Broadly speaking, the Christian Tradition can be seen to be the heritage of Christian teaching and thought. Starting initially with the Old and New Testaments in the Bible, this then extends to St Augustus of Hippo Martin Luther and up to some more Conservative Christian thought today. In some ways the Christian Tradition does teach women with respect. However, the issue always remains as to the extent of this respect and indeed whether it is respect or merely an excuse.
The book of Leviticus in the Old Testament contains many of the Laws that govern a good Jewish life. Indeed, many of these lives refer to women. An area of particular interest and the subject of much law making is that of Female menstruation, most probably because it is something that is particularly confusing in a pre-scientific world and of complete incomprehension to most men. Leviticus 15 teaches that when a ‘woman has her monthly period she remains unclean for seven days’. What is more, ‘anyone who touches her is unclean until evening’. This law can be seen to treat women with little respect. It suggests that women are regularly impure through no fault of there own and whilst they menstruate they are essentially social outcasts. They cannot be in contact with any man. Indeed, is devout Jewish communities they have places where women on their period retreat to whilst they have their period. Although this might be seen as a demonstration of a lack of respect for women, some Jewish women might argue to the contrary. It could be maintained that the fact women are segregated whilst they menstruate enables them to escape from the hussle and bussle and every day life. Furthermore, some argue that it is even a sign of respect for women that they are considered in such a way.
Moreover, it is not only women who are considered impure for genital discharge. Indeed, in the same text (Leviticus 15(, it clearly states that,