Item description for Faith of Our Foremothers by Barbara A. Keely...
Overview Here are the stories of twelve women, all religious educators, all of whom transformed the field of religious education, some long before the contemporary feminist movement. Though the women represent different times, interests, and approaches to the discipline, they all shared a commitment to creative and enthusiastic religious education.
Here are the stories of twelve women--Sophia Fahs, Hulda Niebuhr, Nelle Morton, Rachel Henderlite, Iris Cully, Norma Thompson, Olivia Pearl Stokes, Sara Little, Dorothy Jean Furnish, Freda Gardner, Letty Russell, and Maria Harris--all religious educators, all who transformed the field of religious education, some long before the contemporary feminist movement. Though the women represent different times, interests, and approaches to the discipline, they all shared a commitment to creative and enthusiastic religious education.
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Studio: Westminster John Knox Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9" Width: 6.01" Height: 0.46" Weight: 0.62 lbs.
Release Date Nov 1, 1997
Publisher Westminster John Knox Press
ISBN 0664257216 ISBN13 9780664257217
Availability 91 units. Availability accurate as of Jan 21, 2017 11:01.
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Feminist Threads Jun 26, 2003
Editor Keely has brought to gather a fine cadre of female religious educators who chronicle the lives and ministries of twelve of their "foremothers," fellow female educators of an earlier generation who have mentored the contributors. FAITH OF OUR FOREMOTHERS is a celebration of feminists who greatly influenced twentieth-century religious education. Keely states the purpose of the book as such: "It is the purpose of this book to name a few of our foremothers, lift their voices, and describe their legacies to the field of religious education that weave part of the fabric that we, the feminist educators of younger generations, claim as ours" (1).
The twelve foremothers that are included are Sophia Fahs, Hulda Niebuhr, Nelle Morton, Rachel Henderlite, Iris Cully, Norma Thompson, Olivia Pearl Stokes, Sara Little, Dorothy Jean Furnish, Freda Gardner, Letty Russell, and Maria Harris. Each chapter follows a similar design with a biographical sketch, an examination of contributions made to religious education in terms of either thought or practice, feminist threads that appear in the woman's work, and the legacy that she has left. FAITH OF OUR FOREMOTHERS is intended to be more than a collection of biographies, though. It is clear that the authors and the editor intend to inspire modern educators towards communal and liberating practice in their own respective spheres of influence.
In documenting the heritage of these notable tutors, the authors have "identify[ed] the emerging patterns of feminist approaches woven into religious education" (9). The feminist "threads" that have been "woven" into religious education include:The integration of life and experience; Education that happens in community; Liberation; Attention to power issues in emphasizing the collegiality of laity and clergy; Boundaries that extend beyond the immediate context; Integration of theory and practice; Attention to inclusive language; and, The partnership of teacher and student. While each foremother may not have exemplified each of these eight strands of feminist thought, each did epitomize many of them.
Community seems to be one theme that most all of the foremothers stressed. A comment from Henderlite illustrates this: "At every age the child will be picking up theological concepts simply from living in the community of faith" (64). Others such as Olivia Pearl Stokes and Hulda Niebuhr sought more explicit ways of fostering an egalitarian and communal disposition in their preference for discussion as a pedagogical methodology. Nelle Morton stressed mutuality by "hearing one another into speech" - a quote and concept that also influenced many of her fellow foremothers.
It worth noting the difficulty in critiquing a work of this nature as it has so many different subjects and contributors. Our critical comments might only apply to one of the many authors. In spite of this challenge we can, however, note the work of the editor, Barbara Anne Keely. Keely has done what I have witnessed few other editors do, in bringing coherence to a diverse work. Even through she had many collaborators, Keely's influence can be seen in each chapter. Each biographical essay follows a similar format that moves from biography to contributions to feminists threads to the legacy that has been left. The reader is, therefore, not left with the frustration of having to constantly adapt to completely different writing styles. To attest to this lucid coherence is not to suggest the authors were given a template that stifled their creativity; ironically, this would violate the feminist trajectory of the book! Each writer is creative and unique within the given framework. Some choose a personal approach recalling their shared experiences with the foremother, while others adopt a more detached literary review style. Keely is to be commended for bring together such a balanced, consistent text. One can only hope that a second volume would follow.