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date: 09 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses how central feminist theorists have wrestled with the complex relationship between religion and gender, so often manifested in the subordination of women. Simone de Beauvoir and succeeding feminists have argued that religious ideas about the nature of men and women reduce, denounce, and marginalize women, representing women as a human “other.” The social and psychological functions of divine gender have been highlighted in feminist critique of Jewish and Christian monotheism and its transcendent, masculine godhead. If masculine divinity empowers men, however, one should think that feminine divinity would do the same for women. This kind of questioning has opened up new trajectories in research and motivated the growth of Western Goddess religion. The great impact on religious development and scholarship of modern feminism is exemplified in the present account.

Keywords: patriarchy, religious gender systems, the Genesis myth of Adam and Eve, woman as other, feminist scholarship in religion, divine gender, Goddess religion

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