St Thomas Aquinas (1224 – 1274 AD) was the most influential Christian theologian in the Middle Ages. Most later theologians copied their arguments from him. In the Catholic Church Thomas was held out as a ‘safe’ norm for others to follow.
In Thomas’ time women were excluded from the ordained ministries. Thomas had to find justification for this as a theologian. The main reason, he decided, was woman’s inferior nature.
Thomas based his reasonings on what he read in Aristotle’s work, whose books became known in Europe at the time through Arab scholars.
Like Aristotle, Thomas believed that only the male seed carried life. Following Aristotle’s assessment, he judged women as having less intelligence and being weak in character. Everything was determined by God in the laws God laid down as Creator in nature.
On this page we outline Thomas’s teaching on women in brief. To read the exact words of Thomas, click on the links indicated!
Differences at Birth
Other Gender Differences