Religious booknotes

Gerhart, Mary

RELIC WPS B»«KII«TmS Women, religion, & Utopia Mcry Gerhart What's in a name? Some times a great tinction between sexuality (now understood as those physical features...

...ft was heartening to think new thoughts on the subject...
...It tends rather to repeat itself...
...American feminist theologians are increasingly hesitant to generalize about women's experiences without distinguishing issues of class, race, etc With this hesitation made explicit...
...The answer, as given by anthropologists and sociologists, is that symbols act as both models of and models for society...
...In the last chapter, she explores the role of the child goddess who, by being recognized in us, keeps us imagining...
...He sets the concepts ideology and Utopia in different relationships with each other, e.g., as opposed, as correlative, as incongruent with the status quo, as pathological, and as constitutive of social reality...
...RELIC WPS B»«KII«TmS Women, religion, & Utopia Mcry Gerhart What's in a name...
...Pallas Athene, Gaia, Artemis, and Aphrodite (in that sequence...
...Ricoeur calls upon Karl Marx, Louis Althusser, Karl Mannheim, Max Weber, Jurgen Habermas, ClifLectures on Ideology and Utopia, by Paul Ricoeur, ed, by George H. Taylor, Columbia University Press, $35.00, 353 pp...
...This is a most provocative book with important implications tor religious understanding These books carve out complementary foci on gender and religion a subject which so often seems either transparent or too complex to address...
...scious, or as Christine Downing says, the imaging of "who we are and what we might become...
...In her The Goddess: Mythological Images of the Feminine, Downing gives an account of what it means to "attend to" myth as a way of giving voice and vision to the unconscious...
...Ricoeur marvels that power seldom reveals its...
...Sometimes a great tinction between sexuality (now understood as those physical features having to do with human reproduction that are relatively invariant across cultures) and gender (understood as all other features related to sexuality that are relatively variable across cultures) is one that is crucial...
...h\ Arvinti Sharma, State University of New York, $34.50, $10.95 paper...
...Young a.so notices progress in scholarship on women and religion, and the essa\s reflect that progress in their treatment of history...
...Contributors include Rosemary Ruether (Christianity, Rita Gross (tribal religion.*), Katherine Young (Hinduism), NarcSchusta Barnes (Buddhism), Theresa Kdteher (Confucianism), Barbara Reed (Taoism), Denise L. Carmcdy (Judaism), and Jane Smith (Islam) The authors render the religious dimension of unfamiliar rituals plausible and, within the bounds of socialcultural analysis, intelligible...
...Women in World Religions, ed...
...Caroline Walker Bynum's introduction to Gender and Symbol: On the Complexity of Symbols pushes this view of symbol further by calling attention to the rooting of symbol in Gender and Religion: On the Complexity of Symbols, ed...
...Paul Ricoeur has given us an amazingly rich study of the concept in his Lectures on Ideology and Utopia...
...Toda...
...Its theoretical scheme, however, is more nuanced by the inclusion of historical and social differences within (as well as amon*:) the world religions...
...Such reflections bear important implications for women and men in relation to institutional religion...
...With Fricdriih N'iei/sihe, Foucault saw nature as an ' invention of human subjectivity " Megili thinks that by an aesthetic consideration ot these four prophets of extremity, pub he space will be created for changing reality...
...Do symbols reflect societal ideals or do symbols shape the ideals...
...Her essay recall* the ambitious scope of Robert Beliah's classic essay on * 'The Evolution of Religion...
...How we understand the difference between sex and gender in turn can give us new access to understanding the communal dimension of religion...
...One of the most recent developments in feminist theology is ihc application to feminist theology itself of the criticism that traditional theologians neglected to do justice to women's experience when they spoke in universalist, generic terms...
...Young defines world religions as "primarily I he major religions . and secondariK the tribal religions...
...ford Geertz, and others to develop what is probably the most comprehensive philosophical treatment of the subjects to date...
...The relation between religion and the two...
...own history...
...by Caroline Walker Bynum, Stevan Harrell, and Paula Richman, Beacon Press, $25.09,326 pp...
