sun and moonThis is the second in a two-part series on Catholic objections to women’s ordination based on symbolism. In the first essay, I dealt with objections based on the doctrines of God and creation, the Old Testament priesthood, the incarnation, and the significance of a male apostolate. In this essay, I will discuss objections based on a theory of anthropological symbolism, specifically that men and women have unique symbolic roles based on inherent differences between the sexes: men represent externality, action, rationality, objectivity, and transcendence; women represent internality, receptivity, emotion, subjectivity and immanence.

The most prominent voice in this discussion is that of German theologian Manfred Hauke, whose book, Women in the Priesthood? was one of the first contributions to the discussion, and is certainly one of the lengthiest. The central argument of Hauke’s book is one of anthropological symbolism. As noted in the previous essay, Hauke insists that masculine and feminine symbolism transcends culture. He appeals to examples from ancient religion, modern biology, sociology and psychology. The book abounds with statements such as the following:

The dynamics of the male are expansive, outer directed and aimed at overcoming particular sorts of resistance. The dynamics of the female are more adaptive in nature, that is, more strongly adjusted to the demands of the existing situation. . . . The fact that women are guided more strongly by intuition and feeling also means that they are more open to concrete experience, whereas men always behave more critically. . . . Women are always dependent, in one way or the other, on the leadership of men, but men, without the intuition and assistance of women, are only half human. . . . The superiorities of men, to express things pointedly, lead to a position of authority, but the superiorities of women, to a position of subordination.1

According to Hauke, because masculinity is bound up with externality and transcendence, men are symbols of God. In contrast, the “accent of feminine symbolism falls . . . not on the representation of God, but on the depiction of creation . . . women are simultaneously representative of mankind . . .” Hauke states succinctly: “The basic axis of the symbolism of the sexes can thus be equated with the relationships man = God, woman = creation” (Hauke’s emphasis) – although he insists that this does not imply a lesser evaluation of women.2

As discussed in the previous essay, Hauke insists that the “symbolism of the sexes” is “reflected in Christ’s entire redemptive work, namely his masculine human nature.” Jesus’ teaching and miracles are “expressions of Jesus’ power, which corresponds to his masculine expansivity.”3 Hauke recognizes that the gospels describe Jesus in terms of graciousness and mercy, but “Jesus’ benevolence can be understood only through his omnipotence.”4 Jesus’ masculinity is also of central significance on the cross, where Jesus represents God with respect to humanity, but also the submission of humanity with respect to God. Hauke here appeals to a dynamic between transcendence and immanence he had discussed elsewhere. Transcendence includes immanence, but immanence cannot include transcendence.5

If Jesus represents both God and the masculine principle, the virgin Mary represents the feminine qualities of receptiveness and obedience. Mary is thus “the representative of creation as creation.” She also “represents mankind.”6 (Hauke’s emphasis). Most important, Mary is the representative of the church: “The Church appears, in the image of Mary, as having feminine traits . . .”7

Building on the above reflections about masculine and feminine symbolism, Hauke concludes the following:

The priest represents the Church, but “represents the Church insofar as he first represents Christ as the head of the Church.” (Significantly, a couple of paragraphs later, Hauke states that the priest “effectively represent[s] God,” and, in so doing, “also participates in Christ’s ‘headship.’”)8

In contrast to the masculine role of the priest, Hauke writes, every Christian “stands as a receiver before God and thus fulfills the bridal role.” Although all Christians can represent the bride, it is appropriate to restrict ordination only to men because only men can realize “an ontological approximation of Christ” in the indelible character of ordination. Because Jesus Christ’s “masculine identity” is soteriologically necessary, only a male can represent Christ in church office.9

Hauke’s book has continued to be influential, not only among some Roman Catholics, but also among some Anglicans opposed to women’s ordination.10 Whether there is direct influence or not, there are also Orthodox arguments against women’s ordination that appeal to similar symbolic logic. In what follows, I will first assess some of these arguments used by theologians of different “Catholic” traditions which presume some version of the anthropological case against women’s ordination. I will conclude with a more thorough evaluation of Hauke’s own approach. Before doing so, I think it important to point out an initial problem with Hauke’s approach.

Although Hauke (and others who take a similar approach) are examples of “Catholic” opposition to women’s ordination, the approach is inherently problematic in that it is one that the Roman Catholic magisterium has explicitly repudiated. Sara Butler, in what is perhaps the best summary of what I have called the “new Catholic argument” against women’s ordination – based on the assumption that the priest acts as a representative of the male Christ – acknowledges that “until quite recently Catholic theologians generally did explain the Church’s practice, at least in part, by appealing to the difference and the ‘hierarchical’ ordering of the sexes. They appealed as well to the Pauline texts that prohibited women’s public teaching in the Church and their exercise of authority over men (1 Corinthians 14:34; 1 Timothy 2:12).”11 However, Butler is clear that this is no longer the case. She writes:

Undoubtedly, how one construes the difference between the sexes, and how much importance one accords to this difference, enters into speculation as to why the Lord chose men and not women. But it is imperative to grasp that this is not at the root of the magisterium’s judgment. The complementarity of the sexes does not appear among the “fundamental reasons” given for the Church’s tradition (my emphasis).12

Butler’s heading for the beginning of this section reads: “The Magisterium’s Judgment is Not Based on a Theory of Christian Anthropology.”13 But such a “theory of Christian anthropology” is almost the entire basis for Hauke’s argument. Moreover, fundamental to Hauke’s argument is an exegesis of 1 Cor. 14:33-38 in which he argues that Paul’s prohibition against women’s speaking is the single most important biblical passage to consider in terms of the discussion of women’s ordination. Hauke writes: “[T]his ban on speaking . . . together with 1 Timothy 2:11-12, constitutes the most penetrating biblical evidence that can be brought against the ordination of women.”14 And later: “If my interpretation of 1 Corinthians 14 is correct, then it is not difficult to formulate the result: by force of divine law, only a baptized male can validly receive consecration to the priesthood.”15

Finally, Hauke also interprets Ephesians 5 to teach a hierarchical understanding of marriage, which he believes is crucial to his argument from symbolism:

Those who reject the “hierarchical structure of marriage” must, if they are consistent, trim back the symbolism of the Christ-Church relationship . . . For marriage as the most anthropologically central relation, also possesses the strongest powers of symbolic expressiveness for the religious sphere. If there were to be full equality between husband and wife, the relation of Christ to the Church would also be affected analogically . . .16

Hauke was happy to report at the time he wrote: “To my knowledge, such an attempt [i.e., to espouse full equality between husband and wife] has not yet been made.”17 Of course, within a few short years, such an attempt was indeed made – by Pope John Paul II, who, in his encyclical Mulieris Dignitatem, interpreted Ephesians 5 as teaching a complete equal dignity of man and woman in marriage, and a “mutal submission,” not only of the wife to the husband, but of the husband to the wife.18 It is important to recognize, then, that those “Catholic” opponents of women’s ordination who appeal to the kind of anthropological arguments Hauke uses are going against the grain of current Roman Catholic teaching in that the magisterium itself has found these arguments unsatisfactory. In addition, the Vatican no longer endorses the exegetical interpretations of the three controversial Pauline passages that are crucial to Hauke’s argument. The Vatican does not base its position concerning the ordination of women on the assumption that women cannot exercise authority over men or teach in an authoritative manner in the church.

