Readings in Her Story: Women in Christian Tradition

Readings in Her Story: Women in Christian Tradition

Readings in Her Story: Women in Christian Tradition

Readings in Her Story: Women in Christian Tradition

Synopsis

A unique anthology. Barbara MacHaffie has collected into one volume 74 of the most important Christian documents and passages by and about women. Ranging from Genesis to now, these primary sources put the reader directly in touch with the most significant and influential events, personalities and issues of women's religious history. Often lamentably and sometimes gloriously, these voices- ancient and modern, female and male, Roman Catholic and Protestant, feminist and patriarchal- bear decisively on women's identities today.

Excerpt

Listening and speaking, hearing and being heard—diese are themes woven insistently through the hopes for liberation held by many people in the Christian community. They point out that human beings are alienated from each other in part because they do not pay attention to the voices of others. Readings in Her Story is an anthology of historical and contemporary documents dealing with the status of women in the Christian community. It is also a meeting place for those who speak and those who listen. Here you will encounter the voices of men and women arguing persuasively with words of reason and beauty, shouting angrily with words of protest and condemnation, and questioning the way we use words. Here you will discover the mind of sexism and the will to affirm female dignity and equality. Here you will recover some of the voices of women who have been silent for so long and who have much to contribute to our understanding of the past.

I have been guided in my choice of texts by the material covered in Her Story: Women in Christian Tradition. Some of the texts themselves are discussed in Her Story, while others have been authored by men and women highlighted in that volume. All illustrate important themes and issues in the story of women in Christian history and serve to remind readers that the tradition has both patriarchal and feminist threads running through it. Each document is preceded by a brief introduction and full bibliographic citation. I have tried in the introductions to provide some information on the author of the text, the historical circumstances in which it was written, and its significance for understanding the status of women in Christian traditions. Readers might find it helpful to consult the entire text from which these excerpts have been taken in order to understand fully the development of important arguments. They may also want to supplement this book with other primary source collections, such as Rosemary Radford Ruether’s three-volume series Women and Religion in America, Joyce Irwin’s Womanhood in Radical Protestantism, 1525–1625, Alice Rossi’s The Feminist Papers, and Ann Loades’s Feminist Theology: a Reader.

Many people have helped to make this collection possible, and to them I owe my thanks. Marietta College and the Lilly Foundation have joined to provide support for this project through the college’s program of Professional Improvement Grants. Mrs. Phyllis Zoerkler of Marietta College’s . . .

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