Religion and Sexism: Images of Woman in the Jewish and Christian Traditions

Religion and Sexism: Images of Woman in the Jewish and Christian Traditions

Religion and Sexism: Images of Woman in the Jewish and Christian Traditions

Religion and Sexism: Images of Woman in the Jewish and Christian Traditions

Excerpt

The essays in this volume have been written to fill a growing need for a more exact idea of the role of religion, specifically the Judaeo- Christian tradition, in shaping the traditional cultural images that have degraded and suppressed women. To what extent did Judaism and Christianity contribute directly to and promote this heritage of misogynism? To what extent, as is often argued, were they responsible for combating an earlier denigration of women and contributing to woman's gradual rise to a more respected position in modern times? Much of the current literature in the woman's movement has been written by women who are alienated from religion and who, although perhaps occasionally indicating a recognition of the role of the Church in this history of repression, have little historical or doctrinal information about this process. This leaves a serious gap in the understanding of the dilemma of woman's liberation, for religion has been not only a contributing factor, it is undoubtedly the single most important shaper and enforcer of the image and role of women in culture and society. If one takes either a more Marxist or a more psychological view and assumes that the real "cause" of misogynism lies on the level of the economic power struggle or on the level of an immature adolescent psyche in the male struggling for freedom from the mother, it still remains that it has been religion that has been the ideological reflection of this sexual domination and subjugation.

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