Turning now to the specific arguments:

Arguments for Male Symbolic Priority

The proponents of arguments for masculinity as symbolically normative for the representation of humanity appeal to the same passages of Scripture that are central to Protestant complementarian arguments against women’s ordination. However, in contrast to the Protestant approach, they do not focus on the passages so much as teaching a hierarchy of command-and-obedience, but rather, as indicating normative masculine symbolism.

Orthodox theologian Thomas Hopko discusses the creation stories of Genesis, pointing out that Man (anthropos) is created first, and then woman is created from Man’s substance: “Man and woman belong together; they cannot be separated.” They are Man (anthropos) together, and so humankind is a “communal being.” Human beings are created in God’s image to know and love and to participate in the eternal knowledge and love of shared between God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit. God has made this possible in Jesus Christ, who is the New Adam, and the Church, which is the new Eve, personified in Mary, the mother of Christ.19

At the same time, Hopko asserts that “a certain priority is given to Adam who has the name of Man (anthropos) even when he is yet alone.” Hopko insists that “Adam the man is head of Eve the woman,” and appeals to 1 Cor. 11:3. He also appeals to Romans 5 where Paul describes Jesus as the “new and last Adam.” Drawing on the marriage symbolism of Ephesians, Hopko states that “Jesus is Adam, the Church is Eve. Jesus is the Husband, the Church is his wife. Jesus is the bridegroom, the Church is his friend and bride. Jesus is the head, the Church is his body.”20 Hopko concludes from this symbolism to an argument against women’s ordination: “As Jesus, the personal image of God the Father, is the head and husband of the Church, which is his body and bride, so the Christian man is the head and husband of his wife, and the presbyter/bishop the head and husband of his church. . . . The fatherhood, headship and husbandhood which belongs to believing men in Christ and the Church cannot be exercised by women, and cannot by exercised without them.” He concludes: “If what I have written here is right and true, women cannot be bishops and priests in the Orthodox view because it is not their divine calling and competence as women.”21

In a similar manner, the Anglican Forward in Faith Document Consecrated Women? appeals to Romans 5 and 1 Corinthians 11:3,12; 15:21-23 to establish the symbolic priority of masculinity:

[A]s the Scriptures consistently portray Adam as both the created origin of the human race, male and female, and its representative, so Jesus, the new Adam, is simultaneously both head and representative of the new humanity redeemed in him. While the Old Testament texts nowhere use such terms as “headship”, they clearly establish a pattern in which the male can represent the whole human race in a manner in which the female cannot.22 (my emphasis).

I will not deal at length here with the exegetical claims because I have already discussed these passages in some depth, and I refer readers to those earlier essays. Concerning the figure of Adam in the creation passages of Genesis 1 and 2 as well as the parallel between Adam and Christ in Romans 5, what is significant about both Adam and Christ in both sets of passages is that they are human (anthropos), not that they are male. It is interesting to contrast the very different conclusions drawn by Orthodox theologian Elisabeth Behr-Sigel from a reading of the same passage:

In Romans, St. Paul says, “. . . the grace of God and the free gift in the grace of that one man [anthropos] Jesus Christ abounded for many [Rm 5:15]. In line with the contemporary Jewish interpretation, the whole of Romans 5 uses Adam as a name standing for the whole of humankind and not as a proper name applied to a masculine individual. Adam is the figure of “the one who was to come,” Jesus who is designated as the “New Adam” and brings together in his person the new humanity, the new community of which he is both the firstfruits and the head. And that Community is the Church where “there is neither male nor female,” where all baptized people, all men and women who through baptism “have put on Christ,” and “are all one in Christ Jesus” [Gal. 3:28].23

Both Hopko and Behr-Siegel agree that Adam is representative of “the whole of humankind” (Behr-Siegel); both affirm Paul’s typological parallel between Adam and Christ, recognizing Christ as the “new Adam” and the head of the church. However, Hopko points to the contrast between the male Christ and the female Church, and argues that Adam is representative of all humanity because he is male; Behr-Siegel points to the unity of the church, “in which there is neither male nor female,” and argues that Adam is representative, not because he is male, but because he is human. Ironically, both make their case by appealing to Paul’s use of the word anthropos to designate Adam.

In my previous essay “Concerning Women’s Ordination: Beginning with Genesis,”24 I argued that, in Hebrew, ha’adam (Adam) simply means “human being,” and that sexuality does not appear in Genesis 2:23, until the creation of the woman (‘issa = female human being) when ha’adam is first identified as “man” (‘is = male human being). Hopko is misleading here in using the ambiguous English word “Man” to claim that “man” was created before “woman,” since the English word translated “Man” (ha’adam) in Gen. 2:7 and following is not the word translated “man” (‘is) in 2:23. In Genesis, there is a certain sense in which man (male human being) and woman (female human being) are created simultaneously, since, again, ha’ adam (the human being) is not identified as male until the woman appears on the scene. (This is not to say that Adam is a hermaphrodite, but rather that it is only with the introduction of the woman that the text recognizes sexual differentiation.) Similarly, I argued, nothing in the Adam/Christ typology in Romans 5 suggests that either Adam or Christ are representative because of their sex. That Paul uses anthropos (human being) rather than aner (male human being) to refer both to Adam and to Christ indicates that what is significant about both is their humanity, not their sexuality. Paul writes that “sin came into the world through one human being (δι’ ‘ενός ’ανθρώπου), and death through sin,” and “the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one human being (του ‘ενός ’ανθρώπου) Jesus Christ abounded for many.” (Rom. 5:12,15b). Certainly, if Paul had intended to say that it was the masculinity of Adam and Jesus Christ that was soteriologically (or symbolically) significant, he would have referred to both using the word aner (male human being) rather than anthropos (human being). Of course, it makes sense that in making a typological comparison pointing to Jesus Christ, Paul would have used the male figure of Adam to pre-figure Jesus, since Jesus is himself a male. Certainly it also made sense for Paul to draw a parallel between Adam (whose name “Adam” means “human being”) as the first human being through whom sin originated, and Jesus Christ as the new creation of God (the second Adam or human being) through whom sin is destroyed.

As I also pointed out, however, the argument for the normative masculinity of Adam and Christ rather misses the point of how Paul uses typology. Paul was quite capable of using female typological symbolism. In Galatians 4, Paul uses the female figures of Hagar and Sarah as types representing the two covenants of Sinai, the old covenant (“present Jerusalem”) and the new covenant (“Jerusalem above”). Nothing in Paul’s typology suggests that either Hagar or Sarah are “representative” because of their sex. Moreover, that Paul uses female figures as typologically representative undercuts the claim that there is in Scripture a pattern in which male figures are representative of humanity, and female figures are not.

Similarly, in my essays “Concerning Women’s Ordination: Mutual Submission,” and “Concerning Women’s Ordination: Women in Worship and “Headship,”25 I dealt at length with the question of the meaning of Paul’s metaphor of “headship” in 1 Corinthians and Ephesians. Scholars point out that Paul’s use of “head” as a metaphor is unique, and its meaning can be discerned only from the immediate context. A careful reading of Paul’s argument in both 1 Corinthians and Ephesians indicates that he did not understand “head” to mean either hierarchy or authority (as in Protestant complementarianism), but neither is there any indication from the context that it means “symbolic representation” (as in the Catholic symbolic argument). In both Ephesians and 1 Corinthians, Paul corrects conflicts between the sexes in light of what I have called “Christological subversion.” Paul’s emphasis is mutuality and cruciformity, and neither male hierarchy nor masculine symbolism.

