A Patrimony of Idols: Second-Wave Jewish and Christian Feminist Theology and the Criticism of Religion

Sophia 53 (2):241-259 (2014)

This article suggests that second-wave feminist theology between around 1968 and 1995 undertook the quintessentially religious and task of theology, which is to break its own idols. Idoloclasm was the dynamic of Jewish and Christian feminist theological reformism and the means by which to clear a way back into its own tradition. Idoloclasm brought together an inter-religious coalition of feminists who believed that idolatry is not one of the pitfalls of patriarchy but its symptom and cause, not a subspecies of sin but the primary sin of alienated relationship. The first moment of feminist theology’s criticism of patriarchal power is not that it is socially unjust, but that it has licence to be unjust because it is idolatrous. Yet, neither opponents of feminist theology who dismiss it on the grounds that it is a secular import into the tradition, nor feminist students of theology and religion, have paid sufficient attention to feminist theology’s counter-idolatrous turn as the religious ground of women’s liberation. Here, the freedom and becoming of women is dependent on the liberation of the religious imagination from captivity to a trinity of idols: the patriarchal god called God who is no more than an inference from the political dispensation that created him; the idol of the masculine that created God in his own image and the idol of the feminine worshipped as an ideational object of desire only as the subordinated complement of the masculine and as a false image that becomes a substitute for the real, finite women whose agency and will it supplants
Keywords Feminism  Women’s liberation  Idolatry  Feminist theology  Religion and gender  Patriarchy
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DOI 10.1007/s11841-014-0409-1
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Gender as a Divine Attribute.Michael Rea - 2016 - Religious Studies 52 (1):97-115.

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