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Sexism and God Talk: Toward a Feminist Theology

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How did a religion whose founding proponents advocated a shocking disregard of earthly ties come to extol the virtues of the "traditional" family? In this richly textured history of the relationship between Christianity and the family Rosemary Radford Ruether traces the development of these centerpieces of modern life to reveal the misconceptions at the heart of the "famil How did a religion whose founding proponents advocated a shocking disregard of earthly ties come to extol the virtues of the "traditional" family? In this richly textured history of the relationship between Christianity and the family Rosemary Radford Ruether traces the development of these centerpieces of modern life to reveal the misconceptions at the heart of the "family values" debate.


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How did a religion whose founding proponents advocated a shocking disregard of earthly ties come to extol the virtues of the "traditional" family? In this richly textured history of the relationship between Christianity and the family Rosemary Radford Ruether traces the development of these centerpieces of modern life to reveal the misconceptions at the heart of the "famil How did a religion whose founding proponents advocated a shocking disregard of earthly ties come to extol the virtues of the "traditional" family? In this richly textured history of the relationship between Christianity and the family Rosemary Radford Ruether traces the development of these centerpieces of modern life to reveal the misconceptions at the heart of the "family values" debate.

30 review for Sexism and God Talk: Toward a Feminist Theology

  1. 5 out of 5

    Wally

    Very challenging for a guy who grew up in a standard midwestern U.S. evangelical church. Folks like us aren't generally very comfortable with alternative interpretations of the Holy Writ, believing our views to one step short of directly inspired by God himself (and that's most definitely a "him" there). The role of women is contentious in the modern evangelical church, but she places in the issue in a more theoretical and historically-informed context than most of us are used to or comfortable Very challenging for a guy who grew up in a standard midwestern U.S. evangelical church. Folks like us aren't generally very comfortable with alternative interpretations of the Holy Writ, believing our views to one step short of directly inspired by God himself (and that's most definitely a "him" there). The role of women is contentious in the modern evangelical church, but she places in the issue in a more theoretical and historically-informed context than most of us are used to or comfortable hearing about. Ruether wrote this book several decades ago, but her ideas and critiques remain blistering. She'll leave you feeling extremely uncomfortable if you haven't already made an effort to expose yourself to these ideas (which get very little attention from pulpits or mainstream religious commenters). Without going into a discussion of specific ideas in this book, I recommend this important book for everyone. I reserve my highest recommendations, however, for those believers who are immersed in the neo-conservative, mega-church theology so common in the U.S. today. You probably won't enjoy this book, but engaging with these ideas will challenge you. You might even find yourself a better person by the end.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Amy Dix

    This book gave me a lot to think about. She calls into question a lot of the philosophical assumptions of Christianity, like the transcendent approach to spirituality, which claims that the spiritual, non-corporeal world is really what's important. This leads to asceticism, since our bodies are evil and our passions must be denied, and an eschalotogical view of history which leads up to a final salvation of our souls. This is influenced heavily, apparently, by Plato's philosophy of ideal forms, This book gave me a lot to think about. She calls into question a lot of the philosophical assumptions of Christianity, like the transcendent approach to spirituality, which claims that the spiritual, non-corporeal world is really what's important. This leads to asceticism, since our bodies are evil and our passions must be denied, and an eschalotogical view of history which leads up to a final salvation of our souls. This is influenced heavily, apparently, by Plato's philosophy of ideal forms, where the non-corporeal is actually more true and more real. (I've recently been hearing talk about how Hellenic philosophy and Christianity were related, but this is the first time I saw an explication that included the consequences of this relationship.) Women are mothers, and thus perpetuate original sin, which can only be atoned for in a new birth, baptism and conversion. Women represent the body, lust, sin, mortality, all the things that need to be shunned in order for the soul to transcend. Therefore they are devalued in society and within the church. The new social order that Ruether suggests is rather utopian (the person who read my library copy before me left lots of snarky marginalia) but seems a more liberatory approach to religion, and something worth looking into more.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Cana

    An incredible entrance to feminist theology. RRR was in many ways a forerunner, and her work is the ground on which many modern scholars have laid theirs. I recommend this as a first read for those trying to understand feminist theology.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Alice

    Fascinating, deeply challenging, an important game-changer for me.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Marguerite

