Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

In Our Own Voices: Four Centuries of American Women's Religious Writing

Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

In Our Own Voices: Four Centuries of American Women's Religious Writing

Article excerpt

BOOK REVIEWS

In Our Own Voices: Four Centuries of American Women's Religious Writing. Edited by Rosemary Skinner Keller and Rosemary Radford Ruether. Louisville, Ky.: Westminster John Knox Press, 2000. viii + 542 pp. $29.95 (paper).

Asserting that one cannot "interpret where women have been throughout four centuries on American soil without understanding the impact of religious faith on their lives and their participation in religious institutions" (p. 3), editors Keller and Ruether seek to present the "hidden voices" of women through the themes of gender and multiculturalism in this collection of writings of women from the major historic faith traditions of Catholicism, Protestantism, and Judaism, as well as from the emerging voices of Native American, Muslim, and Buddhist traditions. Each chapter seeks to cover the periods from the colonial era to the present day, and each is introduced by an essay integrating the voices of women in their multicultural worlds and placing them in a broader interpretive framework.

I believe that the editors have chosen their topics and "voices" well. Ruether's introductory essay in chapter 1, "Catholic Women in North America," describes the clash of cultures and values between Roman Catholic nuns or laywomen and the hierarchy of the Roman Church-from priests, to bishops, to popes. The documents cover concerns about education and property rights of women, the rights of religious orders over against the episcopal authorities of their bishops, the role of Catholic women in social and intellectual movements, and issues of sexism and racism. One of the most striking documents in this chapter comes from the sisters of Las Hermanas, the umbrella organization of Hispanic nuns. …

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