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  • Cited by 1
  • Print publication year: 1998
  • Online publication date: May 2006

6 - Feminist interpretation

from Part 1 - Lines of approach


'It might be interesting to speculate upon the probable length of a “depatriarchalized Bible”. Perhaps there would be enough salvageable material to comprise an interesting pamphlet.' Thus Mary Daly in 1973, sharply engaged with feminist interpretation in its early stages. Roughly twenty-five years later, feminist interpretation flourishes whether inside or outside the academic community where there are feminists qualified and interested enough to engage in it, with some of it undertaken by Jewish and Christian writers together, focusing on women and the gender symbolism of the Hebrew Bible. This chapter, however, engages with feminist Christian interpretation of the Bible as a whole (with some reference to the Apocrypha). Feminist interpretation is here understood as presupposing that the Bible is still read and heard and preached as an authoritative text in communities of belief and worship. And 'authoritative' here means that by using reason, imagination, historical insight, reflection on human experience and whatever other resources we can muster, the Bible somehow mediates to us a God who enables human beings to be most fully themselves. And there's the rub, for feminists at least. Mary Daly's sharp comment has its point.