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Goddess and God in the World: Conversations in Embodied Theology Paperback – August 1, 2016
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"Goddess and God in the World makes clear that women's experience and perspective enrich and transform theology and also that some of the central theological debates continue. Do we think of God as the impersonal ground of everything or as the personal embodiment of cosmic love? Is one view more feminine or more feminist than the other?" John B. Cobb, Jr., professor emeritus and co-founding Director of the Center for Process Theology, Claremont School of Theology and author of Process Theology and For the Common Good
"Goddess and God in the World offers readers the chance to sit in a cozy room with two of the greats of feminist theology. In this work Carol P. Christ and Judith Plaskow answer all the questions you would pose if you had an audience with them. You hear them laugh, reminisce, pontificate, argue, and laugh again. Plaskow and Christ offer distinct theologies that wrestle with the depth and breadth of patriarchy. They emerge different than they entered, yet maintaining deep and meaningful faiths. May this work be a model for all dialogical theology!" Monica Coleman, professor and co-director of the Center for Process Studies, Claremont School of Theology and author of Bipolar Faith and Making a Way Out of No Way
"The engaging narratives and conversations in Goddess and God in the World brilliantly model the authors' conviction that divinity is to be found within our lives and in our shared experience. Carol P. Christ and Judith Plaskow have given us a unique gift: the record of a long and evolving friendship between two of our foremost feminist foremothers. I am thrilled with this book!" Marcia Falk, author of The Book of Blessings and The Days Between
"What is most striking about this book is the sustained engagement with one another of two brilliant thinkers with radically divergent theologies. They are, of course, still committed feminists, but this book presents a mode of theological conversation that challenges all of us, not just women, to reflect deeply on our own understanding of the divine." Christine Downing, professor of mythological studies and author of The Goddess and Women's Mysteries
"Goddess and God in the World is essential reading. Carol P. Christ and Judith Plaskow bring their formidable intellects and compassionate imaginations to the difficult, necessary work of thinking constructively about the Divine. Their exploration ranges widely, reaches deeply, and offers resources for us all." Kecia Ali, associate professor of religion at Boston University and author of Sexual Ethics and Islam and The Lives of Muhammad
From the Author
The purpose of theology is to help us understand the world and to provide orientation in it. We believe that the world and the body are our true home; that divinity can and must be known in the world and in the body; that this world is the one where we live out our lives and where our choices make a difference. The embodied theological method we propose begins with the insight that theology is rooted in experience. We can judge theologies by two criteria: Do they make sense of the world we share? Do they promote the flourishing of life? We hope that others will be moved by the conversation we have begun here to share their own spiritual journeys and to reflect on their theological views.
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Top customer reviews
Recognizing that experience is fundamental to theology, these two scholars express complex, differing, and deeply felt ideas in a way that makes their experiences and subsequent theologies understandable and accessible to readers. The result is an intensely personal and compelling work.
Although they agree on many subjects of deeply religious and philosophical consequence, the disagreements between them are striking and essential, and they do not shy away from confronting them. While both claim panentheism as their conceptual model, Plaskow’s theological engagement, especially in grappling with the question of evil in the world, is with God as the ground and the essence of all being and becoming: the ambiguous, non-personal, non-gendered, eternal creative energy of the universe. Christ’s view embraces Goddess as caring, personal, and good — the conscious, feminine embodiment of love in the world. For reasons they discuss, Christ has stepped away from the Christian faith with which she was raised and into Goddess religion, while Plaskow remains aligned with Judaism and the Jewish community.
In writing this book, bravely sharing their religious and feminist histories and struggles, their theological development, their long friendship, and their deep listening and response to one another, even their marked divergence and disagreement, the authors offer readers a chance to eavesdrop, and in so doing, to contemplate their own histories, their own development, their own responses, as well as a methodology of inquiry and argument that can bring us closer to our own religious insights. What a gift that is.
How refreshing to read two theologians in respectful conversation with each other--both quite aware of how theology (interpreted story) shapes our views and ultimately affects our actions/behavior in our relationship with the Earth all that springs from it.
A narrative of this history is told through personal reflection in the book, and includes many firsts – the first women in theology at Yale, the first Jewish Studies courses there, the first women’s caucus in the American Academy of Religion and its first woman president, the first women rabbis, and the important first communities of feminist religion specialists and academics. These are stories of connections among women important to the history of feminism and religion, of their inspiration and leadership in ecofeminist, Pagan, and eclectic spiritual movements, as well as leadership within traditional faiths to improve the status and roles of women and lead to more inclusive language and practice.
Through this history, religion in the United States has transformed from an exclusively male-led institution with exclusively male imagery, language, and concepts, to religions inclusive of women leaders and thinkers and everyday practitioners. The freedom women experience today to think, explore, and choose in the realm of religion and spirituality, and the growing acceptance of Goddess imagery and language, is the result of foremothers like Christ and Plaskow whose stories and interconnecting lives are narrated in this book.
As someone who also studied religion and who read Christ’s and Plaskow’s work as a graduate student, I find this narrative especially engaging, revealing as it does behind the scenes events in a changing religious landscape which these women helped to create. In telling their stories of how they came to understand the divine – as Goddess and God in the world – these important feminist thinkers model a commitment to deep religious reflection through respectful interfaith dialogue, they awaken us to the inherent freedom we all have to choose what to believe, and they remind us of the importance of feminist community.