“A Comparison of the Feminist Theological Positions of Mary Baker Eddy and Rosemary Radford Ruether”
Johnson, Kathleen Carlton. “A Comparison of the Feminist Theological Positions of Mary Baker Eddy and Rosemary Radford Ruether.” MTh thesis, University of South Africa, 2004.
After contextualizing theologians Ruether and Eddy within feminist history, Johnson shows how each “changed the boundaries of the Church’s theological thinking on the rights of women,” freeing them up to be seen and heard (12). Johnson finds feminist principles at work in Eddy’s writings on marriage laws, use of language, theology (especially her Father-Mother God), and church structure empowering women in roles as local leaders and healers. These new roles were “based on the genderless [spiritual] mind and not the gendered body” (24). Eddy, like Ruether, “knew her scripture and used it deftly…” (10) to challenge how women were “kept on [religion’s] margins by the very word of God” (23). However, although her Manual of the Mother Church required equality of sexes, she never questioned her own ultimate authoritarian rule; and she seems to unequally endorse women’s superior spiritual nature. A century later, Ruether’s Catholic background and doctorate in the classics and patristic writings equipped her to methodically expose and challenge the androcentrism, sexism and Anti-Semitism in the Church. Johnson observes that unlike Ruether, Eddy “did not propose a body of formal criticism that would link the church to the feminist struggle” (53). Eddy’s approach was practical; her concern was seeking equality in her church.
Annotations related by category:
- Availability: Online - Free
- Controversy: Sex and Marriage
- Official Christian Science Publication: No
- Organizations: The First Church of Christ, Scientist
- People: Eddy, Mary Baker
- Publication Date: 2001-2010
- Resource Types: Dissertations and Theses
- Subjects: Bible
- Subjects: Church Manual, Governance, Leadership
- Subjects: Feminist Perspectives
- Subjects: Social and Cultural Studies