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The Will to Choose or to Reject: Continuing Our Critical Work by Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza From Feminist Interpretation of the Bible

The Will to Choose or to Reject: Continuing Our Critical Work

Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza
From Feminist Interpretation of the Bible
Editor, Letty M. Russell
Westminster Press, Philadelphia. 1985
Copyright Ch. 10, Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza

I’m ceded - I’ve stopped being Theirs -
The name They dropped upon my face
With water, in the country church
Is finished using, now,
And They can put it with my Dolls,
My childhood, and the string of spools,
I’ve finished threading - too

Baptized before, without the choice,
But this time, consciously, of Grace
Unto supremest name
Called to my Full - The Crescent dropped -
Existence’s whole Arc, filled up,
With one small Diadem.

My second Ran - too small the first-
Crowned - Crowing - on my Father’s breast -
A half unconscious Queen -
But this time - Adequate - Erect,
With Will to choose, or to reject,
And I choose, just a Crown.

- Emily Dickinson

Adrienne Rich has pointed out that this poem of Emily Dickinson’s is a poem of great pride and self-confirmation, of transcending the patriarchal condition, of movement from unconsciousness to consciousness. She cautions us, however, not to give it a theological reading, because Emily Dickinson “used the Christian metaphor far more than she let it use her.”(1)

I have quoted both Dickinson and Rich because they articulate at different levels the central challenge of a feminist biblical hermeneutics. Feminist consciousness radically throws into question all traditional religious names, texts, rituals, laws, and interpretative metaphors because they all bear “our Father’s names.” With Carol Christ (2) I would insist that the central spiritual and religious feminist quest is the quest for women’s self-affirmation, survival, power, and self-determination.

Some of us have therefore argued that as self-identified women we cannot but leave behind patriarchal biblical religion and communities and create a new feminist religion on the boundaries of patriarchal religion and theology. Others claim biblical religion as an integral part of their own historical identity and religious experience. The Jewish feminist Alice Bloch articulates this claim well:

I take pride in my Jewish heritage, and I am tired of hearing women dismiss Jewish identity as “oppressive” and “patriarchal.” . . . Jewish identity is important to me, because being Jewish is an integral part of myself; it’s my inheritance, my roots. Christian women sometimes have a hard time understanding this, because Christian identity is so much tied up with religious beliefs. It is possible to be an ex-Catholic or an exBaptist, but it is really not possible to be an ex-Jew.(3)

While agreeing with her insight that women’s personal and religious self-identity is intertwined, I would maintain that Christian self-identity is not just tied up with religious beliefs but is also a communal-historical identity. Christian (and in my case Roman Catholic) feminists also do not relinquish their biblical roots and heritage. As the ekklesia of women, we claim the center of Christian faith and community in a feminist process of transformation.

The Hermeneutical Center: Women-Church

The hermeneutical center of feminist biblical interpretation is the women-church (ekklesia gynaikon), the movement of self-identified women and women-identified men in biblical religion. The ekklesia of women is part of the wider women’s movement in society and in religion that conceives itself not just as a civil rights movement but as a women’s liberation movement. Its goal is not simply the “full humanity” of women, since humanity as we know it is male defined, but women’s religious self-affirmation, power, and liberation from all patriarchal alienation, marginalization, and oppression. The Greek term ekklesia means the public gathering of free citizens who assemble in order to determine their own and their children’s communal well-being. It can be translated as the assembly, the synagogue, or the church of women. When as a Christian I use the expression women-church, I do not use it as an exclusionary(4) but as a political-oppositional term to patriarchy.

It thus becomes necessary to clarify here the way in which I use patriarchy as an explanatory concept. I do not define it in a general sense as a societal system in which men have power over women(5) but in the classical sense as it was defined in Aristotelian philosophy. Just as feminism is not just a worldview or perspective but a women’s movement for change, so patriarchy is in my understanding not just ideological dualism or androcentric world construction in language but a social, economic, and political system of graded subjugations and oppressions. Therefore I do not speak simply about male oppressors and female oppressed, or see all men over and against all women. Patriarchy as a male pyramid specifies women’s oppression in terms of the class, race, country, or religion of the men to whom they “belong.”

