Designed for courses in religious studies, women's studies, history, philosophy, theology, and psychology.
This text, surveying the effects of religious scriptures, myths, and traditions on women, past and present, is the first comprehensive text for this subject. Provides a balanced presentation of the global religious contributions of women.
- a historical perspective that offers a meaningful framework for students to examine the development of the text material.
- coverage of the religious experience of women from primal societies to modern day. Includes religious writings and practices from Hindu, Buddhist, Chinese, Japanese, Traditional African, Native American, Jewish, Christian, and Islamic communities.
- primary sources include scriptures, canonical texts, doctrine, laws, and myths.
- rituals composed by women: poems, songs, and stories challenge readers to create their own religious rituals and creation myths.
- features outstanding women from Eastern and Western religious traditions, especially those who overcame discrimination in order to contribute to their religious heritages.
- pedagogical features include chapter summaries, readings, discussion questions at the end of each chapter, visual aids, photographs, glossary, bibliography, and suggested readings.
Table of Contents
I. EARLY GODDESS CULTURES. A. Sources of Information Regarding Goddesses. B. Characteristics of Goddess Cultures. C. Examples of Goddess = Worshipping Societies. D. Ancient Mesopotamia.
II. PATRIARCHY AND THE SHIFT FROM FEMALE DEITIES TO MALE DEITIES. A. Sources of Information Regarding Patriarchies. B. Characteristics of Patriarchal Cultures. C. Societies That Replaced Goddess Worship with Male Gods.
III. CREATION MYTHS REFLECTING THE DEMISE OF THE GODDESS. A. Understanding the Meaning and Function of Myths.
IV. ALIENATION MYTHS AND OTHER PRACTICES THAT AFFECT WOMEN. A. Writings That Implicate Women for the Introduction of Evil. B. Women's Adaptation to the Effects of Alienation Myths and Discriminatory Religious Practices.
V. COMPETENT WOMEN WHO HELPED SHAPE THEIR RELIGIOUS TRADITIONS. A. North American Indians-Egalitarian Practices Among the Iroquois. B. Hindu Tradition-Gargi-Sri Sarada Devi-Ma Jnanananda. C. Buddhist Tradition-Nuns, Sanghamita, Kuan-yin Bodhisattva. D. Jewish Tradition-Women in Biblical and Modern Times-Miriam, Deborah, Ruth. Contemporary Jewish Women- Berta Pappenheim. E. Christian Tradition-Women Saints of the Early Church and Medieval Periods-St. Brigit of Ireland and St. Catherine of Siena. Contemporary Times-Dorothy Day and Catholic Women Religious. Protestant Women-The Grimke Sisters and Florence Nightingale. F. Islamic Traditions-Fatima, Rabiah, Benazir Bhutto.
VI. LANGUAGE AS REPRESENTATION OF REALITY FOR WOMEN. A. Naming the Sacred-Transcendence Versus Immanence. B. The Sacred As Personal and Impersonal Powers. C. Metaphoric Images That Enhance Women's Relation to the Sacred. D. The struggle for the Use of Inclusive Language in Religious Institutions.
VII. CONTEMPORARY FEMINIST RELIGIOUS MOVEMENTS. A. Radical, Reconstructionist, and Reformist Feminist Scholars. B. Contemporary Goddess = Centered Religions. C. Critique of Contemporary Goddess Religions.
VIII. REASONS FOR WOMEN TO VALUE RELIGION. A. Meaning and Belonging Dimensions of Religion. B. Relation to the Deity. C. Access to Salvation. D. The Spiritual Life.