The eminent physicist Wolfgang Pauli was well-known for his abrupt and scathing criticism of colleagues, often proclaiming their work “utterly wrong” (ganz falsch). Once, when asked for a comment on an article by a younger physicist, he replied, “Not only is this not right, this is not even wrong [das ist nicht einmal falsch]!” He meant that the article’s assertions could not be tested and therefore proven correct or wrong. Scientifically, “not even wrong” meant something worse than “utterly wrong”: that the effort provided no benefit whatsoever to the scientific endeavor, for even disproven theories contribute to scientific progress.Read the rest here.
If Pauli were an Orthodox Christian theologian, he might have responded in a similar manner to Valerie A. Karras’ article, “Theologies of Women and Ordained Ministry.” Obviously, her general argument cannot be scientifically “tested,” but that is not the point. The article makes numerous valid observations, but none of them amounts to even a single “theology” of women; nor is there criticism of several such “theologies of women.” However, the questions that Karras rightly poses merit answers by the contemporary Church. Unfortunately, the answer she suggests or, often more accurately, implies, cannot be judged right or wrong based on the argument she presents. Thus, es ist nicht einmal falsch—it is not even wrong.
The ultimate point of her article is that there is no “theological” justification for the Church to continue excluding women from the ranks of the presbyter and bishop, not to mention other ministries in the life of the contemporary Church. To make this point more attractive, Karras relies on anecdotal evidence of women’s “subservient” position in the Church, a limited reading of patristic authorities, false analogies, a narrow view of an Orthodox “anthropology,” an overly-schematized view of “history” and an eschatology which is certainly subject to dispute. If this is not enough, she has also neglected apparently more contrary evidence from ancient and contemporary authors and canonical sources (including Holy Scripture), largely dismissed contemporary “hard” science and social science and, perhaps most importantly, ignored a great deal of the liturgical-sacramental life of the Church. The discerning reader cannot but help notice that her argument reveals a predetermined conclusion which is not at all supported directly and positively by the evidence Karras provides, and she certainly has not provided convincing arguments to account for the more obvious contrary evidence (such as Holy Scripture) that seems to support a conclusion opposite of her own.
HT: Dr. Tighe