Patriarchy as the basic descriptive model for feminist analysis allows us to conceptualize not only sexism but also racism and property-class relationships as basic structures of women’s oppression. In a patriarchal society or religion, all women are bound into a system of male privilege and domination, but impoverished Third World women constitute the bottom of the oppressive patriarchal pyramid. Patriarchy cannot be toppled except when the women who form the bottom of the patriarchal pyramid, triply oppressed women, become liberated. All women’s oppression and liberation is bound up with that of the colonialized and economically most exploited women. This was already recognized by one of the earliest statements of the radical women’s liberation movement: “Until every woman is free, no woman is free.”(6) “Equality from below” must become the liberative goal of women-church. In other words, as long as societal and religious patriarchy exists, women are not “liberated” and must struggle for survival and self-determination. Conversely, there is no one feminist theory, religion, or group that can claim to be fully liberated.

Since a critical analysis of patriarchy allows us to conceptualize the interaction of sexism, racism, classism, and militarist colonialism, such a feminist interpretation of liberation is not in its conception and goals white middle-class. All of us who are sufficiently educated to participate in a hermeneutical or theological discussion do not live our lives on the bottom of the patriarchal pyramid. Our experiences of oppression and marginalization are very different, but as women we all live in a society and culture that denies us our independence and selfdetermination.

My life and experience is quite different, for example, from that of my mother. In 1944, during street fighting, she had to leave her home with two small children and literally walk from Romania to a bombed-out Germany, surviving from day to day, begging for food shelter, and clothing for her children. Nevertheless, my own struggles for survival as a woman in a clerical male profession have enabled me to understand more than my mother ever did what it means to be a woman in a patriarchal society. A feminist analysis of my own experience helps me realize that the baby given up for adoption could have been mine, the peasant girl in Guatemala without a childhood could be my daughter, the medieval woman burnt by the church as a witch could have been me, the senile woman left for days without food could be my future.

I have therefore argued that feminist theology must articulate its advocacy position not as an option for the oppressed but as the. selfidentification of women in patriarchal society and religion, since all women are socialized to identify with men.(7) The more we identify as women and thereby overcome our patriarchal self-alienation, the more we will realize that the separation between white and black women, middle-class and poor women, native American and European women, Jewish and Christian women, Protestant and Catholic women, lesbian and heterosexual women, nun-women and lay-women is, in the words of Adrienne Rich, “a separation from ourselves.”(8) Conversely, option for the most oppressed woman is an option for our women selves. Such an option allows us “to find God in ourselves” and to “love Her fiercely.”(9)

The locus or place of divine revelation and grace is therefore not the Bible or the tradition of a patriarchal church but the ekklesia of women and the lives of women who live the “option for our women selves.” It is not simply “the experience” of women but the experience of women (and all those oppressed) struggling for liberation from patriarchal oppression .

The dream of freedom for oneself in a world in which all women are free emerges from one’s own life experience in which one is not free, precisely because one is a woman. The liberation of women is thus not an abstract goal . . . but is the motive for that process. Individual freedom and the freedom of all women are linked when one has reached the critical consciousness that we are united first in our unfreedom.(10)

The patriarchal dehumanization and victimization of triply oppressed women exhibits the full death-dealing powers of patriarchy, while their struggles for liberation and courage to survive is the fullest experience of God’s grace in our midst. A feminist critical theology of liberation must therefore be particular and concrete. It must theologically explore women’s particular experiences of marginalization, victimization, and oppression. At the same time it has to articulate our individual and historical experiences of liberation.

The God of Judith as well as the God of Jesus is Emmanuel, God with us in our struggles for liberation, freedom, and wholeness. The spiritual authority of women-church rests on this experience of grace in our midst.

Feminist biblical interpretation must therefore challenge the scriptural authority of patriarchal texts and explore how the Bible is used as a weapon against women in our struggles for liberation. It also must explore whether and how the Bible can become a resource in this struggle. A feminist biblical interpretation is thus first of all a political task. It remains mandatory because the Bible and its authority has been and is again today used as a weapon against women struggling for liberation.

From its inception, feminist interpretation and concern with scripture has been generated by the fact that the Bible was used to halt the emancipation of women and slaves. Not only in the last century but also today, the political Right laces its attacks against the feminist struggle for women’s rights and freedoms in the political, economic, reproductive, intellectual, and religious spheres with biblical quotations and appeals to scriptural authority.(11) From countless pulpits and Sunday school classes, such patriarchal attacks are proclaimed as the “word of God.” Anti-ERA groups, the cultural Total Woman movement, and the Moral Majority appeal to the teachings of the Bible on the American family and on creational differences between the sexes supposedly resulting in a different societal and ecclesial calling. At the same time, the political Right does not hesitate to quote the Bible against shelters for battered women, for physical punishment of children, against abortion even in cases of rape or child pregnancy, and against women’s studies programs at state universities.(12)