As with the argument from Jesus’ having chosen male apostles, the arguments for normative masculine symbolic representation are circular and anachronistic. They presume from the beginning an understanding concerning the priest acting as a visual representation of Jesus Christ that did not appear until Pope Paul VI’s Inter Insigniores. As I argued in my previous essay, “Concerning Women’s Ordination: Women’s Ordination and the Priesthood of Christ (in persona Christi),”26 the argument that the priest represents Christ in presiding at the Eucharist (acts in persona Christi) was first articulated by Thomas Aquinas. But Thomas did not claim that the priest needed to have a physical resemblance to Christ, nor did he use that argument as a reason for a male priesthood. (The physical resemblance argument did not appear until the twentieth century.) If we already know ahead of time that the priest must be male because he acts in persona Christi and that representation demands a masculine physical resemblance, then we may find ourselves reading the passages from Genesis, Romans, 1 Corinthians, and Ephesians in that light to suggest a normative male representative function in those passages, but apart from that prior assumption, there simply is no reason to do so. To read the passages in that sense is to engage in eisegesis rather than exegesis – to impose a reading on the text rather than to draw out the inherent meaning of the passage.

It is this understanding of Christological representation that is at the core of the symbolic argument against women’s ordination. So Hopko writes in a manner that sounds oddly Western (and indeed Roman Catholic) coming from the pen of an Orthodox theologian: “[T]he presbyter/bishop performs the good work of oversight and eldership . . . He presides at worship, holding the place of the Lord, repeating his words and imitating his actions. He presents the gifts at the eucharistic offering in the place of Jesus (my emphasis), the one great high priest of God’s priestly people . . .”27 It is this representative function that Hopko argues demands a parallel between the presbyter/bishop and the role of Christ. As Jesus Christ is the (male) head and husband of the Church, so the presbyter/bishop functions as the (male) husband and head of the local church: “[T]he headship which sacramentally actualizes the headship of Jesus himself may be exercised only by certain men.”28

Apart from the assumption that the priest must physically resemble Christ in order to preside at the Eucharist, however, there is nothing in Hopko’s argument that would require that a presbyter should be male. The roles of “oversight and eldership” of which he first speaks in discussing the office of presbyter/bishop could certainly be exercised by a woman. (The words translated “bishop” [ἐπίσκοπος, episkopos] and “elder/presbyter” [πρεσβύτερος, presbyteros] are simply the Greek words for “overseer” and “old person” with masculine endings; grammatical gender does not determine sex, and there have certainly been women “overseers” and older women of wisdom and experience who could fill these roles.) However, as Orthodox Bishop Kallistos Ware points out, the argument that the priest celebrates the Eucharist as a representative of Christ has never been the Orthodox position – in Orthodox theology, the priest acts primarily as a representative of the Church (in persona ecclesiae) and only secondarily of Christ – and those Orthodox who embrace the in persona Christi argument are adopting a Western Roman Catholic position.29

Male and Female Symbolism

What then about the bifurcated sexual symbolism that is key to Hauke’s argument and dominates his book? I would argue that Hauke’s use of sexual symbolism represents an unbaptized “natural theology” of sexuality, and ignores the principle of “christological subversion.” By “natural theology,” I mean an a priori argument that is derived apart from and prior to a reading of Scripture and in the light of which Scripture is then interpreted. (This would contrast to the methodology of “faith seeking understanding” that characterizes the use of reason and philosophy in theologians such as Augustine, Anselm, or Thomas Aquinas.) This “natural theology” has its roots in pagan understandings of fertility and sexuality rather than in a careful reading of the biblical texts. Note that chapters six to eight of Hauke’s book precede his discussion of Scripture, and he establishes his key arguments concerning masculine and female symbolism by appeals to Plato, Aristotle, non-Christian religions (such as Hinduism, the Chinese I Ching), secular sociology, and Jungian psychology, before any discussion of the Bible, and only then interprets the biblical texts in light of these symbolic gender distinctions between men and women.30

Hauke tends to read the Old and New Testaments in light of a transcendence/immanence schema first drawn from pagan religion and secular psychology and sociology rather than asking the question of how the Old and New Testaments might challenge traditional (and particularly pagan) understandings of the relationship between the sexes. For example, Hauke makes much of pagan distinctions between “sky father gods” and “earth mother godesses,” and of imagery of the “sun” (as masculine) and the “moon” (as feminine), of “sky” (as masculine) and “water,” “trees,” and “earth” (as feminine). Note, however, that there is no parallel in Hebrew or Christian religion to pagan notions of sky gods or earth mothers because, in the Bible’s creation narrative, the one God creates both heaven and earth: in the Bible, heaven and earth are creatures, not divinities, and the one God as Creator transcends both. As noted in my essay previous to this, Tikva Frymer-Kensky has pointed out that the God of the Bible is portrayed using male imagery, but Yahweh is not sexually male. Frymer-Kensky also points out that, in Israel, human beings are given many of the functions of pagan goddesses.31 In contrast to pagan religions, the Old Testament cult is rooted in historical events such as the Exodus, not nature fertility rites.

Frymer-Kensky also points to a significant difference between the way that pagan religions portray the relationship between the sexes and the way that the Bible does. In pagan religions, stories about gods and goddesses provide role models for human men and women; they not only provide “sacred examples,” but also “divine warrant” for society’s gender structures. In contrast, “[i]n the Bible, ideas about women and gender are conveyed in stories about human women.”32 Frymer-Kensky recognizes that the Hebrew Bible reflects throughout the gender-based hierarchical structures of ancient agrarian societies in general.33 Women are subordinate to men, and they have limited property rights. Society is divided along gender lines. Public activities such as government, temple and law, are male activities. Because of their biological role in bearing and caring for children, women’s social activities are largely confined to the household and family, and the Bible largely portrays women as having family-oriented goals – they are mothers and wives, sisters and daughters. Despite the differing social roles of men and women (rooted in the biology of childbirth and nurture in a pre-industrial society), however, the Bible portrays men and women in remarkably similar ways: “[B]eyond the realities of Israel’s social structure, the Bible presents a remarkably unified vision of humankind, for the stories show women as having the same inherent characteristics [as] men.” There is one major difference between men and women in that some men exercise power and women (as well as other men) do not – but throughout the Bible, women are portrayed in a manner similar to those men (such as younger sons) who also have no power. Frymer-Kensky’s discussion contains numerous examples of the behavior of women in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament). She concludes:

When we survey the biblical record of the goals and strategies of women, a startling fact emerges. There is nothing distinctively “female” about the way that women are portrayed in the Bible, nothing particularly feminine about either their goals or their strategies. The goals of women are the same goals held by the biblical male characters and the authors of the stories. . . . The Bible presents no characteristics of human behavior as “female” or “male,” no division of attributes between the poles of “feminine” and “masculine,” no hint of distinctions of such polarities as male aggressivity-female receptivity, male innovation-female conservation, male out-thrusting-female containment, male subjecthood-female objecthood, male rationality-female emotionality, male product-female process, male achievement-female bonding, or any of the other polarities by which we are accustomed to think of gender distinctions. As far as the Bible presents humanity, gender is a matter of biology and social roles, it is not a question of basic nature or identity.34

In other words, the gender distinctions that are central to what we have called the “argument from symbolism” are simply not present in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament). The most significant assumption concerning male-female symbolism in the Bible is that women are like men.

