Finally, evangelical feminists generally and Evans and Storkey in particular fail to set their arguments in what must be the widest and profoundest theological context. 141–145, 183, 317. 219–227. The problem raised by such an interpretive method is that there is no control by which we might evaluate the adequacy of the assumptions brought to the exegetical task. However, this approval is only general and formal. Integrating interpretations made possible by the application of feminist hermeneutics of suspicion and remembrance, a feminist hermeneutics of proclamation seeks to give the reconstructed divine Word flesh in liturgical ritual, storytelling, Bible-centered drama, dance, song, preaching and action in ways that are genuinely inclusive of the experiences of women. The only other arguments against it are analogous: Christ chose only men for his apostles, and pastors are the inheritors of that office; only men could be priests. Evangelical feminists who uphold the integrity of the biblical text as the Word of God have done much to cause the Church to reexamine its views on the role of women in the Church. Not content just to uncover and call into question certain cultural assumptions which would hinder the freedom of women, radical elements have condemned the Bible as a whole because it is considered rife with patriarchal oppressive structures that cannot be expunged.6 Rather than call God “Father,” these non-Christian groups have identified the Fatherhood of God as part of the sin of patriarchy. The clearest example from nature is the birthing process, and no man, no matter how willing, could ever fulfill such a function. This negative principle also implies the positive principle: what does promote the full humanity of women is of the Holy, it does reflect true relation to the divine.…9. Should a Christian be a feminist?" We would rather keep our own opinions than submit to God. Now, however, the authority of the intended MEANING of the text is relativized by appealing to a hermeneutical authority that exists NOT in the text itself, but in the vantage point of the interpreter. 30 Mary J. Evans, Woman in the Bible (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1983); Elaine Storkey, What’s Right with Feminism? 7 Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, ‘Every Two Minutes: Battered Women and Feminist Interpretation’, in Russell (ed. My article, mentioned above (n. 1), explores some factors relevant in the matter. This conclusion finds support from Ruether’s comment that God is not a Christian or a Jew rather than a pagan (Sexism, p. 21). 68ff. Indeed, she maintains that biblical and theological interpretation has always taken an advocacy position without realizing it. Despite this, I have yet to encounter serious consideration by evangelicals of some issues crucial to the feminist case. On the other hand, patriarchal attempts at tyranny and domination also transgress man’s created reality and, even more, the unity and equality of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. 3:13), that curse of inequality is undone in Him. 65–78. While critical of Goddess religion (p. 40), she nevertheless admits, ‘I have some significant differences with the approach of Feminist Wicca or Goddess religion, although I also share many values with them’ (p. 41). Is this teaching about the order of Creation a reflection of past patriarchal culture, and therefore time bound and not normative, or is this order of Creation part of the divine revelation of the way God made us? 4 The Samaritan woman was the first female to preach Christ as the Messiah (John 4:29), Paul’s considering of females who worked along side him in ministry as co-laborers in the Gospel, especially Priscilla (often named before her husband, Aquila), Junia (Rms. If not, then the principle-and not the Bible- is the ultimate authority.”16. However, she wants to make a virtue out of a necessity by a deliberate policy commitment to an advocacy stance, in this case one in favour of women. © 2019 | All rights reserved. Post-modern and/or liberal interpreters of the Bible introduce a new hermeneutical principle into the evaluation of the applicability of the biblical texts to the present. Working independently, Wayne Grudem and J.A. In other words, the authority is not in what the text claims to say, but in what the individual interpreter sees as the hermeneutical and authoritative key. Many gnostics held to both male and female principles in God, while the Shakers had an androgynous vision of God and Christ, anticipating a female Messiah who eventually arrived in the form of Mother Ann Lee. It helps women combine this struggle with belief in scripture. In most cases it has adopted a patriarchal advocacy structure.3, Following from these initial suggestions, Fiorenza explicitly denies that the Bible is the revelatory canon for Christian feminism. 2 “Patriarchy as and Evil That God Tolerated: Analysis and Implications For the Authority of Scripture” by Guenther Haas, The Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, Sept. 1995, pp.322-323. Answer: This question is especially important to Christian women. 