When matters touching on relations between religion and the state are discussed it not infrequently happens that the terminology becomes hopelessly confused and misused – sometimes by people who really should know better. So the following is a cut-out-and-keep guide to the absolute basics of Church and State.
5. Separation of sexes. Neither a ruling concerning, nor any clear allusion to, separation of sexes in ancient synagogues in Palestine has yet been found in earlier rabbinic sources. Among later authorities the main basis for such a separation rests on the "great enactment" () to erect a gallery in the "women's hall" of the temple of Jerusalem, in order to separate the women from the men during the celebrations of the "water-drawing" (Palestinian Talmud, Suk. V.1; 55b). In Hellenistic centers of the first century separation seems well attested by Philo. In the great basilica-synagogue of Alexandria the women seem to have been referred to as "those on the upper storey," as against the men, designated as "those of the lower level" (Palestinian Talmud, , according to Sukenik). A somewhat similar picture is offered by the archeological data. The remains of the ancient basilica synagogues of Galilee, with a distinctive Hellenistic stamp, show unmistakable indications of the existence of galleries, which probably were the place assigned women. But no traces of a women's gallery have been found in the well-preserved remains of the non-basilical, more oriental synagogue of Dura-Europos. Scholars differ in interpreting these facts. According to one school, the silence of earlier rabbinic sources and the absence of a women's gallery in Dura reflect an earlier, more liberal attitude towards women, allowing them to sit in the main hall, though in a special part, together with the men. The other school suggests that the silence of earlier rabbinic authorities implies that in those circles no provisions were made at all for women in the synagogue, because they were excluded from active participation in public worship. For a few special occasions, in which women might have had access to the synagogue, a temporary, removable screen might have been sufficient.
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For hundreds of years women have been sitting next to their husbands in the pews of churches during worship services, but it was not always so. In ancient times there were no pews in places of worship. In some synagogues there may have been a few chairs for well-to-do members and distinguished visitors, but most of the people in attendance would have stood or sat on the floor (see James 2:3). The women did not stand or sit with their husbands, but in an area apart from the men, as they still do in Orthodox synagogues today. In the Temple in Jerusalem only men could enter the inner "Court of Israel" where most of the ceremonies were conducted, while women remained in the outer "Women's Court." When both men and women were present in the Women's Court for ceremonies conducted there, women went into the galleries that surrounded the court. Similar galleries were constructed for the women in ancient synagogues. There is no reason to think that the apostles departed from this custom of segregated worship meetings when they established their first churches. Even in a meeting room that lacked galleries or other permanent structural barriers, in formal meetings of the congregation it is very likely that the women stood or sat apart from the men, off to the side or in the back of the room. When Christians began to build their own church buildings they used the synagogues as their model. One early Christian document known as the gives many rules for the conduct of worship, and we read in it, "let the women sit by themselves" (Book II, Sec. iv, ""). In another place it refers to separate doors for men and for women. This indicates that in the early church it was normal for the sexes to be separated, probably by the use of galleries or other barriers like the wooden partitions commonly used in synagogues.
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State-church relationships are regulated through systems of civil and ecclesiastical law. The diversity of these systems mirrors the diversity of national cultures and identities. In Europe, differences between these systems mirrors the diversity of historical influence: the early church, the Middle Ages, the reformation, the Wars of Religion of the 16th and 17th centuries, the 18th century, Enlightenment, and the development of liberal democratic states after World War II. States like Portugal and Spain were almost untouched by these events before 1945, while political and theological events during the Reformation resulted in dramatic developments in northern Europe, where state church systems were established.
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The relationship between state and church can be organized in various ways determined by history, politics, and theology. State and church often include the same people, but they represent different organizational forms, with different aims and styles of work. Church and state represent neither abuse of power nor the Reign of Heaven but pragmatic ways of controlling power to the benefit of people, nation, state, and church. The degree of controlling power varies, but there are basically two ways of relation state and church: the free church, with the church financially and administratively independent of the state, and state church, with the church financed and regulated by the state. Between these two poles a number of different systems organizing the two entities have developed.
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To his credit, Marshall at least seems to recognize the fact that linguistic evidence stands in the way of his conclusion. He tries to minimize the importance of the linguistic evidence from the Septuagint by saying that the usage of found there does not reflect the "new situation created by the birth of the church." He maintains that the peculiar social context of the New Testament indicates a default gender-neutral sense for because "there is a new situation in the Christian church in which women are given a new position, and this helps to explain the development of a different usage appropriate to that situation." This supposed egalitarian state of affairs in the early Church "provides a context in which the language of Christian discourse was being shaped." Although the society was still male-dominated, "it was in process of being changed." The neutralized makes sense because it "corresponds with the direction of the redemptive trajectory in Scripture that sees male and female as 'all one in Christ Jesus,'" he says. These statements are very remarkable if they are seriously offered as philological data. In effect, Marshall is saying that despite the evidence, must have been a gender-neutral word in such an egalitarian context as the early Church, and as used by such egalitarian persons as Paul and the other apostles.