Friday, August 29, 2003

A Feminist Mary

The following is from a review of the book Our Sister, published in the July 18 issue of Commonweal.

Elizabeth A. Johnson, C.S.J., has been thinking about such questions for a long time. She has now published a major theological study on Mary, and it is a very impressive work—comprehensive, erudite, critical, and passionate. Truly Our Sister does not begin, as do so many theological treatises, with scriptural foundations, followed by sections on patristic literature, medieval theologies, Reformation controversies, and modern developments. For Johnson, there is too much ambiguity in the history of Marian devotion for this approach to make sense; ineluctably we stand in a broken relationship with the whole tradition. Instead, she begins with “fragments in the rubble,” salvageable elements from the past, and then turns to what, in Johnson’s view, is the key event of the theological development: the emergence of women’s voices in theology, and especially the voices of women in poor countries and marginalized minorities. Her goal is to develop “a Marian theology rooted in Scripture read through women’s eyes with feminist hermeneutical methods.”

Wouldn't you just know it. Now Mary is not our Mother, she is Our Sister!

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