She Who Is: The Mystery of God in Feminist Theological Discourse

Front Cover
Crossroad Publishing Company, 1992 - Religion - 316 pages
14 Reviews
In the late fourth century debate over the question whether Jesus Christ was truly divine or simply a creature subordinate to God the Father was so wide spread that Gregory of Nyssa was led to remark: "Even the baker does not cease from discussing this, for if you ask the price of bread he will tell you that the Father is greater and the Son subject to him". In our own day, says Elizabeth Johnson, an analogous debate over "right speech about God is exceptionally alive in a new way thanks...to a sizable company of bakers, women who historically have borne the primary responsibility for lighting the cooking fires and feeding the world". In She Who Is Elizabeth Johnson attempts to "braid a footbridge between the ledges of classical theology and feminist theology", and in so doing offers the most solidly grounded case to date for using women's experience and female imagery to describe the Christian experience of God. With an extraordinary control of the history of Christian God-talk from the Cappadocians to contemporary theologians, and with an acute sensitivity to the varieties of womens experience today, Johnson shows in countless ways how feminist language about God belongs in our pulpits and at our altars. Put in starkest terms, the questions this book poses are two: Can the Christian doctrine of God accommodate a thoroughgoing feminist approach? And can feminist theology learn anything from classical Christian discourse about God? Johnson's response to the first is to show how feminist theology, drawing on women's interpreted experience and a critical retrieval of elements in Scripture and tradition, can enable speech about God previously closed to the imagination - that it can movethe tradition from an androcentric to a genuinely liberating view of God. To the second question Johnson responds by showing how the classical tradition can add density to feminist speech about God, directing attention to the vast scope of divine activity. Women's reality is thus fully capax Dei, capable not only of receiving and bearing the divine but of symbolizing it as well. The achievement of She Who Is is to be found not only in its compelling argument, in its broad learning, in the comfort it will give women and the discomfort it will cause business-as-usual churchmen but also in its rhetorical range and literary skill. Its language is, in turn, powerful, evocative, learned, playful, parenetic, subtle - suitable, insofar as language can ever be, to the dark and gracious mystery it attempts to disclose.

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Review: She Who Is: The Mystery of God in Feminist Theological Discourse

User Review  - Ruth Billington - Goodreads

Excellent! Read full review

Review: She Who Is: The Mystery of God in Feminist Theological Discourse

User Review  - Bjørn Peterson - Goodreads

Good explanation and unpacking of many feminist theological ideas. Doesn't go as far as some other authors and isn't particularly gripping. Read full review

Contents

FEMINIST THEOLOGY
17
WOMENS INTERPRETED EXPERIENCE
61
SCRIPTURE AND ITS TRAJECTORIES
76
CLASSICAL THEOLOGY
104
Part III
121
JESUSSOPHIA
150
Part IV
189
SHE WHO IS
224
COMPASSION POURED OUT
246
EPILOGUE
273
INDEX OF AUTHORS
307
INDEX OF SUBJECTS
313
Copyright

About the author (1992)

Elizabeth A. Johnson is manager of the Metropolitan Biodiversity Program of the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation, American Museum of Natural History.

Michael W. Klemens is a senior conservationist at the Wildlife Conservation Society and director of its Metropolitan Conservation Alliance.

Bibliographic information