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'Certainly one of the most promising theological statements of our time.' --The Christian Century 'Not for the timid, this brilliant book calls for nothing short of the overthrow of patriarchy itself.' --The Village Voice 'Certainly one of the most promising theological statements of our time.' --The Christian Century 'Not for the timid, this brilliant book calls for nothing short of the overthrow of patriarchy itself.' --The Village Voice


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'Certainly one of the most promising theological statements of our time.' --The Christian Century 'Not for the timid, this brilliant book calls for nothing short of the overthrow of patriarchy itself.' --The Village Voice 'Certainly one of the most promising theological statements of our time.' --The Christian Century 'Not for the timid, this brilliant book calls for nothing short of the overthrow of patriarchy itself.' --The Village Voice

30 review for Beyond God the Father: Toward a Philosophy of Women's Liberation

  1. 4 out of 5

    Erik Graff

    Daly was popular at seminary, but I didn't get around to reading her until years later. I was visiting an old high school friend in Springfield, Vermont, had finished the book I'd brought along for the trip and asked his wife for recommendations from their substantial library. She suggested Daly. If one defines "feminism" as the belief that everyone should have the same rights and opportunities, then pretty much everyone is a feminist, even some people who would reject the label. A number of youn Daly was popular at seminary, but I didn't get around to reading her until years later. I was visiting an old high school friend in Springfield, Vermont, had finished the book I'd brought along for the trip and asked his wife for recommendations from their substantial library. She suggested Daly. If one defines "feminism" as the belief that everyone should have the same rights and opportunities, then pretty much everyone is a feminist, even some people who would reject the label. A number of younger women I know do so, but they have been universally ignorant of how much the laws have changed in recent years and of outstanding income differentials and insurance policy inequities. What they are usually objecting to are particular radical feminists or parodies of them. By most accounts, Daly is a radical feminist, more radical in the years after she published Beyond God the Father than she was then. Indeed, her career might be profitably studied for an understanding of the evolution of radical feminist thought. Personally, I feel thankful that I started college just when gender issues were becoming publicly discussed and after Grinnell College had already developed a self-conscious feminist movement within its more generally progressive student organizations. Indeed, by the time I graduated there was also a men's movement allied to the feminists and substantially influenced, if not dominated, by guys who weren't simply heterosexual. I belonged to a men's discussion group there myself. The challenges posed by the radicals are much more subtle than matters of pay or legal equity. If effective, they raise to consciousness the tacit assumptions of society, the unconscious presuppositions about self and others. Some of these may be more than unconscious. They may be actively repressed, the kind of ideas which one would never want to be associated with. When challenged, one is prone to dismiss, if not aggressively deny, the challenge. In fact, one may earnestly seek the offensive factors and be unable to find them. Perhaps they aren't there. Perhaps, however, they are abundantly evident to others in one's behavior. Thus it is essential that some of the work of uncovering repressions be done in social settings with others. Books alone don't, can't do the job. It seems that most of my sexual, racial, class--one can go on and on--assumptions are deeply rooted in upbringing and culture. I am, perhaps inescapably, sexist, racist and elitist. Knowing this, knowing why and wherefrom, does allow me some greater measure of control, however. Such, in reference to Daly's focus, theology, is how I have been able to appropriate something meaningful from the traditional (since Augustine) Catholic doctrine of original sin: I am, by nature, imperfect. I am probably incapable of entirely overcoming impulses to act badly, but, knowing this, I am best able to attempt to act properly. Of course, I've got a long way to go in terms of self-understanding. I can imagine wanting to kill, even torture, others and have, so far, managed to avoid doing so or to avoid even falling into the rages which might result in such behavior. Here, the self-knowledge has been clearly helpful. I have trouble, however, relating to some kinds of sexual behavior and ideation. There are even things I come across that I'd never thought of before. For instance, a book I recently read about the "sexual revolution" got me to think for the first time about the motives of persons who want to change their genders by simply telling the stories of a few such persons in a sympathetic light. That opened a door for me, at least a crack. I am very much interested in being exposed to material which opens such doors and broadens my sense of self beyond the narrow confines of my known existence. A healthy, middle-class white male with a U.S. passport could go on and on about this kind of stuff. It is hard for us to appreciate what it feels like to put down, oppressed or negatively "profiled".