At the same time the Bible has not served only to legitimate the oppression of white women, slaves, native Americans, Jews, and the poor. It has also provided authorization for women who rejected slavery, colonial exploitation, anti-Semitism, and misogynism as unbiblical and against God’s will. It has inspired countless women to speak out against injustice, exploitation, and stereotyping and energized them to struggle against poverty, unfreedom, and denigration. The Guatemalan Indian and Christian revolutionary Rigoberta Menchu testifies to this:

In the community we began to reflect together on what the Bible told us. The story of Judith, for example, impressed me very much: she beheaded the king to save her people. We too understood that faced with the violence of the rich, we have to respond with another kind of violence.(13)

I propose elsewhere(14) that a feminist critical theology of liberation should develop a multidimensional model of biblical interpretation in order to assist women in their struggle for liberation. Such a model must be a feminist-critical and a historical-concrete model. It must not only show how individual biblical texts and writings functioned in their historical-political settings but also pay increased attention to the intersection and interplay of biblical texts with contemporary politics and socialization. It should not search for a feminist formalized principle, a universal perspective, or a historical liberating dynamics but should carefully analyze how the Bible functions concretely in women’s struggle for survival. Key elements in such a model, as far as I can see, are the following: (i) suspicion rather than acceptance of biblical authority, (ii) critical evaluation rather than correlation, (iii) interpretation through proclamation, (iv) remembrance and historical reconstruction, and (v) interpretation through celebration and ritual.

First: A feminist Christian apologetics presumes that we can trust our lives to the “word of God” in the Bible and that we should submit to its authority and liberating power. It therefore insists that a hermeneutics of suspicion should only be applied to the history of exegesis and contemporary interpretations. While a liberationtheological interpretation affirms the liberating dynamics of the biblical texts, a feminist critical hermeneutics of suspicion places a warning label on all biblical texts: Caution! Could be dangerous to your health and survival. Not only is scripture interpreted by a long line of men and proclaimed in patriarchal churches, it is also authored by men, written in androcentric language, reflective of religious male experience, selected and transmitted by male religious leadership. Without question, the Bible is a male book. If Mary Daly is right that here also “the medium is the message,” self-identified women struggling for survival should avoid it like the plague. The first and never-ending task of a hermeneutics of suspicion, therefore, is to elaborate as much as possible the patriarchal, destructive aspects and oppressive elements in the Bible. Such an interpretation must uncover not only sexist biblical language but also the oppressive language of racism, anti Judaism, exploitation, colonialism, and militarism. An interpretation of suspicion must name the language of hate by its true name and not mystify it or explain it away.

write off all women who find meaning in scripture as unliberated and unfeminist, we have to use a hermeneutics of suspicion to detect the antipatriarchal elements and functions of biblical texts, which are obscured and made invisible by androcentric language and concepts. Moreover, we have to acknowledge that not all biblical stories, traditions, and texts reflect the experience of men in power or were written in order to legitimate the patriarchal status quo.

Second: If the ekklesia of women has the authority “to choose and to reject” biblical texts, we have to develop a theological interpretive principle for feminist critical evaluation rather than an interpretive principle and method of correlation. Such an interpretation must sort through particular biblical texts and test out in a process of critical analysis and evaluation how much their content and function perpetrates and legitimates patriarchal structures, not only in their original historical contexts but also in our contemporary situation. Conversely, all biblical texts must be tested as to their feminist liberating content and function in their historical and contemporary contexts. Such a feminist hermeneutics of critical evaluation has to articulate criteria and principles for evaluating particular texts, biblical books, traditions, or interpretations. Such criteria or principles must be derived from a systematic exploration of women’s experience of oppression and liberation.

Because of the importance of specific feminist analyses and critical evaluations, I have argued that a feminist interpretation ought not to reduce the richness of biblical texts and traditions to one particular text or tradition, as the neoorthodox “canon within the canon” model does. It also should not separate form and content and then formalize and universalize them to a principle or dynamic, as the method of critical correlation (Schillebeeckx, Tracy) or confrontation (Küng) does.(15) Although Tillich had criticized Barth’s dialectical method, his dialectical method of correlation" is still motivated by the apologetic intent that engages in a critical dialogue of “yes and no” between contemporary culture and biblical religion in order to end with an affirmative “yes” to religion. Such a method of correlation, however, rests on “the distinction between the unchanging content of the Christian message and the changing forms of cultural expression.(16)

