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How far are the demands made by some Christians for the change in the status of women rooted in an understanding of the Bible?

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The Bible is a collection of documents assembled over long period and thus not entirely consistent in depiction of roles of women. Women could not be members of the ritual priesthood in the Old Testament due to purity laws. However, those laws and the Old Testament priesthood were abolished with the advent of Christ, according to New Testament theology; just as Christians can eat pork and shellfish, so too the notion that women are made "impure" by menstruation and childbirth does not appear in the New Testament. The two main classes of minister in the New Testament are referred to by the Greek terms "presbyteros" ("elder") and "diakonos" ("deacon"); women appear in both these roles in the New Testament and thus there are strong Biblical grounds for ordination of women in Christian churches.

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