  2. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    Really intriguing ideas, but also very much White Feminism.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    This book is important. I think even those Christians who reject her ungendering of God (as I ultimately do) cannot fail to acknowledge what she says: "By making God man, we make man God." This is certainly how it has played out historically. I love the ardor and anger of this book. This book is important. I think even those Christians who reject her ungendering of God (as I ultimately do) cannot fail to acknowledge what she says: "By making God man, we make man God." This is certainly how it has played out historically. I love the ardor and anger of this book.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    This book will make you NOT ever want to step into another church ever again...

  5. 5 out of 5

    MyLan

    Evil

  6. 4 out of 5

    Debbie Hoskins

    I read this after I was getting over the love of my life. I agree with Carl Jung's quote that drugs and alcohol are a low level search for God. I've always been a seeker. So I read this trying to get over my lusts and find a God I could believe in. I read this after I was getting over the love of my life. I agree with Carl Jung's quote that drugs and alcohol are a low level search for God. I've always been a seeker. So I read this trying to get over my lusts and find a God I could believe in.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Mueller

    My favorite theology book. Actually, my favorite book period.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Dwight Davis

    10/27/16, first impression: I realize this could be my patriarchy or male bias or whatever, but this feels like an adventure in burning down the house because a few rooms are pretty messed up. I'm much more persuaded by feminist theology that is more constructive and generous (i.e. She Who Is by Elizabeth Johnson) than a project that is purely deconstructive (which, really, this is how I feel about all thought, I have little patience for projects that find nothing good or positive to argue for). 10/27/16, first impression: I realize this could be my patriarchy or male bias or whatever, but this feels like an adventure in burning down the house because a few rooms are pretty messed up. I'm much more persuaded by feminist theology that is more constructive and generous (i.e. She Who Is by Elizabeth Johnson) than a project that is purely deconstructive (which, really, this is how I feel about all thought, I have little patience for projects that find nothing good or positive to argue for). I think that a lot of what Daly is doing with language is interesting as a way of breaking out of patriarchy by developing new meaning and language for feminist experience and I'm appreciative of the verve and bravery it takes to write a book like this at the time in which it was written. I guess it's just not for me. (Original rating: 2 stars) UPDATE 1/24/18 It's amazing how much of a difference a year and some change can make. As I've gotten progressively more theologically liberal over the past year, this book has come to mean something very different to me than it did at first blush. I don't see this work as purely deconstructive anymore. Neither would I be so harsh about such projects at this point, having produced a project that was mostly itself a project of deconstruction. What Daly is doing here is brilliant and forward-thinking and essential in conversations about patriarchy and Christianity. It's sort of astonishing to read this in 2018 and realize that so many of the ideas and conversations she takes to task are still happening almost 50 years after this was originally published. Patriarchy is alive and well, and Mary Daly's work is a valuable tool in combating patriarchy in Christian theology. I still have significant critiques of Daly. She's pretty transphobic, which is not the best. Her racial politics certainly leave a lot to be desired. Centering the oppression of women as the cause of all other oppressions is reductive and unhelpful, much more intersectional work needs to be done in that regard. I also still have significant critiques of her antichurch and anti-ritual/anti-liturgy approach to theology. But unfortunately many scholars have decided that Daly was too radical and too backwards to continue to be of any use. Her books are rapidly going out of print and her name rarely shows up in scholarship anymore (even if her ideas are clearly there and influential, it seems people are ashamed to attribute the ideas to her because of how out of vogue she has become). There seems to be a campaign to silence Daly and remove her thought from the theological and philosophical canons. This is highly unfortunate. Her originality in thought is so vital, and continues to be an incredible resource about God-talk and patriarchy. This book in particular presents so many interesting ideas about grammar as a way of overcoming oppression that should be widely embraced. Her critiques of complementarianism and male religious leadership are still entirely relevant. It's high time we return to Daly's work and take her seriously.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Natasha Snyder