A feminist method of correlation adopts the same distinction insofar as it separates the sociocritical prophetic-messianic principle or dynamics from its concrete historical articulations and deformations on the one hand and formalizes feminist experience and analysis on the other, in such a way that it becomes a critical principle of “affirmation and promotion of the full humanity of women.” It does so in order to correlate both the prophetic-biblical and the feminist critical principles with each other. As Rosemary Ruether has said in Chapter 9:

The Bible can be appropriated as a source of liberating paradigms only if it can be seen that there is a correlation between the feminist critical principle and that critical principle by which biblical thought critiques itself and renews its vision as the authentic Word of God over against corrupting and sinful deformations. It is my contention here that there is such a correlation between biblical and feminist critical principles .

As alternative option I have proposed that biblical feminists need not presume such a correlation or configuration, but neverthelessin a process of critical evaluation we are able to find some liberating paradigms and resources in biblical texts. This is the case not because a correlation between feminist and biblical critical principles can be presupposed but because the historical experience of wom en-church with the Bible allows us to do so. Yet in order to find feminist biblical resources, we have first to bring to bear the full force of the feminist critique upon biblical texts and religion.

Third: Since today, as in the past, the political Right fights its “holy war” against feminism under the banner of the doctrinal paradigm of biblical interpretation, our defense must directly address the question of the Word of God as proclaimed in scripture. (17) We have therefore to develop a hermeneutics of proclamation that undercuts the authority claims of patriarchal scriptural texts. As I have already suggested in my contribution to The Liberating Word, feminist theology must first of all denounce all texts and traditions that perpetrate and legitimate oppressive patriarchal structures and ideologies. We no longer should proclaim them as the “word of God” for contemporary communities and people if we do not want to turn God into a God of oppression.

A careful feminist assessment of the selection and reception of biblical texts for proclamation in the liturgy must therefore precede an inclusive translation of them. Patriarchal texts should not be allowed to remain in the lectionary but should be replaced by texts affirming the discipleship of equals. An “inclusive translation” can only be made of those lectionary texts which, in a critical feminist process of evaluation, are identified as articulating a liberating vision for women struggling for self-affirmation and wholeness, lest we are in danger of covering up the patriarchal character of the Bible.

Such a hermeneutics of proclamation also must assess the contemporary political context and psychological function of biblical interpretations and texts. It must explore how even feminist-neutral or feministpositive biblical texts can have an oppressive impact on the lives of contemporary women, if they are used in order to inculcate misogynist attitudes and patriarchal behavior. For instance, in our culture, in which women, primarily, are socialized into sacrificing love and self-abnegation, the biblical commandment of love and the proclamation of the cross can be culturally misused to sustain voluntary service and the acceptance of sexual violence. In exploring the interaction between biblical texts and societal feminine values and behavior, we also have to pay attention to its religious contexts. As Susan Thistlethwaite has pointed out in chapter 6, biblical texts have a different meaning and authority for battered women rooted in different ecclesial communities. Much more work needs to be done on the intersection of the Bible with contemporary culture, politics, and society.

Fourth: Such a hermeneutics of proclamation must be balanced by a hermeneutics of remembrance, which recovers all biblical traditions and texts through a feminist historical reconstruction. Feminist meaning is not only derived from the egalitarian-feminist surplus of androcentric texts but is also to be found in and through androcentric texts and patriarchal history. Rather than abandon the memory of our foresisters’ sufferings, visions, and hopes in our patriarchal biblical past, such a hermeneutics reclaims their sufferings, struggles, and victories through the subversive power of the “remembered” past. Rather than relinquish patriarchal biblical traditions, a hermeneutics of remembrance seeks to develop a feminist critical method and historical model for moving beyond the androcentric text to the history of women in biblical religion.

Such an interpretation recognizes methodologically that androcentric language as generic conventional language makes women invisible by subsuming us under linguistic masculine terms. It mentions women only when we are exceptional or cause problems. To take androcentric biblical texts as reflecting reality does not recognize the ideological, obfuscating character of androcentric language. To reconstruct women’s participation in biblical history, we therefore have to read the “women passages” as indicators and clues that women were at the center of biblical life. In other words, if we take the conventional ideological character of androcentric language seriously, we can claim that women were leaders and full members in biblical religion until proven otherwise. The burden of historical proof is shifted when we read texts that speak about the leadership and presence of women, or those that are injunctions to proper “feminine” behavior, not as descriptive and comprehensive information but as the visible tip of an iceberg which for the most part is submerged.

