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Radical Catholic feminist theologian Schussler Fiorenza offers an introduction to feminist biblical interpretation that is sure to annoy some readers, enlighten some others and challenge all of them. As an introduction, the book is presumably intended to present Schussler Fiorenza's brand of liberation theology to a new audience beyond the academic theological one the Harvard Divinity School professor already commands. Yet the book can be slow going for the interested general reader, with neologisms and hyphenated Latinate adjectives weighing down many sentences. And the book will disappoint those looking for fresh takes on particular passages or specific women, because text itself isn't nearly as important in Schussler Fiorenza's interpretation as "context," or the set of social and political relationships that produced a particular story or statement. After Schussler Fiorenza has deconstructed traditional biblical texts, she attempts to reorient the reader by presenting other biblical passages (drawn most heavily from the wisdom literature of the Hebrew Bible) that offer female imagery for the Divine. With a glossary and exercises, this book tries hard to open the door of biblical interpretation to non-specialists, but the threshold is high. As a believer, Schussler Fiorenza wants readers to limn quite a different Divinity than the generally received Christian God, an imaginative prospect that requires a good deal of work on the reader's part.
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