When and where then did notions of sexually bifurcated male-female symbolism enter Jewish (and later Christian) thought? In a chapter entitled “Gifts of the Greeks,” Frymer-Kensky points to a significant change in Jewish thought that took place after the conquest of Alexander the Great in 333 B.C.E. In contrast to the model found in the Hebrew Bible, the Greek social system was “very gender-segregated”: “Greek philosophy portrayed females as inherently and essentially different from men, and fundamentally less valued. The male-female distinction was one of the great polarities of the Greek dualistic system.” Males represented civilized humanity, while women were “untamed” and “animal-like.” and needed to be controlled by men.35 Greek mythology portrays relationships between men and women as a “battle of the sexes.” Misogny and anti-woman themes are prevalent in Greek literature. Both Plato and Aristotle understand women to be inferior and defective. The Greeks also glorified pederastic homophilia while reinforcing the separation of the sexes, the limitation of public life to men, and the confinement of women to the domestic sphere.36

Jewish writings written during the Hellenistic period began to reflect Greek influence. For example, the deutero-canonical Wisdom of Ben Sira (Sirach) states: “Better is the wickedness of a man than a woman who does good; and it is a woman who brings shame and disgrace.” (Sirach 42:4, RSV). Sirach blames the fall into sin on Eve rather than Adam: “From a woman sin had its beginning, and because of her we all die.” (Sirach 25:24). Sirach warns men of the dangers of beautiful women, and advises men against their attractions (Sirach 9:8-9). Later Jewish writings such as the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs and the Mishnah forbid men and women to be alone together. In the Talmud, the mere sight of a woman is enough to tempt even the greatest of men. In the Hellenistic period, Jewish women began to be separated and excluded from men, and completely excluded from public life. Women were separated from men in public worship, and discouraged from participation in community prayer. The Hellenistic Jewish philosopher Philo used “male” and “female” as philosophical opposites and developed a “symbolic misogyny” of the sexes. Frymer-Kensky writes: “The rabbinic system represents a dramatic change from the Bible in the conceptualization of women and sex. In place of the Bible’s portrayal of women and men as fundamentally similar, the rabbis express a gender-polarized view of humanity.”37

Frymer-Kensky suggests that the Church fathers, as heirs to both the Bible and Hellenism, also embraced this “gender-polarized and negative view of women.”38 Similarly, New Testament scholar Ben Witherington argues for a retreat from the more egalitarian understanding of the relationship between men and women in the New Testament to a hierarchical view rooted largely in a distrust of female sexuality. What Witherington calls a “deficient view of human sexuality” led to a heightened emphasis on asceticism accompanied by an exalting of celibacy and virginity. Christian marriage came to be seen as a “second best” in comparison to celibacy, and, insofar as women were defined by their sexuality, they fell under suspicion as being temptresses and sources of sin. To the extent that virginity became the highest ideal, women were given only two choices in the church; they could pursue some sort of celibate ministry in the church as deaconesses, virgins, or widows, or they could marry, in which case their role was restricted to that of wife and mother. Witherington summarizes the situation for women in the patristic period:

Nowhere do we hear of a healthy balance where both one’s human sexuality and spiritual gifts are affirmed. Certainly by the fourth century, life in the Church had become a clear either/or proposition with women in ministry being linked to a transcending or abandoning of any affirmation of their sexual identity.”39

Finally, I would point readers to my earlier essay in which I documented the tendency of Christians theologians as early as Origen to blame women for the fall into sin, to be dangerous sources of male temptation, and to be considered less intelligent, more subject to emotion, and more easily tempted than men.40

In light of the above, it is significant that the bifurcated male-female sexual symbolism that is so central to Hauke’s argument finds its roots not in the biblical account of men and women, but in the non-Christian Hellenistic world of Plato, Aristotle, and the Hellenized Judaism of Philo. There is an ironic parallel between this version of symbolic theology and the radical feminist theology that Hauke finds so objectionable. In both cases, there is an appeal outside of Christian faith for normative ideological principles in the light of which the Christian Scriptures are then re-interpreted. For feminist theology, the principle is “female liberation”; for the anti-women’s ordination version of “symbolic” theology, the principle is a sexual bifurcation that is rooted not in Scripture, but in pagan non-Christian understandings of the relation between the sexes.

A Trinitarian Corrective

In a previous essay on the priesthood of Christ, I noted the tendency of Western eucharistic theologies to be binitarian in focusing (almost) exclusively on the roles of the Father and the Son to the neglect of the Holy Spirit, and Christomonist not only in focusing exclusively on the role of Christ but “Apollinarian” in the sense of focusing exclusively on the deity of Christ to the neglect of his humanity, particularly of his human mind and will. Hauke’s theology shares in these characteristics.

Hauke’s male-female symbol system plays itself out in a contrast between God (as transcendent) and creation (as immanent), of the male as representing transcendence and the female as representing immanence, of the male as external and the female as internal, of the male as active and the female as receptive, of the male as substantive and the female as relational. Two key quotes are essential to Hauke’s argument:

The basic axis of the symbolism of the sexes can thus be equated with the relationships man = God, woman = creation” . . .”

“The relations Christ-Mary and Christ-Church are the points on which the symbolism of the sexes turns.”41

The schema can be illustrated as follows:

Transcendent (Male): God → Christ → Priest

Immanent (Female): Creation → Mary → Church → Laity

Hauke writes: “A personal image of God is always bound up with sexual references.”42 The male is symbolic of transcendence, and thus of God. According to Hauke:

The masculine nature, in particular, is more strongly directed toward mastery of the external world than is that of women. But this task of mastery appears as a specific consequence of being a likeness of God. . . [J]ust as women represent creation, so, in a special way, man represents God. . . . [M]asculine symbolism is more closely apposite to the personal image of God than is its feminine counterpart. . . . The mother embodies divine immanence, a multirelational embeddedness in the world. God’s personality, however, is bound up in a special way with transcendence.43

In contrast, Hauke associates immanence, receptivity, and creation with the female:

Receptivity, openness, readiness are the appropriate attitudes in the presence of the Creator. As we have seen, however, this receptivity is, to a higher degree, a characteristic of women. Consequently, the female human being is more likely to be suitably representative of the state of creaturely being before God. Woman is, in a sense, a likeness of creation. . . . As symbolic of human receptivity, women are simultaneously emblems of deep-rooted, personal, devotion to God, for precisely, in receiving, the soul simultaneously engages in a state of highest activity. 44

Because of their “eccentric symbolism,” which is “oriented toward sovereignty and power,” Hauke states that men are “not suited to representing adequately this attitude of open receptivity.”45

Trinitarian Personalism as a Corrective to Binary Contrast

The revival of trinitarian theology and of an associated trinitarian personalism has been one of the most characteristic developments of the last few decades. This has been an ecumenical project, shared by Roman Catholics, Orthodox, Protestants, and Anglicans. The Swiss Reformed theologian Karl Barth’s trinitarian theology was the major impetus in this development. In the area of sexuality, Barth advocated a trinitarian personalism and argued that the creation of humanity in the image of God as male and female echoed the trinitarian relations; to be created as a human being in the image of God means to be inherently oriented toward relation toward other persons as grounded in the inherent relationality of the sexes (man and woman) toward one another.46

Hauke’s book appeared just prior to the recent trinitarian revival, and he explicitly repudiates Barth’s theology of male-female sexuality as reflective of the trinitarian relations:

