© Philip Groth 2017
To rebuild gender relations in the church we need to unpack the source of the current complementarian beliefs, which take their origin in the teachings of the church fathers. In this interpretative paper, I will attempt to provide a new reading of St. Augustine’s philosophy regarding women in light of The Trinity and City of God. It is my argument that Augustine has a twofold vision of the Imago Dei in humans. One based on the rational “inner man” —in which women do not participate— and another based on shared humanity. In this view women retain their own and independent part in the image of God and have their own unique and necessary role in earthly affairs. I further compare gender relation to Augustine’s vision of relation between celibacy and married life, as one focuses towards the spiritual, the other towards temporal. Both are equally good in God’s eyes, for both are based on calling and necessity. One is, however, the preferred option and appointed for leadership over the other.
Groth, Philip (2017) "Women and the Imago Dei: Gender Ontology in St. Augustine’s Thought," Res Cogitans: Vol. 8: Iss. 1, Article 8. https://doi.org/10.7710/2155-4838.1168