Special Issue "Feminism from the Perspective of Catholic Theology"

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2019).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Tracey Rowland
Website
Guest Editor
Institute for Ethics & Society, The University of Notre Dame Australia

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The purpose of this issue is to look at Feminism as an intellectual tradition, to obtain a macro level picture of the essential ‘hallmarks’ of feminist theory as well as a detailed analysis of the various different branches and divisions within the Feminist tradition. Different Catholic scholars will then examine these various ‘hallmarks’, ‘branches’ and ‘divisions’ from the perspective of Catholic theology. The contributions of the female Doctors of the Church will also be presented.

Prof. Dr. Tracey Rowland
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Feminism as a Tradition
  • Sub-divisions within Feminism
  • New-Feminism
  • essentialism
  • social constructivism
  • ontology of the feminine
  • feminist hermeneutics
  • magisterial responses to feminism
  • women in theology
  • the female Doctors of the Church

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Redeeming Woman: A Response to the “Second Sex” Issue from within the Tradition of Catholic Scriptural Exegesis
Religions 2020, 11(9), 474; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11090474 - 17 Sep 2020
Abstract
The aim of this paper is to correct an historical error: the ancient claim, grounded in a flawed understanding of the reproductive act, that woman is inferior to man. I will show that the lineage of this can be traced as far back [...] Read more.
The aim of this paper is to correct an historical error: the ancient claim, grounded in a flawed understanding of the reproductive act, that woman is inferior to man. I will show that the lineage of this can be traced as far back as the pre-Socratic philosophers, finally finding its earliest concrete expression in a claim most have either dismissed, forgotten, or never heard: Aristotle’s argument that women are merely “malformed males” and are therefore “inferior to man.” The theory found support in the first century with a historical interpretation of Genesis 2:18-23, traceable in particular to the Hellenistic Jewish philosopher, Philo (BC 13-AD 54). Philo’s own theory about woman echoed that of Aristotle’s; his legacy includes the vague feeling that Scripture itself declares that, since woman is created after man, she is necessarily subservient to him. She becomes, as it were, the “second sex.” I dispute both these accounts and show that they can be defeated on their own terms. Through the lens of Hebraic and Aristotelian-Thomistic anthropology, and building on the insights of St. John Paul II, I provide a robust, philosophically and theologically grounded account of man and woman from within the Catholic exegetical tradition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feminism from the Perspective of Catholic Theology)
Open AccessArticle
The Female Line in the Bible. Ratzinger’s Deepening of the Church’s Understanding of Tradition and Mary
Religions 2020, 11(6), 310; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11060310 - 23 Jun 2020
Abstract
This paper explores the female line in the Bible that Joseph Ratzinger identifies as running in parallel to, and being indispensable for, the male line in the Bible. This female line expands the understanding of Salvation History as described by Dei Verbum so [...] Read more.
This paper explores the female line in the Bible that Joseph Ratzinger identifies as running in parallel to, and being indispensable for, the male line in the Bible. This female line expands the understanding of Salvation History as described by Dei Verbum so that it runs not just from Adam through to Jesus, but also from Adam and Eve to Mary and Jesus, the final Adam. Ratzinger’s female line demonstrates that women are at the heart of God’s plan for humanity. I illustrate that this line is evident when Ratzinger’s method of biblical interpretation is applied to the women of Scripture. Its full potential comes into view through Ratzinger’s development of the Christian notion of person: Person as revealed by Jesus Christ is relatedness without reserve with God and is fully applicable to the human being through Christ. I argue that together, the male and female lines in the Bible form the human line in the Bible, in which the male line represents “the humanity”, every human being, while the female line represents the communal aspect of humanity. Moreover, I contend that Christianity’s notion of mother in relation to God (as Father, Son and Holy Spirit) should be understood through Mary’s response at the Annunciation. Mother in relation to God is to be understood through the Incarnation when Mary, as person, lived her life wholly in relation with and for God. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feminism from the Perspective of Catholic Theology)
Open AccessArticle
“Headship”: Making the Case for Fruitful Equality in a World of Indifferent Sameness and Unbridgeable Difference
Religions 2020, 11(6), 295; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11060295 - 16 Jun 2020
Abstract
The article takes up the biblical category of “headship,” one of the “third rails” for Christians in a context dominated by the limited conceptions of equality, especially those assumed by “second wave” and “difference” feminism, viz., that of interchangeable sameness and unbridgeable difference. [...] Read more.
