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Religious Feminism and the Future of the Planet: A Buddhist-Christian Conversation Paperback – April 15, 2001

ISBN-13: 978-0826412782 ISBN-10: 0826412785 Edition: 0th

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic (April 15, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0826412785
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826412782
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,583,959 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"It is crucial that the world's faiths and historical cultures not only end their wars against each other, but enter into the kind of deep mutual understanding that can lead to solidarity in creating a just, peaceful, and sustainable world." This noble sentiment forms the heart of an extended "conversation" between two religion scholars. Gross, a Buddhist (Soaring & Settling, etc.), and Ruether, a Christian (Gaia and God, etc.), have collaborated since 1985 on interfaith dialogues that are respectful, balanced and enlightening. Here they reveal their own personal stories first, and then proceed to explore, measure for measure, the problems, liberations and inspirations of their religious traditions, each woman responding to the ideas and issues raised by her friend and colleague. The final pages apply this technique and these concepts to ecological concerns in a chapter that shares the book's title. The metaphor Gross and Ruether so aptly use for this conversation is that of learning a second language that enhances, but never supplants, one's mother tongue. Readers specifically seeking a heavy treatment of ecospirituality will yearn for more pages, but nonetheless the wisdom on this issue does not disappoint. The book is a good model of what so many women do well: carry their own candles and hold them high, dispelling darkness together.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

In several earlier works, Gross (Soaring and Settling: Buddhist Perspectives on Contemporary Social and Religious Issues, LJ 8/98) and Ruether (Gaia and God: An Ecofeminist Theology) have examined feminist issues in the context of Buddhism and Christianity, respectively. In this new work, each author delineates her views on both traditions and then responds to the other's comments, allowing a rich dialog to emerge that offers a glimpse of a hope-filled future for major religious traditions in the progressive wings of the emerging global culture. Both authors offer autobiographical sections and touch on, among other things, the strengths and problems they see in their own and the other's tradition and how they see these traditions contributing to an eco-spiritual view crucial to the survival of the planet. Free of clich , stridency, or anger, the voices are consistently assured and convincing. Of particular interest are the passages in which the authors discuss their coming to terms, as feminists, with traditions consistently criticized for their patriarchal structures and how the deep reading of these traditions sustains them in their progressive endeavors. An important and thought-provoking book; suitable for all academic and public collections. Mark Woodhouse, Elmira Coll. Lib, NY
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Carol Luther on June 1, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book goes a long way towards undoing some of the most poignant mistakes made by traditional theologians who seek to divide the great ground of being into discreet plots for study. Religion, be it Buddhist, Christian or any other, is, at its heart not a set of received doctrines, but teachings about how to live. In this book Ruether and Gross weave together their life stories, the religions they practice, the teachings of those religions and the urgent questions that face people of faith today. The urgent question, of course, is how to weave back together all the pieces that reductionist thinking has split apart and in so doing reconnect us and the earth which gives us life.
This is a deeply readable and moving book. Its truth is greater than its title.
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By Joyce on October 1, 2013
Format: Paperback
Frederick Buechner once wrote that most theology is essentially autobiography. The theology of this book is explicitly so. Rita Gross tells of being excommunicated from her childhood Lutheran church at age 21 as she entered the University of Chicago graduate school to study the history of religions. She practiced Judaism for several years (where it was "okay to have a brain") and eventually became a Buddhist. Rosemary Radford Reuther has remained a Catholic. Her family was "religiously plural and had an international and intercultural perspective" that led to her openness to the experiences of other religions. Both women are scholarly as well as personal in these conversations. They raise all the relevant issues regarding women in Buddhist and Christian thought and practice as each discusses what is problematic and what is liberating about her own tradition, what is inspiring about the other's tradition, and the crucial issues of religious feminism for the future.

What interested me most was what each found inspiring about the other's tradition. Ruether finds the Buddhist description of the nature of reality more in tune with her understanding of God than most theist ones. She also appreciates the shaping of a calm interior self which is better equipped to aid society, and that ecology is quite naturally on the Buddhist agenda because of their traditional concern for all sentient beings. Gross is inspired by the "prophetic voice" of Christianity and the willingness to engage in analysis and challenge of social systems of oppression.

Reuther identifies three paradigms of religion which people may wish to renew in the tradition of their upbringing: 1) the sacralization of nature, 2) the prophetic vision, 3) contemplative inward transformation. She notes that interreligious dialogue is an excellent way to renew moribund aspects of one's tradition.
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Ruether and Gross share critical and reflective approaches to each other's religious affiliations as both practitioners and scholars. Their open-mindedness and honesty of speaking about their own religion's weakness or corruptions, also their willingness to learn from other traditions are invaluable inspiration of reformation within one's own religious tradition as well as building interreligious dialogue among different traditions.

I feel this book really shows how religions should offer a vivid worldview and solution to problems we are facing as the citizens of the global village.
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