That man must be an essentially relational being because God is in relationship with himself cannot be derived in this way from the biblical text. . . . Barth seems to assume that relationship defines the essence of man in the same way that it grounds the three Persons of the Trinity. . . . if Barth equates the relationship of man and woman with their essences . . . then the independent natures of each are dissolved.47

Hauke rather assigns different aspects of personalism to men and to women: Where trinitarian personalism associates personhood with relationality common to both men and women, Hauke contrasts the personal nature of men and women. He insists that men are more representative of God’s personhood because personhood is primarily individual, while women, because they are more relational, are less so:

If the experience of a personal God presupposes the transcendence of the soul and of God himself, then it aligns itself with masculine symbolism. Women, of course, are persons just as much as are men, but their personhood is lived out more strongly through relationships; they are, to a special degree, relational beings. . . . Women are no less persons than are men, but the individual, self-dependent reality of the personal is just symbolized to a lesser degree in women.48

To the contrary, a trinitarian personalism would claim that Hauke’s dichotomy between the “individual” and the “relational” is a false contrast. Roman Catholic theologian W. Norris Clarke expresses the point well in the title of his essay “To Be is to Be Substance in Relation.”49 In a book considering the implications of Trinitarian personalism entitled Person and Being, Clarke argues that “drawing upon God’s own self-revelation in the doctrine of the Trinity (three Persons within one Divine Being) can here illumine the very nature of being, as well as of God . . .” The doctrine of the Trinity means that the “very inner life of God himself . . . is by its very nature self-communicative Love . . . ,” and that consequently, “self-communication is written into the very heart of all beings, as finite but positive images of their Source.”50

At the heart of Clarke’s argument is that all reality possesses both an “in-itself” and a “towards -the-other” dimension. Within the Triune Divine Being, substantiality and relationality are “primordial” and “necessary” in that God is three persons in one nature. All creatures manifest both relationality and substantiality in that they are all in some sense images of the God who is their creative Source: “All being, therefore, is, by its very nature as being, dyadic, with an ‘introverted,’ or in-itself dimension, as substance, and an ‘extraverted,’ or towards-others dimension, as related through action.”51 In terms of human personhood, Clarke argues that all persons must possess a “self-presence,” which enables them to meaningfully say “I” and engage in responsible action, but also a relationality toward the other as “Thou,” in which we respond to another self. It is only in relation to others that we can return to our self to achieve self-possession: “Thus, a personalized being must obey the basic dyadic ontological structure of all being, that is, presence in itself and presence to others.”52 To be a person, therefore, is “to be-in-communion,” and communication between persons entails both giving and receiving. Accordingly, Clarke insists that mutuality is essential to love, and that the “ontological value of receptivity” is “not a defect or inferiority but a positive perfection of being.”53 Self-communication and receptivity are thus “complementary and inseparable sides of the dynamic process of being itself,” and Clarke insists that in the Trinity itself, “receptivity is present in the Son and the Spirit at its most intense . . .” The Father is “subsistent Self-communication,” while the Son and Spirit are “subsistent Receptivity.”54

Crucial for the current discussion is that the distinctions between transcendence and immanence, between substance and relationality, between action and receptivity, which Hauke portrays as contrasting characteristics of men and women, and thus crucial to his distinction between masculine and feminine symbolism, should not be understood as contrastive, but rather complementary and dyadic, and as characteristic not of men and women respectively, but of all persons. Communication and personhood are impossible without both transcendence and immanence, action and receptivity, substantiality and relationity being present in both persons in the conversation. These are not male or female characteristics, but simply human and personal characteristics. Hauke’s male-female symbolism divides and assigns alternatively to the male and female sexes characteristic of persons as such which intrinsically belong together and which cannot be parceled out, and without which persons would not be persons, but isolated monads.

A Trinitarian Account of Transcendence and Immanence

Hauke’s theology is binary throughout, with transcendence (equated with masculinity) and immanence (equated with femininity) marking the primary distinction. This binary dichotomy is fundamental not only for his discussion of male and female human beings but for his discussion of the trinitarian persons as well. As noted above (and in the previous essay), Hauke points to transcendence as the primary identifying characteristic of both God the Father and God the Son. Hauke certainly acknowledges Jesus Christ’s humanity:

Jesus Christ is the representative of God . . . It is not only in his divinity but also in his human nature that Christ is a likeness and a representative of his Father . . . Certainly, God’s becoming man is the fundamental precondition for our redemption, which Christ effected representatively for women as well as men. . . . Jesus Christ, through his human nature, represented not only men in relation to God but also women. Just as the mother symbol is, in a sense, enclosed within the father symbol, so Jesus, too, embodies “feminine” values, such as kindness and mildness.55

However, the emphasis throughout is on Jesus’ transcendence and masculinity: “[A]ll of Christ’s tasks are inseparably bound up with his masculinely stamped human nauture . . .”56 The humanity of Christ does not play a significant role in Hauke’s discussion. What is important about Jesus is that he is God. So Hauke writes: “Thus Jesus’ benevolence can be understood only through his omnipotence,” and “The humbling of Jesus can only be understood, however, when in its enduring starting point is kept in view, namely, infinite divine power.” Even when Hauke speaks of Jesus as representative of humanity, Hauke says little or nothing about the significance of Jesus’ humanity as receptive, either to God or humanity: “Whereas Jesus’ love appears, with respect to sinners, as mercifulness, it takes on, with respect to his turning toward God, the aspects of righteousness.”57

Despite Hauke’s claim to be presenting orthodox Christology, the implicit logic of his position seems to be monophysite or perhaps Apollinarian. Is Jesus Christ omnipotent, possessing “infinite divine power” as human? This would seem to be a confusion or conflation of the incarnate Word’s divine and human natures. Significantly, Hauke never portrays Jesus Christ as receptive. That is always the role of the church, and, particularly of the church as female (to be discussed below).

Hauke does associate immanence with the mission of the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity. Hauke identifies the Holy Spirit with the “feminine” characteristics of (1) immanence: “God’s immanence in nature and grace is thus attributed, in a special way, to the Holy Spirit, because he is himself the intradivine immanence in person.”; (2) relationality: “In themselves, the Divine Persons are, of course, substantial relationship. Still, to the Holy Spirit, we can attribute, in a special way, a mode of being that, although sustained by personal identity, is exhaustively constituted in and through relationality. . . . Now ‘relationality’ is characteristic to a greater degree of women than of men”; and (3) receptivity: “[T]he Holy Spirit is constituted only by receiving. In a certain sense, then, we can therefore, ‘designate’ him ‘as the feminine principle in the divinity . . . He is, in fact, the divinely receiving.’”58

If men resemble the male Christ, Hauke suggests that women resemble the Holy Spirit. He writes, “Woman is, in a certain respect, an image of the Holy Spirit” and “Thus, we find in the Holy Spirit certain characteristics that can link up with feminine symbolism, such as immanence, relationality, and above all his identity as receptive.”59 Hauke makes a specific connection between the symbolically feminine characteristics of the Holy Spirit and the church as the bride of Christ: “The relation Christ-Spirit corresponds to the relation husband-wife, but also to the relation Christ-Church.”60 Hauke is quick, however, to discourage any conclusions that might be drawn concerning the “feminine” symbolism of the Holy Spirit and women’s ordination: “[I]n contrast to a repraesentatio Christi, we will hardly encounter an explicit repraesentatio Spiritus Sanctus. . . .”61 But, of course, the counter-argument would not be that the presiding minister (whether man or woman) represents the Holy Spirit (repraesentatio Spiritus Sanctus), but rather that, as offering the eucharistic prayer on behalf of the congregation, the celebrant speaks in the person of the church (in persona ecclesiae), and thus represents the church, which (as the bride of Christ) is symbolically feminine.

