Forbidden and Forgotten Territory; or, Where the Pastor Feared to Tread

Karin E. Gedge

in Without Benefit of Clergy

Published in print November 2003 | ISBN: 9780195130201
Published online January 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780199835157 | DOI:

Series: Religion in America

 Forbidden and Forgotten Territory; or, Where the Pastor Feared to Tread

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Shifting gender ideologies threatened to marginalize Protestant clergy in the domestic sphere where much of traditional pastoral training and work took place. The “professionalization” of the clergy successfully redefined the ministry as a masculine endeavor by shifting the education of young ministerial candidates from the paternal and familial parsonage to the theological seminary, and shifting the focus of study from practical experience in pastoral work to biblical scholarship, rhetoric, and controversial theology. Manuals and the lecture notes of professors and students in these institutions reveal that the abbreviated study of pastoral theology generally advocated a ministry carefully adapted to the various classes, ages, temperaments, and spiritual states of parishioners. Yet few explicitly addressed the “forbidden” and “forgotten territory” of women in the pastoral relationship, so fraught with sexual tension and cultural inconsistencies. Those who did unanimously urged extreme caution on the part of the minister and recommended he search out a competent wife who would serve as the “happy medium” between the pastor and his female parishioners.

Keywords: pastoral theology; controversial theology; theological seminary; ministry to women; “professionalization” of the ministry; sexuality; masculinity; gender ideology; pastoral manuals

Chapter.  13857 words. 

Subjects: Christianity

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