An interpretation through remembrance must articulate theoretical models that can place women not on the periphery but at the center of biblical community and history. In my book In Memory of Her, I have proposed patriarchy as such a social-historical model for reconstructing early Christian origins in a feminist perspective. While feminist theology usually utilizes androcentric dualism as its basic exploratory concept for feminist analysis and reconstruction, I propose that we use patriarchy as articulated in Aristotelian philosophy as a basic explanatory concept for the reconstruction of women’s history in Western society in general and in Christian history in particular.

Androcentric dualism must then be understood as ideological justification of patriarchal structures. It is articulated whenever nonpatriarchal, egalitarian societal or religious possibilities exist or are at least thinkable. This was the case in Athenian democracy, where it became necessary to claim “different natures” for freeborn women and slave women as well as men because of the democratic notion of citizenship. Similarly, in early Christianity, misogynist texts and patriarchal injunctions were generated because the discipleship of equals stood in tension with Greco-Roman patriarchal structures. The gradual patriarchalization of the church in the second and third centuries not only engendered the exclusion of all women from ecclesial leadership but also eliminated the freedoms that slave women had gained by joining the Christian movement.

Insofar as androcentric biblical texts are generated by the tension between patriarchal societal and ecclesial structures and the vision and praxis of the discipleship of equals, they allow us still a glimpse of women’s engagement and leadership in the early Christian movement. Although the scriptural canon preserves only remnants of the nonpatriarchal early Christian ethos, these remnants allow us still to recognize that patriarchal structures are not inherent to Christian community, although they have become historically dominant. Therefore a feminist hermeneutics of remembrance can reclaim early Christian history as our own history and religious vision. Women-church has a long history and tradition, which can claim the discipleship of equals as its scriptural roots. In sum, a feminist hermeneutics of remembrance has to keep alive the memory of patriarchal biblical oppression as well as the memory of the struggles and victories of biblical women who acted in the power of the Spirit.

Interpretation through remembrance and historical reconstruction must be supplemented by a hermeneutics of creative ritualization. Such an interpretation allows women-church to enter the biblical story with the help of historical imagination, artistic recreation, and liturgical celebration. A method of creative actualization seeks to retell biblical stories from a feminist perspective, to reformulate biblical visions and injunctions in the perspective of the discipleship of equals, and to create narrative amplifications of the feminist remnants that have survived in biblical texts. In such a process of creative revisioning, womenchurch can utilize all available means of artistic imagination, literary creativity, music, and dance.

In legend and apocryphal writings, in liturgy and sacred hymns, in feast days and liturgical cycles, the patriarchal church has ritualized certain aspects and texts of the Bible as well as celebrated the “founding fathers” of biblical religion. A feminist interpretation of creative ritualization reclaims for women-church the same imaginative freedoms, popular creativity, and liturgical powers. Women not only rewrite biblical stories but also reformulate patriarchal prayers and create feminist rituals for celebrating our foremothers. We rediscover in story and poetry, in drama and dance, in song and liturgy our biblical foresisters’ sufferings and victories. In ever-new images and symbols, feminist liturgies seek to rename the God of the Bible and the biblical vision. We sing litanies of praise to our foresisters and pray laments of mourning for the wasted lives of our foremothers. Only by reclaiming our religious imagination and our ritual powers of naming can women-church dream new dreams and see new visions. We do so, however, in the full awareness that such creative feminist participation in the biblical story and history must be won in and through a critical process of evaluation.

In conclusion, what leads us to perceive biblical texts as providing resources in the struggle for liberation from patriarchal oppression, as well as models for the transformation of the patriarchal church, is not some special canon of texts that can claim divine authority. Rather, it is the experience of women themselves in their struggles for liberation. I have therefore suggested that we understand the Bible as a structuring prototype of women-church rather than as a definite archetype; as an open-ended paradigm that sets experiences in motion and invites transformations. Rather than reduce its pluriformity and richness to abstract principle or ontological immutable archetype to be applied to and repeated in ever-new situations, I suggest the notion of historical prototype open to its own transformation.

Such an understanding of the Bible as formative prototype allows us to explore models and traditions of liberating praxis as well as of patriarchal repression. It allows us to reclaim the whole Bible not as normative but as an experiential enabling authority, as the legacy and heritage of women-church. Such a notion of the Bible not as a mythic archetype but as a historical prototype provides womenchurch with a sense of its own ongoing history as well as Christian identity. It is able to acknowledge the dynamic process of biblical resources, challenges, and new visions under the changing conditions of the church’s cultural-historical situations.

