What is Feminist Theology?

I was reading a book that referred to Feminist Theology, what is that?

Over the years there have been various ways scholars have used for reading and interpreting what the Bible says.  These are often called types of criticism or theologies.  Textual criticism, Source criticism, Form criticism, Redaction criticism, Socio-historical criticism, Rhetorical criticism, Liberation criticism, Tradition history criticism, and Narrative criticism are just some of more common methods for scholars to examine the Bible to better understand it.

Feminist theology is typically a form of liberation or socio-historical
criticism which focuses on the opinion that the bible was written by men living in a patriarchal culture to support male dominance.  This was done, they argue, by using male language for God, male language for all humans, making males positive figures while making females unsavory figures who keep men from being holy.  Some argue that historically interpretations of the bible were done in a way that oppressed women, and that the Bible has been used by males as nothing more than a form of gender discrimination and used to suppress women and to eliminate women from positions of authority keeping men in a position of power and dominance.

Feminist theologians, as with practitioners of any of the criticisms, by the way they have challenged previous understandings and have had a generally positive effect on our understanding of Sacred Scripture.  Each of the various forms of criticism has positives and negatives.  As with any particular methodology for interpreting scripture there are those who do a better job than others.  Just as each journalist writing about something they observed, theologians will come away with very different stories, partly based on their agenda, or their personal experiences which flavor how they view what they observed.

As with any art or skill, the quality of the craftsmanship is not usually based on the tool, but on the person who wields the tool.  We need to keep in mind, that while many people have opinions about many things, especially the Bible, not all opinions are created equal.  As with all forms of communication, we need to listen, read, observe and exercise prudent judgment.

Author: yuengerwv

Retired Catholic Priest

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