...Either position is meaningless, however, without a good understanding of ideology...
...Harper A Row...
...References to sexuality are few (4 entries), but it is not difficult to see the implications of his study for sexuality through related subjects, such as those of power and politics...
...Katherine K. Young's introduction to Women in World Religions deserves to become a classic...
...Carol P. Christ sets out, in hcrLuugnter of Aphrodite: Reflet lions on u Journev to the Goddea, to do ' "the >Iogy" by reflecting on the difficulties she began to have, while in graduate school, with the Chnstian and Judaic Laughter of Aphrodite: Reflections on a Journey to the Goddess, by Carol Chn>t...
...She co- authored (with Allen Russell) Metaphoric Process (Texas Christian U...
...The essays, written by the faculty of the Comparative Religion Program at the University of Washington, also exemplify the value MARY GERHART teaches hermeneuties, religion and literature at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New Yotk...
...concepts is explored at length (some 100 index entries...
...Both ideology and Utopia have symbolic functions in reality and invite us to reinvestigate the unconThe Goddess: Mythological Images of the Feminine, by Christine Downing, Crossroad, $9.95 paper, 250 pp...
...of a cross-disciplinary approach to religious phenomena...
...Those interested primarily in Christian imagery will find Walker Bynum's essay, on female imagery in the religious writing of the late Middle Ages invaluable for its analysis of the different ways men and women used feminine imagery...
...Although tradition presents these goddesses as feminine, earlier tradition, according to Downing, imagined them as parthogenetic and androgynous a unity of masculine and feminine, of cruelty and kindness, of life and death...
...Yahweh as Holy Warrior" (on the peace movement), "VVhv Women Need the Goddess," and "S>mboUof Gixlde&s and God in Feminist Theology " With Allan MegiU's Prophet* of Extremity: Nietzuhe, lividvgnpr Foucault, Dernihi, we return to the distinction between sex and gender, set here against the optimistic Lnlightenmeat belief that human beings are as knowablc as the physical universe is and to the same degree Megili contrasts what he calls the traditional theological sensi* ot «.nsis ("the metaphor of humanity stranded m a world without God or other absolutes on which hc can depend") with his own sense ot ctisis (the metaphor of breaking with faith in progress and with history as a coherent sequence of meaningful events) The acsthetu is ventral to MegiH's readings ot these four philosophers Hence, one of its Prophets of Extremity: \utzsrhe, Heidegger, Foucault, Derrida, b\ Allan Megili...
...15.95, 238 pp traditions, and on her growing involvement in the Goddess movement In the chapter...
...Some would exclude the issues of gender and sex in religious discussions because the terms are ideological while others argue for inclusion on the grounds that every issue is ideological...
...683...
...302 pp...
...primordial experience (for example, the experience of water) and the pointing of symbol beyond its immediate and multiple significances (water, for example, may signify purification, destruction, or quenching...
...Dialogues with God and Tradition," she responds to the criticism of the movement hv feminist theologians such as l-hsabeth Schussler Fiorenza and Rosemary Rucfher, stating the shortcomings she sees in their positions- Several i»f the essays <ire especially valuable for bibliographical use and <_lass reading essays such as "Women's Liberation and the Liberation of God, " "A Spirituality for Women...
...Downing assumes identities, based in transference theory, of herself and goddesses Persephone, Ariadne, Hera...
...The book is inspired simultaneously by Jungian theory and by the realization that ail theory is to some degree inadequate to explain reality...
...Indeed, in his chapter on Louis Saint-Simon, Ricoeur sees authority as a central problem for both Utopia 682 and ideology: "ideology is> the surplus-value added to the lack of belief in authority, Utopia is what unmasks the surplus-value...
...California, S10 91 paper i«W/y goals, seen especially in his reading of Michel Foucault, is to free sexualit) from a "presumed natural sul> stratum...
...Downing states that, by recognizing the "universal dimensions" of one's experiences, one is freed from "a purely personal relation to them...
...All who are interested in religion owe it to themselves to read this book...

Vol. 114 • November 1987 • No. 20


 
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