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1) "For Ruether, the "critical principle of feminist theology is the affirmation and promotion of the full humanity of women. Whatever denies, diminished, or distorts the full humanity of women is, therefore, to be appraised as not redemptive." Fiorenza maintains that "only the nonsexist and nonandrocentric traditions of the Bible and the nonoppressive traditions of biblical interpretations have the theological authority of revelation."
Both statements immediately raise the issue of our understanding of biblical authority and canon, as the panelists were quick to point out. The whole canon is to be taken seriously, especially because of the possibly of the Bible's use as a tool for the oppression of women. But it is not considered to function as the Word of God, evoking consent or faith, if it contributes to the continuation of racism, sexism, and classism." page 16
2) "Abused women who received support begin to learn that they have self-worth and to experience their anger as legitimate. Yet these women believe what they have been taught the Bible says about their situations: that women are inferior in status before husband and God and deserving of a life of pain. One woman said, "God punished women more."
Frequently, women with strong religious backgrounds have the most difficulty in accepting that the violence against them is wrong. They believe what they have been taught, that resistance to this injustice is unbiblical and unchristian. Christian women are supposed to be meek, and claiming rights for oneself is committing the sin of pride. But as soon as battered women who hold rigidly traditional religious beliefs begin to develop an ideological suspicion that this violence against them is wrong, they react against it.
In workshops for persons who work with abused women, I have found that most social workers, therapists, and shelter personnel view religious beliefs as uniformly reinforcing passivity and tend to view religion, both traditional Christianity and Judaism, as an obstacle to a woman's successful handling of abuse." page 99
3) "The core insight with which to begin such a process of interpretive suspicion is that the Bible is written from the perspective of the powerless. The people of Israel, God's chosen, are a ragged band of runaway slaves." page 100
4) "Examples of Jesus' care for women are seen in the story of the widow's mite (Luke 21:1-4, 15:8-10), the forgiveness of the prostitute who has faith (Mark 14:3-9), the healing of the woman with the bloody flux (Luke 8:43-48), and the defense of Mary's right to discipleship (John 4:16-30).
Raymond E. Brown has entertained the idea that the crucial role women play in the discipleship and apostolic witness is evidence of female leadership in the Johannine community." page 101
5) "Women in patriarchal culture are surrounded by messages that negate or trivialize their existence. Their bodily sexual presence is regarded as a dangerous threat to male purity and, at the same time, as a justification for constant verbal and physical abuse. They experience their bodies as constantly vulnerable to assault and are told, at the same time, that they deserve such assault because they "cause" it by their sexual presence. Similarly, women find their own viewpoints and judgments of events trivialized, and this trivialization is justified on the grounds that women are inherently stupid, uninformed, lacking in authority, and incapable of forming significant understandings. Thus they are alienated from their own minds, from being able to trust their own perceptions. These judgments upon the woman's body and mind are, in turn, used to justify women's exclusion from cultural opportunities and leadership. Women are asked to accept this, too, as normal, natural, divinely sanctioned.
By women's experience as a key to hermeneutics or theory of interpretation, we mean precisely that experience which arises when women become critically aware of these falsifying and alienating experiences imposed upon them as women by a male-dominated culture." page 114
6) "The critique of sexism implies a fundamental principle of judgment. This critical principle of feminist theology is the affirmation of and promotion of the full humanity of women. Whatever denies, diminishes, or distorts the full humanity of women is, therefore, to be appraised as not redemptive. Theologically speaking, this means that whatever diminishes or denies the full humanity of women must be presumed not to reflect the divine or authentic relation to the divine, or to reflect the authentic nature of things, or to be the message or work of an authentic redeemer or a community of redemption.
This negative principle also implies the positive principle: What does promote the full humanity of women is of the Holy, does reflect true relation to the divine, is the true nature of things, is the authentic essage of redemption and the mission of redemptive community." page 115
7) "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. This biblical critical principle is that of the prophetic-messianic tradition. By the prophetic-messianic tradition I mean to name not simply a particular body of texts, which then would be understood as standing as a canon within the canon. Rather, what I mean by the prophetic-messianic tradition is a critical perspective and process through which the biblical tradition constantly reevaluates, in new contexts, what is truly the liberating Word of God, over against both the sinful deformations of contemporary society and also the limitations of past biblical traditions, which saw in part and understood in part, and whose partiality may have even become a source of sinful injustice and idolatry." page 117
8) "In the prophetic perspective, God speaks through the prophet or prophetess as critic, rather than sanctifier, of the status quo. God's will is revealed as standing in judgment upon the injustices of the way society is being conducted, especially by the wealthy and powerful. This critique of society includes a critique of religion." page 117
9) "Thus the Hebrew scriptures present us with a dynamic and moving language that criticizes the social injustice heaped upon those groups with whom the prophet identifies: the poor rural Israelite farmer over against the rich urbanite, and the enslaved Jewish people over against the great empires of antiquity. But the prophets are oblivious to or justify that enslavement of persons within the Hebrew family itself: namely, women and slaves. At most, their vision of justice for these people extends to an amelioration of the harshness of the system itself or an ability to imagine that God is calling for an alternative to it.
One can recognize the same limitations of critical social consciousness in modern liberation movements. Feminism in the West has called for justice for women, but the white middle-class context of feminists has often made them oblivious to the class and race bias of their discernment of injustices and their vision of alternatives." page 119
10) "There are many examples of the process of deformation and renewal of prophetic language within the scriptures, as well as in the subsequent ecclesiastical appropriation of these texts. For example, the New Testament conflict with dominant religious authorities of Judaism operated in the mission of Jesus and the earliest church as a criticism of fossilized religion and clericalism in order to call Judaism itself back to its prophetic mission. But when Christianity became a separate Gentile religion and then the dominant religion of the Roman Empire, this language of self-criticism was used to reject Judaism as an inferior religion and to ratify a chauvinistic triumphalism of church over synagogue." page 120
11) "Patriarchal indoctrination of women to accept their own inferiority and triviality has never been complete. Indeed, the constant need of patriarchal culture to reiterate the demand for women's subordination and silence indicate that women have never lost the sense of their own self-worth but have constantly asserted it over against patriarchal commands." page 123
12) "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 colonized and economically most exploited women." page 127
13) "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." page 129
14) "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." page 134
15) Regarding not giving up on the Bible and the church and referring to Mary Ann Tolbert's article in The Bible and Feminist Hermeneutics: "She claims that feminist biblical scholarship is profoundly paradoxical because "one must struggle against God as enemy assisted by God as helper, or one must defeat the Bible as patriarchal authority by using the Bible as liberator." " page 140
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