Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Women Preachers and Prophets through Two Millennia of Christianity

Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Women Preachers and Prophets through Two Millennia of Christianity

Article excerpt

Women Preachers and Prophets through Two Millennia of Christianity. Edited by Beverly Mayne Kienzle and Pamela J. Walker. Berkeley and Los Angeles, CA and London, UK: University of California Press, 1998. xxii + 362 pp. $50.00 (cloth).

Mining the scant and sometimes hostile written evidence for women's prophecy and preaching or "delivering of a religious discourse" (p. xiv) throughout the history of Christianity compels scholars to look creatively to alternative sources such as physical evidence (art), song, education, and witness. The venerable collection of scholars in this volume (16 of the 18 are women) have thereby pieced together a mosaic of women's persistent participation in religious discourse. This volume is about recovery. The result is a picture of the varied strategies women and their supporters employed to wrestle with the ambiguity of women's authority to teach publicly and to challenge any delegitimizing resistance they encountered. The methodologies of contributors vary from essentialist-based readings, social history, historical theology, literary theory, art and music history. This volume, therefore, is also about perspective. The authors carefully navigate the volatile waters of recovery, history, and their oun categories of organization and interpretation. The insights of these scholars into their respective fields help all readers to discover a growing field which includes a wealth and breadth of approaches to the analysis of women's participation in Christian discourse from the second to the twentieth centuries.

Several distinctions arise throughout the volume which help to discern both women's won strategies for authority and the tactics of their contemporaries trying alternatively to proclaim or to silence them. It was the ambiguity of women's role that demanded the most effort throughout time. …

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