    This book is a classic in feminist religious study. Daly does not pull any punches, and she skewers religion, politics, and every institution of our culture. I agree with most of what she says, and while I see that things are better in some ways than when she wrote the book in 1973, there are plenty of areas where things are just as bad if not worse. Daly calls upon women and forward thinking men to redefine religion. She makes the excellent point that it's not by simply calling God "Goddess" or This book is a classic in feminist religious study. Daly does not pull any punches, and she skewers religion, politics, and every institution of our culture. I agree with most of what she says, and while I see that things are better in some ways than when she wrote the book in 1973, there are plenty of areas where things are just as bad if not worse. Daly calls upon women and forward thinking men to redefine religion. She makes the excellent point that it's not by simply calling God "Goddess" or using gender neutral pronouns to talk about religion is change made. The entire structure of our religious bodies have to be changed to something non-hierarchical. As a Wiccan, it is an interesting consideration. Wicca claims to be gender equal, but most traditional covens HAVE just replaced the patriarchal God for a patriarchal Goddess. Traditional covens where the High Priestess has to be worshipped like the Goddess herself, do NOT fit Daly's idea of an egalatarian, non-hierarchical replacement for patriarchal religion. Daly seeks to redefine the entire concept of religion and religious structures (it could be argued that she really thinks there should be no structure at all to religion). It is a very heavy read, and it calls upon the reader to be familiar with many of the major feminist/anthropological writers of the 20th century. It is interesting though, and it definitely gives the reader plenty of things to think about. I would love to have learned her views on how the culture has shifted in some ways, for better or worse.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    *2.5 stars* I had a difficult time rating this book. Daly makes some intriguing insights, but also often throws the proverbial baby out with the bathwater. I'm glad to have read her book (i.e., she wraps up one on-going conversation in just 3 sentences) but I'm also curious as to what conclusions later feminist scholars have reached, on the place of the church especially. *2.5 stars* I had a difficult time rating this book. Daly makes some intriguing insights, but also often throws the proverbial baby out with the bathwater. I'm glad to have read her book (i.e., she wraps up one on-going conversation in just 3 sentences) but I'm also curious as to what conclusions later feminist scholars have reached, on the place of the church especially.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Korri

    Scooped up a copy at the Lesbian Herstory Archives's annual book sale in December 2011. Scooped up a copy at the Lesbian Herstory Archives's annual book sale in December 2011.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Lady-raygah Soso

    great book i wish all my friends reading this book before three years ago i read it all and i like it much <3

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Eyre

    "By making God man, we make man God" "By making God man, we make man God"

  14. 5 out of 5

    Dr. A

    --- Read this and reviews of other classics in Western Philosophy on the History page of www.BestPhilosophyBooks.org (a thinkPhilosophy Production). --- Mary Daly, radical feminist philosopher and theologist, has been a controversial figure both inside and outside of feminist philosophy. Nonetheless, she has inspired countless women to think deeply about spirituality and the link between spirituality, sexuality, and gender based oppressions. In Beyond God the Father: Toward a Philosophy of Women's --- Read this and reviews of other classics in Western Philosophy on the History page of www.BestPhilosophyBooks.org (a thinkPhilosophy Production). --- Mary Daly, radical feminist philosopher and theologist, has been a controversial figure both inside and outside of feminist philosophy. Nonetheless, she has inspired countless women to think deeply about spirituality and the link between spirituality, sexuality, and gender based oppressions. In Beyond God the Father: Toward a Philosophy of Women's Liberation, Daly offers a hereto unparalleled critique of Christianity that takes the religion back to its pagan roots and the spiritual practices based in women’s reproductive powers. The following review from an Amazon reader well sums up the text and the power it effects: “Some rebellious soul at my extremely fundamentalist college's library managed to procure a copy of this book when it first came out (1979 or 1980, I believe), and when I picked it up, I couldn't put it down. After I'd finished it, I began a little civil disobedience - putting up signs in the commissary to the effect that God was a sexist, the Rapture was a myth, etc. When the administration got wind of it, they called me into the Dean's office and I proudly told them I had come to realize Christianity was a sexist myth used mainly to keep women in their place. I (naively) showed him the book that had brought about this realization, Mary Daly's Beyond God the Father, and the poor guy almost had a heart attack right there in the office. The end result was, I was "allowed" to stay (though I was forbidden to post any more subversive signs) and the library was warned not to purchase any more books by that author. Fortunately, they ignored that directive, and I ignored mine, and as a result, had a much more exciting time in college than I'd ever dreamed. What a great book!” — Chrissy the Stooges Woman, Amazon Reader Review Written in an accessible but lyrical style, Beyond God the Father should not be missed. Readers as diverse as those interested in theology, the history of Christianity, radical feminist thought, and paganism will get a lot out of this book, even if it will likely be a shock to their system. --- Read this and reviews of other classics in Western Philosophy on the History page of www.BestPhilosophyBooks.org (a thinkPhilosophy Production). ---

