by Caro, Sun May 21, 2006 at 05:38:14 AM EDT
If you think repression of women and/or negative campaigning are recent phenomena, read this from this week's Newsweek:
The dispute--resurrection of flesh or of spirit?--would dominate the first three centuries of Christianity. Orthodox clerics worried that the Gnostic belief in resurrection as spiritual release would compromise their teaching that Christ physically suffered on the cross to atone for the sins of man. They called the Gnostics pagans and hedonists and spun wild tales to make them look profane. (The church writer Epiphanius, writing in the fourth century, claimed that Gnostics believed Jesus had forced Mary to watch him eat his own semen.) When the Roman Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity in the year 312, the orthodox won the power of the state, and the sword. Fearing that bishops enforcing the new orthodoxy would destroy the texts, monks tried to erase all evidence of the Gnostic tradition. They buried the Gospels, with their powerful portrait of Mary Magdalene, in the sand.
The role played by women in the early church was also being erased. Jesus clearly had a rare empathy for women.
MORE MORE MORE