The article takes up the biblical category of “headship,” one of the “third rails” for Christians in a context dominated by the limited conceptions of equality, especially those assumed by “second wave” and “difference” feminism, viz., that of interchangeable sameness and unbridgeable difference. Headship is easily dismissed as an instance of (bad) cultural influence that spoiled Christianity’s egalitarian beginnings. Less radically, headship is simply avoided, or glossed over with apologetic caveats. Headship is an embarrassment, because it suggests not only exclusive differences—the “head” is not the “body”—but an order between them. Head and body are “subject to each other” in distinct and coordinated ways. In what follows, the author claims that headship is not only not an affront to equality, but its very condition between subjects who belong to each other in a generous relation of reciprocal and fruitful unity and distinction. Moreover, it is the expression of the novelty of Christianity, regarding first of all the nature of God in whom there is an original Head, and a “positive other,” without any hint of subordinationism (inequality). On the contrary, the Father is never absolute, but always already determined by the Son. This original headship then informs the Christian conception of the world, its positivity, even to the point that it can give something to God. Finally, it informs the this-worldly headships (Christ–Church and husband–wife). There, headship counters the status quo, by countering the “body’s” default immanentistic “certainty” about her exclusive life-giving power, enjoining her to acknowledge a transcendent source. It restores equality to the head. For the “head,” it counters the false absolutist image of God, while enjoining him to “radiate” something of which he is first “subject,” to “be involved with,” and determined by, the woman, as a positive other. It restores equality to the body. In sum, the article urges us to turn towards the deepest resources of Christianity, to find therein a more fruitful equality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feminism from the Perspective of Catholic Theology)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
“The Hour of Woman” and Edith Stein: Catholic New Feminist Responses to Essentialism
Religions 2020, 11(6), 271; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11060271 - 29 May 2020
Abstract
This article examines how Edith Stein’s philosophical and theological anthropology is foundational to the “new feminism” that both Paul VI and John Paul II called for in the wake of the Second Vatican Council. In particular, this article shows how Stein helps to [...] Read more.
This article examines how Edith Stein’s philosophical and theological anthropology is foundational to the “new feminism” that both Paul VI and John Paul II called for in the wake of the Second Vatican Council. In particular, this article shows how Stein helps to respond to Simone de Beauvoir’s argument that taking women’s biology into consideration leads to essentialism with political implications. This article outlines main themes in the new feminism, and gives a brief overview of the ideas about the “hour of woman” and the “feminine genius” pronounced by popes Paul VI and John Paul II. This article then describes and analyzes Stein’s psycho-physical theory of the human person. Finally, this article considers the importance of Stein’s thought for feminist theology, with brief application to the issue of the ordination of women to the priesthood. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feminism from the Perspective of Catholic Theology)
Open AccessArticle
A Rapprochement between Feminist Ethics of Care and Contemporary Theology
Religions 2020, 11(4), 185; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11040185 - 13 Apr 2020
Abstract
Ethics of care is a relatively new approach to morality, first developed as a feminist ethical theory in the 1980s by Carol Gilligan, Sara Ruddick, and Nel Noddings. It is based on the experience and responsibility of providing care and is distinct from [...] Read more.
Ethics of care is a relatively new approach to morality, first developed as a feminist ethical theory in the 1980s by Carol Gilligan, Sara Ruddick, and Nel Noddings. It is based on the experience and responsibility of providing care and is distinct from other popular moral philosophies including Kantian moral theory, utilitarianism, or virtue ethics, although it has some similarities to virtue ethics. Founded on a relational ontology, it offers a deeply incisive critique of liberal individualism through ethical reflection. It is also committed to a particularism which recognises the importance of addressing moral problems in the context of lived experience. In this article, after an analysis of the foundational perspectives of care ethics, it will be contended that its central tenets tie in with contemporary approaches in theology, particularly those expressed in the writings of St John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Furthermore, it will be suggested that the anthropological and moral insights of these theologians can offer the ethics of care a deeper ontological and epistemological grounding, hence strengthening its viability and existential appeal. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feminism from the Perspective of Catholic Theology)
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