    Rosemary Radford Ruether does a good job of summarizing the dilemmas faced by Christian feminists and critiquing the institutional churches -- to a point. Some mainstream religious groups have dug in their heels since the first edition of this was published in 1983 (and the revision in 1993). And, a lot of her writing, while interesting, is academic. As a feminist of faith, I now can better articulate my discontent. I know there are others in the same boat. Maybe it's better suited for a follow- Rosemary Radford Ruether does a good job of summarizing the dilemmas faced by Christian feminists and critiquing the institutional churches -- to a point. Some mainstream religious groups have dug in their heels since the first edition of this was published in 1983 (and the revision in 1993). And, a lot of her writing, while interesting, is academic. As a feminist of faith, I now can better articulate my discontent. I know there are others in the same boat. Maybe it's better suited for a follow-up book, but this doesn't help me walk the walk. It's nice to think about a single-sex utopian community, but finding one -- and the means to pursue it -- is another matter. I'm comfortable with theology, having read it for many years, but I think some of Ruether's writing could be off-putting for the uninitiated. I'd like some updates. "God did not speak once upon a time to a privileged group of males in one part of the world, making us ever after dependent on the codification of their experience." Quoting Robert Palmer, "First the God, then the song and then the story." "The starting point for feminist theology, perhaps all theology, is cognitive dissonance." "The uniqueness of feminist theology lies not in its use of the criterion of experience but rather in its use of women's experience, which has been almost entirely shut out of theological reflection." "The parent model for the divine has negative resonance. ... God becomes a neurotic parent who does not want us to grow up." "Women have to suspect that the entire symbolic universe that surrounds them, which has socialized them to their roles, is deeply tainted by hostility to their humanity. ... An entire social and symbolic universe crumbles . ... The very grammar they have been taught to use to express themselves, the symbols they use to praise God ... become bitter-tasting." A feminist creed "would not be fixed but open to continual revision as the community expands its vision of what liberation means."

  6. 4 out of 5

    Micah

    I'm no expert, but if I were to recommend one book on feminist theology to your prototypical person on the street, this would be the one. Ruether systematically goes through all the big topics of Christian theology - the concept of G-d, Christology, church, eschatology, etc. - and critiques the traditional understandings of them while offering a new, life-affirming vision of how we can understand them in a redemptive way. Also, this book, while never dumbing anything down, can be read by non-aca I'm no expert, but if I were to recommend one book on feminist theology to your prototypical person on the street, this would be the one. Ruether systematically goes through all the big topics of Christian theology - the concept of G-d, Christology, church, eschatology, etc. - and critiques the traditional understandings of them while offering a new, life-affirming vision of how we can understand them in a redemptive way. Also, this book, while never dumbing anything down, can be read by non-academics and laypeople just as well as by academics. While this book is (somehow) three decades old now, its arguments still hold up tremendously well. I honestly believe that any Christian would gain immensely from reading this masterwork; I know I have.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Emmy

    she explores the new christianity from spongs and robinsons perspective (although i dont think she explicitly states this) and incorporates a feminist perspective (in this case that means beign aware of domination that exists in god-talk...) I really loved one of her conclusions that the old view where God is above man who is above woman, and that man should dominate the earth, is a patriarchal dominative perspective. To view our relationship to the earth in a feminist perspective would be to re she explores the new christianity from spongs and robinsons perspective (although i dont think she explicitly states this) and incorporates a feminist perspective (in this case that means beign aware of domination that exists in god-talk...) I really loved one of her conclusions that the old view where God is above man who is above woman, and that man should dominate the earth, is a patriarchal dominative perspective. To view our relationship to the earth in a feminist perspective would be to respect it and love it.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Angela Joyce

    This got my head whirling and my blood boiling! Though it was written in the early '80s, not enough has changed. It's still highly relevant, and it's a galvanizing book, to say the least. This got my head whirling and my blood boiling! Though it was written in the early '80s, not enough has changed. It's still highly relevant, and it's a galvanizing book, to say the least.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Aurore

    Sexism and God-talk pose les bases d'une réflexion théologique féministe qui se ne limite pas à l'orthodoxie chrétienne. Rosemary Radford Ruether interroge et critique de nombreux aspects du christianisme et développe une théologie centrée sur la libération des femmes. Elle aborde notamment le monothéisme masculin, le rapport à la nature et au corps, l'anthropologie patriarcale, les conséquences de l'eschatologie, le mal et la rédemption etc. La lecture de ce livre est assez exigeante, il traite Sexism and God-talk pose les bases d'une réflexion théologique féministe qui se ne limite pas à l'orthodoxie chrétienne. Rosemary Radford Ruether interroge et critique de nombreux aspects du christianisme et développe une théologie centrée sur la libération des femmes. Elle aborde notamment le monothéisme masculin, le rapport à la nature et au corps, l'anthropologie patriarcale, les conséquences de l'eschatologie, le mal et la rédemption etc. La lecture de ce livre est assez exigeante, il traite de nombreux domaines : l'écoféminisme, la religion babylonienne, le gnosticisme et autres courants chrétiens alternatifs, le marxisme, la pensée grecque entre autres. Même si je suis en désaccord avec certaines de ses conclusions, Rosemary Radford Ruether propose une analyse riche et précise du christianisme et suscite une réflexion nécessaire. J'ai trouvé le chapitre 6, Mariology as Symbolic Ecclesiology : Repression or Liberation ? particulièrement éclairant.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Ward

