Those likewise are to be detested who deny that our Lord Jesus Christ had Mary as his mother on earth. That dispensation did honor to both sexes male and female, and showed that both had a part in God’s care; not only that which he assumed, but that also through which he assumed it, being a man born of a woman.-St. Augustine
Before I start, if you aren’t familiar with 1 Esdras (AKA Greek Ezra, or 3 Esdras), then before you continue on with this post I am going to suggest you read this passage: 1 Esdras 4:14-41. Feel free to read the rest of it as well if you like, but that’s the bit I’d like to talk about here. Now, if you’re not at least familiar with it, chances are you are a Protestant (or non-Christian), so let me give you just a bit of context. This is a book that deals with deals with the same historical events as in 2 Chronicles 35-36, Ezra (AKA 2 Esdras), and Nehemiah. It is contained in the Greek Septuagint (LXX), which was widely used among early Christians. Now, for my purposes I don’t think it much matters whether you consider it canonical or not. I think we can both agree that regardless of that, it could tell us something helpful (why do we read any books at all, after all?) Anyway, go ahead and read it, I’ll wait.
Done? Ok, let’s continue.
I found this passage to be very interesting in light of the present world we live in. Today’s notion of Feminism is one that demands equality, and I think that equality is meant in a very specific way. It’s meant in a way so as to essentially equate man and woman to one and the same thing. So, if it’s a thing a man can do, a woman must also be able to do it, and equally as well. So you end up with movie reboots that take out all the men and replace them with women. Beyond that, there is also a frequent desire to somehow “make up for” women not having that equality for so long, and portraying them as better than men. That’s how you end up with Star Trek: Discovery (or as I’ve come to think of it, the Michael Burnham Power Hour). There are plenty of examples of both of these things. A female character has no apparent struggles or flaws, she is just shown to somehow being kept down by men who are always constantly wrong. If you can’t tell, I find that annoying.
Yet, this passage from 1 Esdras I find compelling. This statement from Zerubbabel, the man speaking in this passage, seems wise: “Women are superior, but truth conquers all.” Now what you don’t know if you only read the passage I linked you to, is that these words are part of a contest between 3 of the king’s bodyguards to offer what they think is the MOST superior thing in the world, and the king will judge whose words are the most wise. He says women. And as evidence, he gives womanly attributes. They give birth to all men. They give men honor. They make clothes. They make the mere existence of men possible. Men will do anything for them. Even the king will let the woman he loves slap him, and he will try to make amends when she is angry with him. These are the things that make women the MOST superior.
In fact, he only gives one thing that is greater than a woman: That which made a woman. That is to say, the Truth, the Logos, ie, God.
We all want to be treated fairly and equally. The truth is, we are all born with different attributes and qualities that are simply beyond our control. For example, some men are handsome, some are ugly. I’m not saying you can’t do things to increase your attractiveness, but not every man is capable of being as attractive as say, Brad Pitt.
I just think it’s another way to look at the relationship between the sexes. One that esteems women higher than men while at the same time preserving our obvious differences.