The binary structure of Hauke’s schema can be again be laid out (with slight modification):

Transcendent (Male): God the Father → Jesus Christ → Men

Immanent (Female): God the Holy Spirit → Women → Church

What is significantly missing from Hauke’s schema (and what marks it as implicitly monophysite or Apollinarian) is the Chalcedonian dimension. A properly trinitarian and Chalcedonian account of transcendence and immanence could acknowledge what Hauke says about the transcendence of God the Father – given that creation is “attributed” to the Father – and the immanence of the Holy Spirit as the indwelling principle of grace and as the link between the church and the other two trinitarian persons. What is missing from Hauke’s scheme is the significance of the incarnation, the hypostatic union, and the full Chalcedonian definition. The hypostatic union means that Jesus Christ is a divine person with two complete natures, one divine and one human. It is thus Jesus Christ (who as God is Creator and as human is creature) who is the perfect meeting place between transcendence and immanence. As the second person of the Trinity, the Word of God is transcendent over all creation; in him, “all things were created. . . all things were created through him and for him . . . and in him all things hold together” (Col. 1:16-17; cf. John 1:1-3). But as human, Jesus Christ is also the “Word made flesh” (John 1:14); in Jesus Christ, “the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily” (Col. 2:9). Although the pre-incarnate Son existed “in the form of God” (Phil. 2:6), he took on the “form of a servant,” existing in “human form” (Phil. 2:6-8). As the Chalcedonian formula states, Jesus Christ is “one and the same Son . . . truly God and truly human . . . of one substance with the Father as regards his Godhead, and at the same time of one substance with us as regards his manhood.” Accordingly, a genuinely trinitarian account of transcendence and immanence would have to modify Hauke’s schema in something like the following mnner:

Transcendent: (neither male nor female) God the Father

Fully Transcendent and Fully Immanent: The incarnate Son of God, Jesus Christ

Immanent: God the Holy Spirit → Church (Both men and women)

As God incarnate, Jesus Christ is both fully transcendent and fully immanent. He is active, but also receptive, substantival, but also relational. If the Father represents transcendence, and the Spirit represents immanence, then the incarnate Son represents both transcendence and immanence. As noted above, the nature of the person is both communicating and receiving – active and recipient. The Son as God incarnate is both God speaking to humanity, and humanity responding to God. It is this emphasis on the humanity of Jesus Christ as being representative of humanity in responding to God that is missing in Hauke’s binary account.

A Christocentric and Trinitarian Account of Worship

One of the most important modern discussions of the theology of worship is found in Thomas F. Torrance’s essays “The Paschal Mystery of the Eucharist,” and “The Mind of Christ in Worship: The Problem of Apollinarianism in the Liturgy.”62 I have already discussed these essays at some length in my own previous essay “Concerning Women’s Ordination: Women’s Ordination and the Priesthood of Christ (in persona Christi),”63 so I will refer readers there for a full discussion rather than repeating at length what I have already written. Two key points are central, however. First, following Cyril of Alexandria, Torrance argued that a key theme for the theology of worship is the “vicarious humanity” of Christ and its significance for the church’s participation in Christ’s priesthood: “[T]he key to the understanding of the Eucharist is to be sought in the vicarious humanity of Jesus, the priesthood of the incarnate Son. Eternal God though he was, he condescended to be our brother . . .”64 A key theme in Cyril’s theology was that, in the incarnation, the Son of God assumed not simply a human body, but a complete human nature, including a human mind. During his earthly ministry, Jesus as human was anointed with the Holy Spirit and prayed to and worshiped God the Father. After his resurrection and ascension, the risen Jesus Christ permanently retained his human nature, including his human mind, and exercises his priesthood by interceding for the church and by offering worship to God the Father. The church’s own worship is a participation in the worship of the risen Christ.65 Torrance writes:

Jesus Christ ascended to the Father [is] the Mediator of our worship in mind and soul and body in union with him. It is as our Priest, with all his human condition in body, mind and soul which he took from us, with his human worship and prayer in which he assimilates our worship and prayer in his name, that he appears in the presence of his Father and fulfils his heavenly ministry as Priest over the House of God.66

Second, Torrance argued that this centrality of Christ’s vicarious humanity had been lost in much of the church’s worship after the patristic era, resulting in what he called “Apollinarianism in the liturgy.” One of the consequences of this loss was the substitution of various other mediators to make up for the loss of the humanity of Christ: “[T]he Church was thrown back upon itself to provide a priesthood which could stand in for Christ, and even mediate between the sinner and Christ . . . ”67

Paradoxically, although the subject of Hauke’s book is the “ordination of women,” there is very little in the way of a theology of liturgy in his book. What he does say confirms the concerns raised by Torrance. As noted above, Hauke says very little about the significance of the humanity of Christ, and nothing about the significance of Jesus’ human mind and will. In the closest thing to such a discussion, Hauke contrasts Jesus and Mary. Hauke states that Mary exercises faith, but Jesus does not:

Thus the way for the obedience of the “new Adam” is prepared by the “new Eve.” In this, the significance of Mary extends far beyond that of her predecessor. Nowhere in the New Testament does Jesus appear as a believer, because he does not first have to endorse his revelation but proclaims it himself as one who sees. In contrast, the Mother of God is, by virtue of her belief, the first and exemplary Christian.68

Hauke associates faith with dependence and receptivity, making it a primarily feminine quality: “Faith is always related to obedience, to subordination. Women, because of their biological constitution, possess in principle a greater readiness for this than do men.”69

Contrary to Hauke’s claim here, there has been considerable recent discussion concerning Jesus’ exercise of faith among recent New Testament scholars, with numerous advocates of the New Perspective on Paul arguing that Paul’s expression pistis Christou (Gal. 2:16) should be translated as the “faith of Christ” or the “faithfulness of Christ” rather than “faith in Christ.”70 Just as significant would be a passage such as Hebrews 5:7: “In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence.” Nowhere in Hauke’s book is there any discussion of the significance of Jesus’ own prayer to God or his own anointing as human with the Holy Spirit. For Hauke, the significance of Jesus’ mediatorial role is consistently that Jesus is on the side of God – that he represents God to human beings.

In discussing priesthood, Hauke ascribes to the priest as mediator that which the New Testament ascribes uniquely to Jesus Christ: “A ‘priest’ in the broadest sense of the world, is a mediator between God and man.” Hauke ascribes two functions to the priest: First, the “representation of the Divinity in relation to man. When the emphasis is on transcendence and the active workings of God . . . it seems appropriate to reserve the priesthood for men . . .” Second, the “public representation of man in relation to the Divinity. For this, too, men tend to be more suitable. As the representative of his community, a man steps, to to speak ‘outward’ into the presence of God . . .”71 Note that Hauke gives to the human priest the mediating role that the New Testament gives to Jesus Christ. Also, Hauke sees the priest as representing God (in the divine nature), rather than Jesus Christ in his humanity.