  15. 5 out of 5

    Brandon

    I wish I had taken notes on this book as I went through it because there are definitely plenty of things to talk about once you finish this. Having met her a year or two before she died, I knew it was a once in a life time chance to see her speak and pick up a book. Most of my friends picked up her last book, but I was far more interested in this one dealing with religion... and I'm glad I picked it up and got it signed. There were plenty if things that were eye opening and there were plenty of I wish I had taken notes on this book as I went through it because there are definitely plenty of things to talk about once you finish this. Having met her a year or two before she died, I knew it was a once in a life time chance to see her speak and pick up a book. Most of my friends picked up her last book, but I was far more interested in this one dealing with religion... and I'm glad I picked it up and got it signed. There were plenty if things that were eye opening and there were plenty of things I wholeheartedly disagreed with, but I think that's what makes philosophy interesting. There were some pretty dense spots and others were a quick read. If you can put your mind to it, then I think it is worth the read. The last section in her conclusion I thought was particularly strong, powerful, and emotional. It was a fantastic conclusion.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Gloria

    I won't claim to have finished this, but did become reasonably acquainted with the contents. This is a historic (early 1970s)feminist look at theology. Strong statements reflect the passion of those times insisting that everyone, but women in particular, question the words they use and the actions they live by as they think about God, about culture and society, and ourselves. This is an author who emphasizes words by capitalizing, underlining, separating, etc. so there is strong notation include I won't claim to have finished this, but did become reasonably acquainted with the contents. This is a historic (early 1970s)feminist look at theology. Strong statements reflect the passion of those times insisting that everyone, but women in particular, question the words they use and the actions they live by as they think about God, about culture and society, and ourselves. This is an author who emphasizes words by capitalizing, underlining, separating, etc. so there is strong notation included. She suggests we have been fed a certain way to think and we need to wake up. This book made a big impact when first published. It is interesting that only recently are we beginning to see some of the changes she suggests are in order: female pastors, openly gay relationships in church, and more. Thought provoking. This is dense, heavy academic reading.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Holly

    Deeply thought-provoking. She begins from the assumption that theology itself, and the Church itself, are corrupted by misogyny not only in form but also in principle. From there, she makes a full critique and describes her vision of a way forward, out of patriarchal religion.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Daniela

    Very radical feminism, to the point of enchanting the reader with the outrageousness of her artful wit!

  19. 5 out of 5

    John schlue

    I must say that as a re-read I'm enjoying this more the second time around. Interesting perspective that Daly creates. I must say that as a re-read I'm enjoying this more the second time around. Interesting perspective that Daly creates.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Meredith

    this lady is out of her mind crazy fun!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Angela Joyce

    There is so much in this to enlighten and enrage a person. I wish it didn't have to be so true. There is so much in this to enlighten and enrage a person. I wish it didn't have to be so true.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Colleen

    While stimulating, I think that Mary Daly's views are hard to translate into practice. While stimulating, I think that Mary Daly's views are hard to translate into practice.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Pamela Boswell

    It takes a lot to blow my mind. My mind was blown and I was changed after reading this.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Lucy

    [alcohol /] . . . . This book features some truly one-of-a-kind, refreshingly upending theological ideas...and an unsettling amount of transmisogyny and racism. Mary Daly was indomitable in her thought, for better in her dealings with the church and other institutions throughout her life, and for worse in terms of who she included in her fold. You will find yourself uncomfortable in ways you never knew you needed and in ways you definitely did not. On this note, some of her recurring key words may in [alcohol /] . . . . This book features some truly one-of-a-kind, refreshingly upending theological ideas...and an unsettling amount of transmisogyny and racism. Mary Daly was indomitable in her thought, for better in her dealings with the church and other institutions throughout her life, and for worse in terms of who she included in her fold. You will find yourself uncomfortable in ways you never knew you needed and in ways you definitely did not. On this note, some of her recurring key words may inspire one to roll their eyes, but a generous reader will blame at least half of that on the time. In the end, a worthwhile text for students of religious and/or gender studies or those interested, but to be read with several grains of salt. In fact, take some lemon and tequila with you, too.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Stef Rozitis

