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The Biblical exegesis of headship: a challenge to Patriarchal understanding that impinges on women's rights in the church and society

E. Baloyi

Verbum et Ecclesia; Vol 29, No 1 (2008), 1-13. doi: 10.4102/ve.v29i1.1

Submitted: 14 May 2008
Published:  03 February 2008


The aim of this paper is to try and find out the real meaning of man’s (male) headship of women, since that can help us to define the deep meaning of gender equality. A brief historical background will be followed by exegetical remarks on Ephesians 5:21-22 which is one of the texts that explains something about the concept of “headship of man”. Secondly, the meaning will help us to shape our understanding as to how we should handle the issue of women’s rights and gender equality in African Christian churches and families. The challenges that are faced by women because of the misunderstanding of the concept of headship will also be discussed. The movement of feminist theology and other movements are becoming vocal in African countries, because women feel that it is the church and the Bible which promote the subjection of women. Fiorenza (1986:67) says that oppression of women in society is a result of Christian male sexist theology.

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Author affiliations

E. Baloyi, (University of Pretoria, South Africa



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