Just Makin’ Stuff Up: History
The Church of England is currently engaged in a great debate over whether to allow women to become bishops. I don’t have a dog in that fight (sometimes being the lone non-Anglican on Stand Firm has its benefits), but I do know that some of what passes for arguments in favor of the proposition should come with a provision that the one making it has to pass a lie detector test. The Christian Post reports:
In an attempt to support the ordination of women bishops in The Church of England, a British historian is emphasizing the importance of women in religion and posing the idea that God could be female.
Bettany Hughes, a specialist in ancient history, asserted in the U.K. publication Radio Times that Christianity “was originally a faith where the female of the species held sway” and to deny this connection would be to deny the central role of women in the church.
She also wrote, “Who knows whether God is a girl, but mankind has turned to the female of the species for good ideas. Our own monotheistic institutions might do well to take a leaf out of the book of human experience and build on this consensus when it comes to reaping the benefits of a close relationship between women and the divine.”
Hughes, who will explore the role of women in the early church in a new BBC2 series called “Divine Women” this month, noted that in the early church women were allowed to preside as deaconesses, priestesses and bishops.
Women “held sway” in the early church? Served as bishops? This is “history” as wish fulfillment—no evidence needed, just a desire for things to have been different from what they actually were. By the same standard, I could announce that all of the rulers of the Roman Empire were Romanian, all of the successors to Mohammad were Polish Catholics, and until the advent of capitalism, all people were well-fed, absolutely equal in wealth, and totally healthy until the day they died. That’s the way I would like history to have been (for obscure political reasons that I don’t need to go into here), and who’s to say it wasn’t?
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