As noted in my previous essay “Concerning Women’s Ordination: Women’s Ordination and the Priesthood of Christ (in persona Christi),” the Roman Catholic theologian Yves Congar regretted the tendency of Roman Catholic theology to substitute the pope, the virgin Mary and the sacrament of the mass for the Holy Spirit.72 Certainly Hauke tends to associate Mary particularly with the Holy Spirit, but also ascribes to Mary the role of mediating the Holy Spirit that the New Testament gives to the risen Christ (John 14:16; 16:7). Hauke writes: “Mary can, therefore, be characterized as ‘the most perfect human personal image of the Holy Spirit’ . . . Mary does not replace the Holy Spirit, but mediates him through her intercession.”73 Hauke gives to Mary the role of representative of humanity that Torrance claims that patristic theologians such as Cyril gave to the vicarious humanity of Christ. In fact, Hauke specifically denies this representative role to Jesus’ humanity. Hauke writes:

In her receptiveness, Mary is thus, in a special measure, the representative of creation as creation. . . . she represents mankind. . . . The representation of mankind through Mary . . . is thus precisely not to be identified with the task of Jesus. . . . [T]hus the virginal conception of Jesus implies a priority of woman in the representation of creation and of mankind before God.74

It seems clear then that Hauke’s binary account is an example of the kind of Apollinarian liturgical theology to which Torrance objects. Hauke says nothing about the role of the vicarious humanity of Jesus Christ in worship, either as receptive or as worshiping on behalf of humanity with his human mind and will. The mediatory role that church fathers such as Cyril applied to the risen Christ who exercises his priesthood as the crucified, ascended, and risen representative of humanity, Hauke applies to the virgin Mary instead.

Hauke consistently follows through with his binary male-female symbolism as he explains the roles of the apostle Peter and Mary in the church: “While Peter assumes the role of ‘head’ of the Church and proclaims the gospel at the Pentecost, Mary appears earlier as the ‘heart’ of those who plead in prayer for the descent of the Holy Spirit.”75 Hauke characterizes the church as Marian (and feminine) in being receptive, while ordained clergy, because they represent Christ, are “intermediaries” or “mediators” who play the masculine Petrine role:

[T]he Church is Marian in her basic structure and therefore exhibits, in contrast to Christ and his official representatives, typically feminine traits. . . . . [A]s members of the Church, the office bearers are, in the first instance, receptively and cooperatively active like all other believers. In their specific representation of Christ, they are also distinct from and in contrast to the Church, but only as “intermediaries” and “instruments”. They represent the Lord, from whom they themselves are different.76

In contrast to Hauke’s binary account of the roles of clergy and laity in the church, a personalistic trinitarian and christocentric account of worship takes full account of not only the reciprocity and mutuality of substance and relation as intrinsic to personhood as such, but also of the vicarious humanity of Christ as central to a theology of worship, and would include the following:

In God’s own nature, God is neither transcendent nor immanent, but trinitarian and relational. The divine persons are both active and receptive. God is active (as Father), receptive and active (as Son), and receptive (as the Holy Spirit).To be a person is thus to be both communicating and receiving, active and recipient.

In the act of creation, God has shared the love between the trinitarian persons with creatures. Created in the image of God, humanity as male and female reflects triune personalism. Both men and women are mutually active and receptive, oriented toward communion first with God, but second, with one another, and are more alike than different. Both men and women are created in the image of God; God has given the creation mandate equally to women and men (Gen. 1:27-28). The relation between male and female is complementary not in terms of gender roles but in terms of personal relationality. To be male or female is to be oriented toward and in mutual communication with the other. Neither man nor woman is complete without the other.

In terms of the relation between God and creation, the divine persons manifest transcendence and immanence in a trinitarian manner. Although creation is a task of all three persons of the Trinity, creation (and thus transcendence) is attributed primarily to the God the Father (“Our Father in heaven”). The world is created through the Son of God (the second person of the Trinity), who, as the Word Incarnate, is both fully divine and fully human, both Creator (transcendent) and creature (immanent). In the beginning of creation, the Holy Spirit “hovered over the waters” (Gen. 1:2) and, as indwelling the church (immanent), is the link between the church (redeemed creation) and the Triune God (Creator) as the Spirit unites redeemed men and women (creatures) to Christ’s risen humanity (creature) through the hypostatic union (Creator). Only Jesus Christ can properly represent God because only Jesus Christ is a divine person with a human nature. In terms of the symbolism of trascendence and immanence, if the Father represents transcendence, and the Spirit represents immanence, then the Son as incarnate represents both transcendence and immanence, God speaking to humanity, but also humanity responding to God.

Christian worship is a participation in the risen Jesus Christ’s worship through means of his vicarious humanity. Union with the risen Christ through the Holy Spirit is crucial. Christ both acts in the Eucharist, but also acts as worshiping the Father on behalf of the church.

Use of a binary contrasting male-female symbolism to define the nature of worship (as in Hauke) is an example of the loss of Jesus Christ’s vicarious humanity. On Hauke’s model, the male Christ represents God, but it is rather the role of the virgin Mary to take the place of Christ’s humanity in representing humanity. Accordingly, on Hauke’s model, the church does not participate in Jesus Christ’s vicarious human worship. Rather, Christ as God is set over against a human church. For Hauke, the priest as male represents Christ as God, and thus the priest becomes an intermediary. That is, it is the ordained male priest who fulfills Christ’s divine function in respect to the church. It is the virgin Mary as female who represents receptive humanity and the church. To the contrary, in a properly trinitarian and Christocentric theology, it is Jesus Christ in his vicarious humanity who represents both deity and humanity. Thus, the church’s Christian worship is participation in the risen Christ’s human worship. Our worship (including the priest’s) is participatory in the worship of the crucified and risen Christ and points away from anything we might add to the offering of Jesus Christ on our behalf.

How do ordained clergy and the church represent Christ? The human office holder (presbyter/bishop) does not represent God in the divine nature, but rather represents the incarnate Jesus Christ as an icon in pointing away from him- or herself to Jesus Christ’s finished work, and through sharing in suffering. The ordained priest is not Jesus Christ. The priest is an earthen vessel (2 Corinthians 4:7-12). As a baptized member of the redeemed community, the priest represents Christ only because he or she first represents the church of which Jesus Christ is the head.

In terms of the distinctive typological roles of the apostle Peter and Mary the mother of Jesus, If Peter represents the active apostolic role, and Mary represents receptive faith, then both roles are true of the entire church, since activity and receptivity are personal characteristics, not gender characteristics. Activity is not specifically masculine; nor is receptivity distinctively feminine; rather, to be a person is to be both active and receptive. As an apostle, Peter represents Jesus Christ not by being active or by physically resembling the male Jesus Christ, but by feeding Christ’s sheep, and by following in Jesus’ way to the cross, by pointing away from himself to the crucified and risen Lord Jesus Christ. The virgin Mary represents the church not in her femininity, not by herself being the perfect response to grace, but by being the theotokos, the human bearer of the God-man who is himself the perfect response to grace insofar as throughout his earthly ministry, Jesus followed in the leading of the Holy Spirit through whom he was conceived, and who anointed Jesus and indwelt him at his baptism in the Jordan River.

Finally, in terms of the symbolically representative role of the clergy, it is important to remember the difference between representation as imitation and the representative as a delegate. An ordained presbyter is a delegate, not an imitator or a mimic. The officeholder is not acting a part or playing a role in a play. In worship, the triune God addresses humanity and humanity responds with praise, thanksgiving, confession, and supplication; as leader of the church’s worship, the presbyter speaks both to the church on behalf of the triune God (as a delegate, not an imitator), but also responds from the church to God, addressing the church’s prayer on its behalf to God the Father through participation in the vicarious worship of the crucified and risen Jesus Christ (the Son of God) in the unity of the Holy Spirit. In doing so, the ordained clergy engage in an activity of communication and communion which is inherently both active and receptive, that is, an activity which is primarily personal, not primarily gendered. Theologically, there is no reason why both women as well as men should not perform this task.

