Reviews - What do customers think about In Memory of Her: A Feminist Theological Reconstruction of Christian Origins?
A "Must Read" Jan 25, 2001
Those not familiar with Elisabeth's work might do well to read her article entitled, "Feminist Theology as a Critical Theology of Liberation". That article, published in a number of edited collections of feminist theology, lays out the methodology she uses in, "In Memory of Her". Just as important, those not familiar with her work should begin this book with the understanding that it demands to be studied, not just read, very carefully. It is not a written motivational talk, i.e. to help women feel better about themselves. Women are not the problem. The book is written to challenge the deeply embedded assumptions scholars and people of faith make about biblical religion, biblical texts, and religious authority. It is the challenge, not just the book, that is formidable.
Radical scholarly work on women in early christianity Nov 9, 1999
From Biblical and extra-canonical literature, Schussler-Fiorenza gleans many little jewels of insight into the role of women in the early church. She compares the epistles of Peter and Paul, which enjoin restraint and submission of women, to the writers of the primary Gospels who emphasize altruistic love and service, not any form of hierarchy, as the substance of spiritual life. She relates the social conventions and legal roles of women in the ancient Roman world to the emergence of patriarchal church-institutions, in contrast to house-churches which could be headed by women. The picture which emerges is a very diverse early christian millieu in which women prophesied, presided over the eucharist, supported missionaries, and were missionaries themselves.
Unfortunately, the picture is hard to see if you are unaccustomed to the language of biblical scholarship and feminist historical reconstruction. For most people interested in feminist theology, this is not the book to start with. I wish someone would rewrite it for a broader audience. In substance it is exactly the kind of background that every woman should have, in order to understand how she has been viewed, defined, and influenced by christianity and christian-dominated culture.
It should be required reading (along with a diet of bread and water and daily flagellation) for every Catholic bishop who is not demanding the ordination of women in his church.