    I am so glad I read this and anything that didn't resound with me makes sense when I see that this book is in fact older than me! Daly has an angry, uncompromising tone that will not sit well with all readers but apart from occasionally seeming to go "too far" mainly validated and emboldened me (which is something I really need). She has been accused of essentialism but I didn't find it necessary to read this book that way, I rather think that post-structuralist insights can be slotted into Daly' I am so glad I read this and anything that didn't resound with me makes sense when I see that this book is in fact older than me! Daly has an angry, uncompromising tone that will not sit well with all readers but apart from occasionally seeming to go "too far" mainly validated and emboldened me (which is something I really need). She has been accused of essentialism but I didn't find it necessary to read this book that way, I rather think that post-structuralist insights can be slotted into Daly's thinking considering her aim is for an androgenaety of being beyond binary gender and her desire to find what is good (but silenced) within femaleness and bring that with us. Her tendency to view both femininity and masculinity as each one monolithic thing throughout history is misguided I would say and might be what leads her to the (wrong) assertion that sexism is the ultimate evil and far worse than (for example) racism. The idea of intersectionality had not been nutted out at the time when Daly was writing but it must be admitted she is naive about the experiences of non-white people (and women in particular) and largely blind to her own privileged position. This detracts from an argument that in many ways bears thinking about, it is possible that capitalism and consumerism DO in fact stem from patriarchy and cannot be undone without gender equity. The only issue then is that by ignoring the toxic feminities that are implicated within capitalism (that might possibly be seen as products of patriarchy admittedly) the place of the woman is insufficiently reflexive given that our participation keeps fuelling the systems that oppress us. I'd like to dismiss Daly's post-Christian attitudes and her thesis that Christ has become an idol. I'd like to find some good in the tradition I grew up with because I think emptiness where religion used to be is not necessarily good for people. I end up caught between Scylla and Charybdis because I can;t completely disagree with the way Daly shows the (male) power of the church working throughout history. Anyway it helped me think and rethink a reflection I had to present. It was a worthwhile read both personally and as one that has influenced later writers that I read. For anyone who wants to really grapple with women's experience of religion and reality this is something you probably need to read. Whether or not you can stomach the strong emotion...

  26. 4 out of 5

    Nenad

    The book is a good source on the early days of feminist theology, when it was far from clear what shape and form the new academic discipline would take in the coming decades. Daly's strand of theological thought has since become a minority standpoint, and already by this book it isn't difficult to see why. I'm tempted to say Daly was too radical in her deconstruction of traditional theology, but that wouldn't be fair to her project. If radicalism implies return to the roots, that's not what Daly The book is a good source on the early days of feminist theology, when it was far from clear what shape and form the new academic discipline would take in the coming decades. Daly's strand of theological thought has since become a minority standpoint, and already by this book it isn't difficult to see why. I'm tempted to say Daly was too radical in her deconstruction of traditional theology, but that wouldn't be fair to her project. If radicalism implies return to the roots, that's not what Daly was about. Where she is interested in the roots, it's only to crush them to death. The first several chapters sounded fresh and promising. Removing the cobwebs of stale - and in many ways fake - theologizing, Daly presented new ways of thinking theology in the 20th century, which one may still find inspiring. There are excellent and insightful passages there about the role of women and Bible interpretation, among other subjects. Towards the end of the book, however, her endorsement of highly questionable theories of matriarchy (see Bachofen) sounded terribly dated, and all conclusions she proceeded to derive from them erroneous. Briefly put, the book is great if what you want is to catch a glimpse of "radical" 1970s feminist theology. As to its relevance today, it's highly limited by far superior works within the field.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca Hecking

    Fabulous stuff if you are ready for it. Very radical, thought provoking, no holes barred, and full of righteous anger. Powerful. Not for the faint of heart. If you read "Dissident Daughter" and were just fine with it and didn't bat an eye, you are ready for Daly. If you are new to feminist theology or feeling a little wobbly, you might want to try something a little more gentle first, like Elizabeth Johnson's She Who Is. Fabulous stuff if you are ready for it. Very radical, thought provoking, no holes barred, and full of righteous anger. Powerful. Not for the faint of heart. If you read "Dissident Daughter" and were just fine with it and didn't bat an eye, you are ready for Daly. If you are new to feminist theology or feeling a little wobbly, you might want to try something a little more gentle first, like Elizabeth Johnson's She Who Is.

  28. 4 out of 5

    John Hawkins

    I remember this being radical when I read it and I remember liking it, but the only thing I truly remember is that in the framework of Liberation theology in which the oppressed can identify with Jesus, because he was oppressed. He lived in an occupied country, was a member of the poor working class, vilified by his own people. Daly wrote that there is one way Jesus could not identify. He was not a woman and in no way could identify the plight of being a woman.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I have to be honest with my rating. Maybe it's just not my style of book. And I have to add that to my "it was okay" two-star rating that this is no way a reflection on the theologies and ideas Daly is presenting -- I'm mostly on board with those. But as for presentation, I couldn't finish the book and stopped about a chapter and a half early. I have to be honest with my rating. Maybe it's just not my style of book. And I have to add that to my "it was okay" two-star rating that this is no way a reflection on the theologies and ideas Daly is presenting -- I'm mostly on board with those. But as for presentation, I couldn't finish the book and stopped about a chapter and a half early.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Danielle

    I hope to finish this one someday soon.

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