In and through structural and creative transformation, the Bible can become holy scripture for women-church. Insofar as the interpretive model proposed here does not identify biblical revelation with androcentric texts and patriarchal structures, it maintains that such revelation and inspiration is found among the discipleship community of equals in the past and the present. Insofar as the model proposed here locates revelation not in biblical texts but in the experience of women struggling for liberation from patriarchy, it requires that a feminist critical hermeneutics of liberation read and actualize the Bible in the context of believing communities of women, in the context of women-church.


1. Adrienne Rich, "Vesuvius at Home: The Power of Emily Dickinson(1975)," in On Lies, Secrets, and Silence, Selected Prose 1966-1978 (W. W. Norton & Co., 1979), p. 172.

2. Carol P. Christ, "Why Women Need the Goddess: Phenomenological, Psychological, and Political Reflections," in Carol P. Christ and Judith Plaskow, eds., Womanspirit Rising: A Feminist Reader in Religion (Harper & Row, 1979), pp. 273-287.

3. Alice Bloch, "Scenes from the Life of a Jewish Lesbian," in Susannah Heschel, ed., On Being a Jewish Feminist: A Reader (Schocken Books, 1983), p. 174.

4. In speaking about a feminist biblical interpretation, I also do not want to imply that feminist Jewish and Christian biblical interpretations are the same or must develop along the same lines. As Drorah Setel has rightly pointed out, references to the "Judeo-Christian" tradition or heritage ignore the significant inequalities in that relationship. However, insofar as the Old Testament or Hebrew Bible is part of the Christian Bible, a feminist Christian hermeneutics must deal with the Jewish Bible while a Jewish feminist hermeneutics does not need to pay attention to the New Testament.

5. For definition and discussion of patriarchy, see, for example, Heidi Hartmann, "Capitalism, Patriarchy, and Job Segregation by Sex," in Elizabeth and Emily K. Abel, eds., The Signs Reader: Women, Gender, and the Scholarship (University of Chicago Press, 1983), pp. 193-225.

6. "Redstockings: April 1969"; reprinted in Feminist Revolution (Random House, 1975), p. 205.

7. See my "Toward a Feminist Biblical Hermeneutics," in The Challenge of Liberation Theology, pp. 91-112, which was presented in 1979 at a conference sponsored by Chicago Divinity School.

8. Adrienne Rich, "Disloyal to Civilization: Feminism, Fascism, Gynephobia (1978)," in On Lies . . . , p. 307.

9. Ntozake Shange's ending chorus is often quoted by religious feminists. However, it must not be overlooked that such an affirmation is only achieved in and through the experience and naming of racist-sexist patriarchal oppressions. For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rain-bow Is Enuf: A Choreopoem (Macmillan Publishing Co., 1977).

10. Marcia Westkott, "Women's Studies as a Strategy for Change: Between Criticism and Vision," in Gloria Bowles and Renate Duelli-Klein, eds., Theories of Women's Studies (Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1983), p. 213.

11. For example, Shirley Rogers Radl, The Invisible Woman: Target of the Religious New Right (Delta Books, 1983).

12. Betty Willis Brooks and Sharon L. Sievers, "The New Right Challenges Women's Studies: The Long Beach Women's Studies Program," in Charlotte Bunch and Sandra Pollack, eds., Learning Our Way: Essays in Feminist Education (Crossing Press, 1983), pp. 78-88.

13. We Continue Forever: Sorrow and Strength of Guatemalan Women (International Resource Exchange, 1983), p. 18.

14. See my collection of essays on feminist biblical interpretation Bread Not Stone: Introduction to a Feminist Interpretation of Scripture (Beacon Press, 1985).

15. See the overview and discussion of David Tracy, "Particular Questions Within General Consensus," in Leonard Swidler, ed,, Consensus in Theology? (Westminster Press, 1980), pp. 33-39.

16. See John P. Clayton, "Was ist falsch in der Korrelationstheorie?", Neue Zeitschrift fur Systematishe Theologie 16:93-11! (1974), and Francis Schüssler Fiorenza, Foundational Theology: Jesus and the Church (Crossroad, 1984), to whom I am indebted for this reference.

17. Charlene Spretnack, "The Christian Right's 'Holy War' Against Feminism," in The Politics of Women' s Spirituality (Doubleday & Co., Anchor Books, 1982), pp. 470-496.

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