Sunday, March 18, 2012

Book Review of Transforming Vision by Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza


Transforming Vision: Explorations in Feminist The*logy
by Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza
ISBN 978-0-8006-9806-5
Fortress Press
Reviewed by Clint Walker

Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza is a well-known leader in feminist liberation theology. She has written a large number of books, and has also wrote many articles and essays in monographs over the years. Now in her mid-seventies, Fiorenza has signed a contract to publish three books that compile many of her shorter works into books. Transforming Vision is the first book in that series, bringing together some of Fiorenza's most well-written essays on feminist theology.

The essays in the book cover four main topical areas:

  • The relationship between feminist theory and feminist theology
  • How feminist theology leads to praxis of women's liberation within the church and the world
  • Areas of struggle and of hope for feminist theology within the ecclesiastical structure of Catholicism
  • How feminist theology effects our spirituality and our understanding about who God is
Fiorenza is a smart lady. This shows in her writing. Each essay is well-written. Many of the essays require the reader to slow down and really make a concentrated effort to understand what is being said. This is because she is philosophically sound, and very thorough in her arguments.

In multiple places in Transforming Vision, Fiorenza creates new spellings and words for the feminine that attempt to begin to cleanse the language of patriarchal oppression. I found this awkward, but not so much that it made reading the context of the book unreadable.

This book is bound to be a textbook for people seeking to learn about how to be a feminist theologian, or in many cases it might be on a pastor's bookshelf who has an interest in theological trends and gender equality. Transforming Vision in many ways is a "highlight reel" of Fiorenza's feminist work, and will be helpful to those that admire her work and/or share her viewpoint.

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