Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

The Strength of Her Witness: Jesus Christ in the Global Voices of Women

Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

The Strength of Her Witness: Jesus Christ in the Global Voices of Women

Article excerpt

The Strength of Her Witness: Jesus Christ in the Global Voices of Women. Edited by Elizabeth A. Johnson. (Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 2016, Pp. xiii, 354. $35.00.)

"Who do you say that I am?" This question that Jesus posed to his disciples is the underlying theme of The Strength of Her Witness, an exploration of Christology from women all over the world. Editor Elizabeth A. Johnson, of Fordham University assembles a strong array of women theologians to flesh out how they view and relate to Jesus the Christ; these include African Americans and Latinas from the United States and contributors from Ghana, Nigeria, Australia, Korea, the Philippines, Brazil, Mexico, Germany, Hong Kong, and India. Two of the chapters (by Okure and McDougall) also deal with Mary Magdalene.

This rich collection cannot be easily summarized by themes across the essays. Jesus is liberator-"by countering misogynist culture" (Oduyoye, 148), for one. "Christology is centered in community and relationship," not just in individuals (Douglas, Heyward and Cardman, 84). Jesus' ministry counters imperialism (Hinga, 134) and colonialism (Chung, 104-05) and is decidedly on the side of a full humanity of equals (Fabella, 127-28). Jesus' maleness is limiting and should not be viewed as definitive: he can justifiably be viewed as mother (Berger, 316-19), Sophia/Wisdom (Wainwright, 68-69), and Christa (Leonard, 55-56). One powerful thread running through this collection is the enormous strength, resilience, and hope that emerge from the tragic testimonies of the oppression, discrimination, marginalization, injustice and inequality that women have experienced throughout history. Significantly, the images of Jesus featured in Strength come much closer to the image derived from the modern "quest for the historical Jesus"-that of a Jewish sage living at subsistence level under Roman domination-than the more traditional "meek and mild" Jesus revered by comfortable majority Christians. The portrayals of Jesus assembled in Strength-powerful, moving, and full of hope-give the lie to any thought that this figure of history and faith is irrelevant in the twenty-first century. …

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