Women, Wisdom, and Witness: Engaging Contexts in Conversation

By Crysdale, Cynthia S. W. | Anglican Theological Review, Spring 2014 | Go to article overview

Women, Wisdom, and Witness: Engaging Contexts in Conversation


Crysdale, Cynthia S. W., Anglican Theological Review


Women, Wisdom, and Witness: Engaging Contexts in Conversation. Edited by Rosemary R Carbine and Kathleen J. Dolphin. Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical Press, 2012. xx + 292 pp. $34.95 (paper).

This book follows the genre of feminist writings over the last four decades-an anthology of topical articles by women scholars. It differs in a number of ways, however. There are new voices here, a new generation of Roman Catholic women rather than the well-known founders of feminist discourse in theology. At the same time, the book celebrates the old and the new by including at the beginning of each of the three sections an excerpt from the very first Madaleva Lecture by Monika Hellwig.

This connection with the Madaleva Lectures and the Center for Spirituality at St. Marys College, Notre Dame, Indiana further contributes to the books uniqueness. In addition to the annual Madaleva Lectures, inaugurated in 1985 with Hellwigs lecture, for the last ten years the Center for Spirituality has sponsored the New Voices Seminar in conjunction with the lecture. The purpose of the New Voices Seminar is "to provide an opportunity for women scholars, particularly those who are at a relatively early stage of their career, to share energetic conversations with each other, to learn from the wisdom of more experienced women scholars, and to create a supportive community of women academics" (pp. ix-x). This book is dedicated to Monika Hellwig (d. 2005) and celebrates the tenth anniversary of the New Voices Seminar.

Though the book emerges from the women who have participated in this seminar, it is not merely a reportage of presentations from a conference. This, presumably, gave the editors the chance to select topics and authors in a way that could form a whole. At the same time, the book does reflect a community of dialogue from within a group of women with a shared history. The book's format reflects this history and this approach; the grounding of the work in Hellwigs lecture at the beginning of each section is rounded off with a conversation among the authors, facilitated by yet another scholar, at the end of each section. The book mirrors the dialogical format of the seminars and allows the authors to interact, discover new insights, and draw conclusions while the reader "listens in."

As mentioned, the book is divided into three sections. Section I, "Women's Experience in Context," focuses on suffering and resistance. The second section, "Women s Wisdom in Context," examines academia and higher education. …

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