A nice convergence: our series on Women in Ministry and on Scriptures and Scripture converge in the chapter by Pamela Cochran on “Scripture, Feminism, and Sexuality.”
This chapter in Justin Holcomb’s book, Christian Theologies of Scripture, neatly and efficiently rehearses a taxonomy of how feminists view Scripture. Leading us to a good question:
How do feminists treat Scripture? We welcome comments from all angles, but we need to be on our best behavior.
There are two poles, Cochran says: those who focus on justice (for women) and those who focus on scriptural authority. If Christian feminism is the pursuit of justice for women by Christians, one central feature is a “hermeneutic of suspicion” — the view that the Bible occasionally or often reflects a patriarchal bias.
She finds three kinds of feminists:
Theologies of Rejection: those who have “gone beyond criticizing Christianity from within to abandoning it as hopelessly patriarchal and misogynistic” and who are either post-Christian (like Mary Daly) or simply part of women’s spirituality.
Theologies of Revision: those who struggle with the Bible, but who maintain connection with the Christian faith. “Feminist theology is paradoxical, for ‘one must struggle against God as enemy assisted by God as helper, or one must defeat the Bible as patriarchal authority by using the Bible as liberator” (269).
Theologies of Reformation: those in the evangelical movement — at either end of that movement — who are either egalitarian and think that is what the Bible really teaches, and those who (like the EWCI) are more toward the revisionist end.