1 Manfred Hauke, Women in the Priesthood? A Systematic Analysis of the Light of the Order of Creation and Redemption, trans. David Kipp (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1986), 90, 93, 115.

2 Hauke, 175-197.

3 Hauke, 258.

4 Hauke, 260.

5 “In transcendence, the immanence of God is always implicit anyway, since transcendence is a concept that is first formed on the basis of God’s relationship to the world. The concept of immanence is thus, in a certain sense, included in that of transcendence, but the reverse does not apply.” Hauke, 143.

6 Hauke, 304.

7 Hauke, 319.

8 Hauke, 337.

9 Hauke, 334-339. See my previous essay “Concerning Women’s Ordination: Women’s Ordination and the Priesthood of Christ (in persona Christi)”; http://willgwitt.org/theology/concerning-womens-ordination-and-the-priesthood-of-christ/. Among other things, I point out in this essay that Thomas Aquinas affirmed that all Christians (men and women) receive the indelible character of Christ in baptism, and that the character received in ordination builds on this character received in baptism. If a physical resemblance to Christ’s masculinity is necessary for the character of ordination, the same would have to be true for baptism as well – in which case women could not be baptized.

10 See the Anglican Forward in Faith document: Consecrated Women? A Contribution to the Women Bishops Debate, Jonathan Baker, ed.(Norwich: Canterbury Press, 2004), which cites Hauke several times.

11 Sara Butler, The Catholic Priesthood and Women: A Guide to the Teaching of the Church (Mundelin, IL: Hillenbrand Books, 2007), 46.

12 Butler, 47.

13 Butler, 46.

14 Hauke, 364.

15 Hauke, 476.

16 Hauke, 356.

17 Hauke, 356.

18 https://w2.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/apost_letters/1988/documents/hf_jp-ii_apl_19880815_mulieris-dignitatem.html; Butler, 34-38.

19 Thomas Hopko, “Presbyter/Bishop: A Masculine Ministry,” Women and the Priesthood, Thomas Hopko, ed., new edition (Crestood, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1999), 143-144.

20 Hopko, 149. Similarly to Hopko, Hauke states concerning Genesis 2: “Initially, it is only the man who appears as the representative of being human . . .” Hauke, 201. Hauke also asserts that “it would be the case of reading modern liberal ideas into the biblical text if one were to assume that, for the Yahwist, any and every part of the subordination of women to men is a consequence of sin.” Hauke, 202. However, as my previous essay “Concerning Women’s Ordination: Beginning with Genesis,” makes clear, there is no evidence whatsoever for the subordination of woman in the Genesis account before the existence of sin; http://willgwitt.org/theology/concerning-womens-ordination-beginning-with-genesis.

21 Hopko, 158-159.

22 Consecrated Women?, 29-30.

23 Elisabeth Behr-Sigel, The Ministry of Women in the Church, trans. Fr. Steven Bigham (Redonda Beach, CA: Oakwood Publications, 1991), 56.

24 http://willgwitt.org/theology/concerning-womens-ordination-beginning-with-genesis/.

25 http://willgwitt.org/theology/concerning-womens-ordination-mutual-submission; http://willgwitt.org/theology/concerning-women’s-ordination-women-in-worship.

26 http://willgwitt.org/theology/concerning-womens-ordination-and-the-priesthood-of-christ/.

27 Hopko, 156.

28 Hopko, 157.

29 Elisabeth Behr-Sigel and Kallistos Ware, The Ordination of Women in the Orthodox Church (Geneva: WCC Publications, 2000), 49-50, 85. Again, see my essay ““Concerning Women’s Ordination: Women’s Ordination and the Priesthood of Christ (in persona Christi).”

30 Hauke, 85-197.

31 Tikva Frymer-Kensky, In the Wake of the Goddesses: Women, Culture and the Biblical Transformation of Pagan Myth (New York: Macmillan, Inc., 1992).

32 Frymer-Kensky, 118.

33 She writes, “The social system reflected in the Bible did not originate in Israel, nor is it substantially different in the Bible than elsewhere in the ancient Near East.” Frymer-Kensky, 120.

34 Frymer-Kensky, 140, 141.

35 Frymer-Kensky, 203.

36 Frymer-Kensky, 204-205.

37 Frymer-Kensky, 203-211.

38 Frymer-Kensky, 211.

39 Ben Witherington, Women in the Earliest Churches (Cambridge:Cambridge University Press, 1988), 205.

40 “Concerning Women’s Ordination: The Argument “From Tradition” is not the “Traditional” Argument”; http://willgwitt.org/theology/concerning-womens-ordination-the-argument-from-tradition-is-not-the-traditional-argument/.

41 Hauke, 196, 473.

42 Hauke, 178.

43 Hauke, 200, 179.

44 Hauke, 186, 187.

45 Hauke, 187.

46 See especially Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics III.4, G. W. Bromiley and T. F. Torrance,eds. (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1961).

47 Hauke, 78.

48 Hauke, 178.

49 W. Norris Clarke, S.J., Explorations in Metaphysics: Being-God-Person (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1995), 102-122.

50 W. Norris Clarke, S.J., Person and Being (Milwaukee: Marquette University Press, 1993,1998), 11,12.

51 Clarke, 15-16.

52 Clarke, 42, 66, 71.

53 Clarke, 84.

54 Clarke, 86, 87.

55 Hauke, 250, 267.

56 Hauke, 267.

57 Hauke, 260, 263, 265

58 Hauke, 285, 287, 289 (quoting M, J. Scheeben).

59 Hauke, 291, 296.

60 Hauke, 290.

61 Hauke, 296.

62 Theology in Reconciliation: Essays towards Evangelical and Catholic Unity in East and West (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1975), 82-214.

63 http://willgwitt.org/theology/concerning-womens-ordination-and-the-priesthood-of-christ/.

64 Torrance, “Paschal Mystery,” 110.

65 On Cyril’s Christology, see my essay “The Christology of Cyril of Alexandria and Its Contemporary Implications”; http://willgwitt.org/the-christology-of-cyril-of-alexandria/.

66 Torrance, “Paschal Mystery,” 114.

67 Torrance, “Apollinarianism,” 203-204.

68 Hauke, 300.

69 Hauke, 299.

70 See my essay “Anglican Reflections on Justification by Faith”; http://willgwitt.org/anglican-reflections-on-justification.

71 Hauke, 190-191.

72 Yves Congar, I Believe in the Holy Spirit, Volume 1: The Holy Spirit in the “Economy: Revelation and Experience of the Holy Spirit, trans. David Smith(NY: Crossroad Publishing Co., 1997), 160,162.

73 Hauke, 317.

74 Hauke, 304-305.

75 Hauke, 316.

76 Hauke, 325.

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1 Comment »

  1. Much to think about here and I want to comment more in depth but can’t at the moment. One thing I did want to say is that your description of Hauke reminded me of a post that Alastair Roberts did a while back that sounded a lot like Hauke but minus the transcendence/immanence aspect. Curious to see what you think. https://alastairadversaria.wordpress.com/2014/09/01/a-biblical-gender-essentialism/

    Comment by Ryan Clevenger — August 20, 2016 @ 9:56 pm

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