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

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9780824519254: She Who Is: The Mystery of God in Feminist Theological Discourse

Winner of the Louisville Grawemeyer Award in Religion. This classic explains what feminist theology is and how can we rediscover the feminine God within the Christian tradition. A profound vision of Christian theology, women’s experience, and emancipation.

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About the Author:

Elizabeth A. Johnson, C.S.J., is a distinguished Professor of Theology at Fordham University in New York. She has served as President of the Catholic Theological Society of America and is the author of several books, including Consider Jesus: Waves of Renewal in Christology (Crossroad/Herder & Herder)

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(from the first chapter)

A small vignette from the late fourth century reveals how fascinating the Christian people of that time found the question of right speech about god. In a culture imbued with Greek philosophical notions, debate raged over the question of whether Jesus Christ was truly divine or whether he was a creature subordinate to God the Father. Rather than being an esoteric issue confined to theologians or bishops, this discussion engaged the participation of a broad range of people. One famous remark by Gregory of Nyssa caught the situation precisely: "Even the baker," he said, 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.

What is the right way to speak about God? This is a question of unsurpassed importance, for speech to and about the mystery that surrounds human lives and the universe itself is a key activity of a community of faith. In that speech the symbol of God functions as the primary symbol of the whole religious system, the ultimate point of reference for understanding experience, life, and the world. Hence the way in which a faith community shapes language about God implicitly represents what it takes to be the highest good, the profoundest truth, the most appealing beauty. ... A religion, for example, that would speak about a warlike god and extol the way he smashes his enemies to bits would promote aggressive group behavior. A community that would acclaim God as an arbitrary tyrant would inspire its members to acts of impatience and disrespect toward their fellow creatures. On the other hand, speech about a beneficent and loving God would forgives offenses would turn the fai! th community toward care for the neighbor and mutual forgiveness.

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