Is There More than ONE Feminism?
I am happy to share the good news with you that I have published a new book, Politics of Feminisms. For most of my career I published in many fields of feminist interpretation. Some of those articles were lingering on my desk for years. Time slips away. This book represents two years of research on feminist biblical interpretation, misogyny in the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Secrets of Women, and feminist politics in a modern classroom.
Below are a couple of excerpts. I wanted to entitle this book, “Misogyny for a Hundred Thousand Years,” but I thought that would be stretching it a bit.
Long ago, in the mid-twentieth century, when I was only seventeen, I began to study the Hebrew/Old Testament and New Testament while in college. I had this unshakeable faith that a Divine Being would never create inequality among human beings. There were passages in the Bible that confirmed my belief. People were created equal in Genesis one, and stood side by side in the formative years of the early church. Surely, after reading the Genesis passage and many stories in the New Testament, people would agree that females and males should be treated equally in society.
I was naive. Having been raised in a family with a strong mother who stood beside her husband as an equal, I could not even fathom that females should be treated differently just because their biology differed with males. I soon learned that females and males were treated differently in society.
A second excerpt:
The Bible is a historic collection of thoughts that has shaped countries and peoples for millennia. Communities have centered their faith activities in the Bible, brought unlikely people together, and serviced many needy people in spite of its misogyny, advocacy of male supremacy, and war-like tendencies. Communities like this provide havens and extended families for people. For some, to give up the study and research of the Bible may result in losing those friends or a haven. The flight of some Protestants away from feminist biblical traditions is understandable because they believe it essentially erodes their belief-system about order in society and community life. They cannot risk the loss even if it means redeeming oppressed females and others who constitute more than half of their congregations.
Feminists also desire control of the interpretation of the text to disseminate their truth, because it often legitimates an alternate power structure and serves to control myth. And, yes, they want more power in their lives and more control over the people who oppress, marginalize, and exploit them. But perhaps they could also open their research and hearts to others who also suffer in much the same way.
A third excerpt:
While we may be publishing new ideas about how we should interpret the Bible differently, or discovering people in the past who have shared the same dream, or how culture should change, or how political power should be shared, on a very basic level the average person does not understand shared power, and many have an unimpeachable belief in male supremacy that systematically excludes those who would challenge it.
Significant positive change may have come to some religious communities for women, but not to society as a whole in my view. Naomi Goldenberg threatened that feminism would be the end of traditional religions when the male God would be eliminated in her book The Changing of the Gods in 1979. “God is going to change…. We women are going to bring and end to God…. We will change the world so much that He won’t fit in anymore.”x[i]x Naomi Goldenberg’s prophecies failed to materialize. Little has changed. Perhaps her prophecies will come true … someday.