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Second-Wave Jewish Feminism, 1971-1991: Foundational Theology and Sacral Discourse


This book is the definitive critical analysis of the Jewish feminist theological project in the United States, its principal theologians and its foundational, embryonic, and more elaborated sacral discursive. The monograph critically examines each of the diverse theologians, their varied perspectives, and individual contributions, and asks will a prescriptive Jewish feminist theology ever be a reality?
Publisher: Gorgias Press LLC
Availability: In stock
SKU (ISBN): 978-1-4632-0084-8
  • *
Publication Status: In Print

Publication Date: Jul 12,2011
Interior Color: Black
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Page Count: 312
Language: English
ISBN: 978-1-4632-0084-8
$146.80
$88.08

This monograph is the unique and ultimate critical examination of historical and conceptual Second-Wave Jewish feminism and its fledgling theological project. For the first time in one volume the Jewish feminist corpus, its methods, forms, sacral reflections, its diverse God-language, its rich and varied theological discursive, and the foundational, personal-spiritual, and elaborated expositions of its scholars – Judith Plaskow, Rachel Adler, Marcia Falk, Rebecca Alpert, Lynn Gottlieb, Rita Gross (now Buddhist), Naomi Janowitz, Maggie Wenig, Ellen Umansky, Jill Hammer (among many others) – are critically examined within an analytical framework that asks: 1. Is the concept of a prescriptive Jewish feminist theology sustainable given the pluralism of modern/postmodern feminist discourse and its necessary rejection of normativity? 2. Can a feminist theology that has rejected hierarchy, supernaturalism, otherness, and the classical understanding of holiness, along with the eschatological elements of the tradition and its Sinaitic foundations, claim to be recognizably Jewish? 3. Is feminist exposition on the deity that rejects the aforesaid quintessential mechanics of the classical theology, and the definition of sacral discursive itself, actually theology at all? 4. Is the personal experience of the individual feminist constitutive of authentic Judaism, particularly if her subjective understanding of the tradition has substantially modified its inner-core, or if she has wholesale discarded three-thousand years of connective history? 5. If classical Jewish theology is radically monotheistic, rejects polytheism, and is underpinned by God’s oneness, eschatology, and a series of covenants, when does the critique, and rejection, of these elements reach the point that what remains ceases to be Jewish? Or is it simply enough for the theologian to be “Jewish”? These questions are not easily answerable, but the answers will ultimately define the viability, and future, of Jewish feminist theology.

This monograph is the unique and ultimate critical examination of historical and conceptual Second-Wave Jewish feminism and its fledgling theological project. For the first time in one volume the Jewish feminist corpus, its methods, forms, sacral reflections, its diverse God-language, its rich and varied theological discursive, and the foundational, personal-spiritual, and elaborated expositions of its scholars – Judith Plaskow, Rachel Adler, Marcia Falk, Rebecca Alpert, Lynn Gottlieb, Rita Gross (now Buddhist), Naomi Janowitz, Maggie Wenig, Ellen Umansky, Jill Hammer (among many others) – are critically examined within an analytical framework that asks: 1. Is the concept of a prescriptive Jewish feminist theology sustainable given the pluralism of modern/postmodern feminist discourse and its necessary rejection of normativity? 2. Can a feminist theology that has rejected hierarchy, supernaturalism, otherness, and the classical understanding of holiness, along with the eschatological elements of the tradition and its Sinaitic foundations, claim to be recognizably Jewish? 3. Is feminist exposition on the deity that rejects the aforesaid quintessential mechanics of the classical theology, and the definition of sacral discursive itself, actually theology at all? 4. Is the personal experience of the individual feminist constitutive of authentic Judaism, particularly if her subjective understanding of the tradition has substantially modified its inner-core, or if she has wholesale discarded three-thousand years of connective history? 5. If classical Jewish theology is radically monotheistic, rejects polytheism, and is underpinned by God’s oneness, eschatology, and a series of covenants, when does the critique, and rejection, of these elements reach the point that what remains ceases to be Jewish? Or is it simply enough for the theologian to be “Jewish”? These questions are not easily answerable, but the answers will ultimately define the viability, and future, of Jewish feminist theology.

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Contributor Biography

Luke Devine

Luke Devine holds a Ph.D. in Jewish Feminist Theology from the University of Gloucestershire in England. He also possesses an MRes degree in Jewish History and Culture from the University of Southampton, alongside a First-Class BA Honours History degree. He has written extensively on Jewish feminist theology.

  • Contents (page 5)
  • Preface (page 9)
  • Acknowledgments (page 17)
  • Introduction: The Historical Jewish Woman in the Biblical and Rabbinic Traditions (page 19)
  • 1 Second-Wave Jewish Feminism in America, 1971-1991: An Overview (page 37)
  • 2 Is The Right Question Theological? (page 69)
    • Jewish Theology from Rabbinic Times to the Twentieth-Century (page 70)
    • Cynthia Ozick: The Right QuestionŽ is not Theological (page 80)
    • Judith Plaskow: The Right Question is TheologicalŽ (page 83)
    • Conclusion: Plaskows Rejection of Hierarchical Otherness (page 100)
  • 3 Liturgist-Theologies of the Second-Wave (page 105)
    • Naomi Janowitz and Maggie Wenig: Experimenting With God-Language (page 109)
    • Marcia Falk: Addressing God in Neuter Language (page 112)
    • Rebecca Alpert: Jewish Theology from a Lesbian Perspective (page 120)
    • Shekhinah: the Feminine Attribute of Presence (page 127)
    • Lynn Gottlieb: Imaging the Divine as God-She (page 136)
    • Rachel Adler: The Necessity of God as Other (page 144)
    • Conclusion: Its Feminist, but is it Theology? (page 152)
  • 4 There are Many Thoughts in the Human HeartŽ: God in Multiplicity (page 155)
    • Carol Christ: Story Theology (page 156)
    • Rita Gross: The Necessity of Anthropomorphisms (page 166)
    • Ellen Umansky: Jewish Feminist Theology as Responsive (page 171)
    • Jewish Feminism and the Goddess (page 175)
    • Feminist Reengagement With the Tradition (page 183)
    • Tamar Ross: Cumulative Revelation (page 188)
    • Rosemary Radford Ruether: Theology as Subjective Experience (page 195)
    • Feminist Midrash (page 204)
    • Conclusion: Plurality and the Feminist Loss of God (page 211)
  • 5 The Abandonment of the Jewish Theological Tradition and its Eschatological Premises (page 217)
    • The Initial Challenge (page 221)
    • 1. Plurality (page 226)
    • 2. Eschatology (page 233)
    • 3. Supernaturalism (page 238)
    • 4. Authenticity (page 241)
    • 5. Definition (page 247)
    • Conclusion: Jewish Feminist Theology, the First Forty Years (page 249)
  • Conclusion: Beyond the Second Wave and the FutureŽ of Jewish Feminist Theology (page 253)
  • Glossary (page 265)
  • Bibliography (page 275)
  • Index (page 301)