    Ruether touches on a large number of topics related to feminism, patriarchy, religion, capitalism, environmentalism, and more. She illuminates these topics in a rigorous but accessible fashion. Some parts are better than others, but when she really gets going, she if full of righteous indignation and espouses a clear vision forward for the church, society, and humankind in which women are not invited in to the privileged world of males, but instead our fundamental understanding of what it means Ruether touches on a large number of topics related to feminism, patriarchy, religion, capitalism, environmentalism, and more. She illuminates these topics in a rigorous but accessible fashion. Some parts are better than others, but when she really gets going, she if full of righteous indignation and espouses a clear vision forward for the church, society, and humankind in which women are not invited in to the privileged world of males, but instead our fundamental understanding of what it means to be human and interconnected with nature, God, and one another is changed and deepened in a continual conversion.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Angela

    Originally published in 1983, Sexism and God Talk is Radford Ruether's complex analysis of sexism spanning historical, theological, Christian, and political contexts. It remains extraordinarily relevant in 2020 - which in itself is a testament to how resistant our systems are to the advancement of women's equality. This is an important read for anyone seriously interested in the study of feminism and particularly feminist theology. Originally published in 1983, Sexism and God Talk is Radford Ruether's complex analysis of sexism spanning historical, theological, Christian, and political contexts. It remains extraordinarily relevant in 2020 - which in itself is a testament to how resistant our systems are to the advancement of women's equality. This is an important read for anyone seriously interested in the study of feminism and particularly feminist theology.

  12. 4 out of 5

    ø

    a tour de force of christian theology (and the sexism it contains) from its jewish origins to karl barth. not only does ruether diagnose the oppressive qualities of christianity astutely, but she also recommends theological and pastoral changes that the church needs to make in order to reconnect woman with her authentic self (and to understand the authentic nature of god).

  13. 4 out of 5

    Louise Omer

    Essential reading for an intro to feminist theology.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Madison Boboltz

    *4.5

  15. 5 out of 5

    Julia

    Rosemary Radford Reuther, as one of the pioneering women of feminist theology, does a fantastic job of explaining some of the problems of sexism and God Talk. I found this book very interesting, especially in how it access the implicit ways that sexism is built into religion and society. Its chapters on nature and how women's connection to nature, although empowering, can also be counterproductive against the idea of men overpowering women, were also very interesting. Rosemary Radford Reuther, as one of the pioneering women of feminist theology, does a fantastic job of explaining some of the problems of sexism and God Talk. I found this book very interesting, especially in how it access the implicit ways that sexism is built into religion and society. Its chapters on nature and how women's connection to nature, although empowering, can also be counterproductive against the idea of men overpowering women, were also very interesting.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sasha Wolf

    This is a classic - I read it while studying for my theology degree in the early 1990s. Definitely worth a read if you're interested in Christian theology. This is a classic - I read it while studying for my theology degree in the early 1990s. Definitely worth a read if you're interested in Christian theology.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    Read this in 1995,but it's time to re-read it. Read this in 1995,but it's time to re-read it.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Molly Jo

    This was a text for a Christian Feminist Theology class I took in college. If you have an interest in the subject matter, it's a VERY good read. I HIGHLY recommend Ruether. This was a text for a Christian Feminist Theology class I took in college. If you have an interest in the subject matter, it's a VERY good read. I HIGHLY recommend Ruether.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Olivia

    Majority read

  20. 4 out of 5

    Melanie

    Selections - "Sexism and God-Language: Male and Female Images of the Divine" Selections - "Sexism and God-Language: Male and Female Images of the Divine"

  21. 5 out of 5

    Debbie Blane

    The book is dated, however since it took me over 30 years to read it I think that is to be expected. It is a good primer on Feminist Theology and I certainly gleaned new thinking and ideas.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Autumn

  23. 5 out of 5

    Michele Minor

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sophie Kanter

  25. 4 out of 5

    David Scott

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sue

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

  28. 5 out of 5

    Andreea Timu

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kes Amesley

  30. 4 out of 5

    Susan Thompson

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