Contemporary Feminist Approaches to Judaism,
Christianity, Islam and Goddess Worship
by Johanna H. Stuckey, Inanna Publications, 2010
“Women’s Spirituality” is an overview of the transformational efforts by historic and modern feminists within the “big three” monotheistic religions, and is also a portrait of feminist Goddess Worship, defined as a revolutionary new spirituality that has the potential to “alter the spiritual landscape of the West”!
Stuckey says that feminist religious thealogy, working from the inside or outside to make patriarchal religions more hospitable to women, is new, experiential and experimental, with the focus on issues of sexism and the lack of female leaders. Monotheistic religions have been responsible for shaping negative Western attitudes toward women, and she examines the history, tenets and worship practices of each.
Stuckey touches on the current debates that question if early Christianity was egalitarian, if Jesus was a feminist, or if he was indeed married to Mary Magdalene. Church fathers later obscured women’s vital roles in early Christianity, and declared their faith anti-body, anti-sexual and anti-woman.
She goes on to fit the work of feminist activity and theology into four overlapping categories: (1) Revisionist, the least extreme, that argues correct interpretation will reveal a liberating message at the core of a religion (2) Renovationist, which identifies the core message as well as elements of sexism, and either denies those elements or seeks to replace them with feminine texts and images (3) Revolutionary, which forces a religion to its limits by importing language and images from another tradition ie. Goddess Spirituality, and (4) Rejectionist, that decides a religion is completely hostile to women and leaves it behind, usually going on to create new spiritual traditions.
A reflection of Stuckey’s long-time involvement with the women’s movement as a feminist, scholar and teacher, this comprehensive work will be useful as an textbook in leading-edge curriculum, and as a resource for women on a spiritual path and/or devotees of Goddess Spirituality.
Author Johanna Stuckey is Professor of Women’s and Religious Studies at York University, Toronto, Canada, and was a long-time contributor to the journal www.matrifocus.com (now archived online).
This review originally appeared in SageWoman: Celebrating the Goddess in Every Woman, Issue #79, "Connecting to Gaia." www.sagewoman.com
Pegi Eyers is the author of "Ancient Spirit Rising: Reclaiming Your Roots & Restoring Earth Community," a new book that explores strategies for intercultural competency, healing our relationships with Turtle Island First Nations, decolonization, recovering an ecocentric worldview, rewilding, creating a sustainable future and reclaiming peaceful co-existence in Earth Community.