16:3 & 7), 5 God and the Rhetoric of Sexuality, by Phyllis Trible, Fortress Press, Philadelphia, 1978. p. 128. Instead the feminist paradigm is one of co-operation, partnership, community, a circle of interdependence in the shared story of God’s love rather than doctrinal consensus. However, the main theme which pervades both Christian and non-Christian feminism is the agenda of promoting the full humanity and equality of women. And when they had a question about part of the service or message they did not understand, they were being quite rude, shouting their questions to their husbands across the room during the middle of the message. 1 See my article, ‘The Man-Woman Debate: Theological Comment’, in The Westminster Theological Journal52 (1990), pp. 22 Sheila Collins, ‘Reflections on the Meaning of Herstory’, in Carol P. Christ and Judith Plaskow (eds), Womanspirit Rising: A Feminist Reader in Religion (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1979), pp. They have tried to faithfully reapply a cultural convention of Middle Eastern society to modern Western society through a dynamically equivalent practice. Her book In memory of her (1983) is still the most important single contribution in the area. As such, it is not the reality, the thing to be known (whether the Bible, God or Christ), but the personal commitments of the interpreter that assume critical and determinative significance. Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. On any other issue a procedure such as this would be laughed out of court and the professional integrity of the practitioner be irretrievably lost. On the positive side, a feminist hermeneutics of suspicion prepares the way for a feminist hermeneutics of remembrance that reconstructs historical texts from women's perspectives, restoring women to Christian history and women's religious history to Christianity. Letty Russell poses the question: are Jewish and Christian feminists to be faithful to Scripture or to their own integrity? Therefore, these elements cannot be authoritative. So the harmony of the home leads to freedom to ministry in the Church. We recall how George Tyrell described Adolf von Harnack gazing down the well of history to see at the bottom the reflection of a liberal bourgeois German face. 16 Zikmund, in Russell (ed. That would be an inversion of God’s order for the home. 33 Peter Cotterell and Max Turner, Linguistics and Biblical Interpretation (London: SPCK, 1989), pp. Evangelical feminists as well as patriarchal traditionalists will do well to consider this. 21 Ruether, Womanguides, pp. Fiorenza herself certainly sanctions a highly imaginative reconstrual of early Christian history in her adoption of the apocryphal hypothesis of a serious vendetta between the apostle Peter and Mary Magdalene that led to Peter assuming a prominence which Jesus had not given him and which consigned Mary Magdalene (Jesus’ primary apostle) to the historical dustbin. They are not imposed on the Godhead but are part of the historic Christian faith. On the one hand, religious feminists such as Mary Daly and the witch Starhawk explicitly repudiate the Christian faith. BUT that church may not ask women to wear hats at all and would think hats only a cultural example of the principle of reverent behavior. Christian feminists recognize that liturgy (conceived here as any form of communal worship) is important to the faith life of Christians. “hermeneutics of creative ritualization” or “actualization”). In her discussion of the NT teaching, she considers the Pauline letters at length. It is at this point that the problem of divergent hermeneutical assumptions must be addressed. The point is this: these extremes differ from Christian feminism in degree but not in kind. Fiorenza appears to be saying that from what you have got, you read between the lines and what you have not got you make up yourself. Reasons of space prevent everything being said at once. Fiorenza proceeds to explore Christian origins as a liberation struggle for Christian women within the patriarchal structures of Greco-Roman society.2, Consequently, following Thomas S. Kuhn’s theories, Fiorenza argues that a paradigm shift is necessary, transforming androcentric (purportedly neutral, value-free) scholarship into human (engaged) scholarship. An act of intellectual recreation is necessary in historical reconstruction.11 Fiorenza is true to her word. Ruether argues that the most ancient image of the divine was female, the Primal Matrix, the great Womb within which all things were generated (pp. The threefold classification of feminism that follows I have used elsewhere.1 The first group, evangelical feminism, consists of those who hold to evangelical theology (such as the authority of Scripture and the sufficiency of Christ as saviour) and argue for a non-hierarchical relation of full equality and reciprocity between man and woman. The Controversy over Bible Translations, Uncovering the Racist and Anti-Semitic Roots of Abortion. In other cases a hermeneutics of remembrance reclaims the suffering of women of the past and of all persons subjugated through enslavement, exile, and persecution, and recognizes them to be "dangerous memories" subversive to the status quo. Both male and female are defined as. They posit that the cultural limitations of the authors prevented them from understanding the full revelation of the meaning of God’s Word, so in as much as they were limited by their cultural assumptions, even the authors could be wrong in what they teach about morals and theology in the Bible.10 As such, the Bible ceases to be the ultimate authority or guide for the faith, and assumptions of the exegete now govern the interpretation and application of the Word of God for today.