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Empowering Memory and Movement

Thinking and Working across Borders

by Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza

Publication Year: 2014

Empowering Memory and Movement, Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza completes a three-volume look across her influential work and career. In Transforming Vision (2011), she drew from decades of pioneering scholarship to offer the contours of a critical feminist hermeneutic. The chapters in Changing Horizons (2013) sketched out a theory of liberation. Now, the consequences for a liberating praxis are elaborated in interviews and essays that chart Schüssler Fiorenza’s own personal and professional history as these are intertwined with the history of the worldwide movement for emancipation and full equality. Empowering Memory and Movement looks back, but also looks around at challenges and potentialities on the global scene, and looks ahead to an emancipatory future, with a critical and wise engagement with scripture and the interpretive tradition always at the center.

Published by: Augsburg Fortress Publishers

Title Page, Copyright Page, Dedication

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pp. vii-x


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pp. xi-xii

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pp. xiii-xiv

Memory and Movement is the concluding book in a three-volume project that seeks to ingather some of my feminist work. While the first volume, Transforming Vision, assembled feminist the*logical essays, and Changing Horizons gathered some of my exegetical and hermeneutical work, the present...


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pp. xv-xviii

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Introduction: Remembering the Past in Creating the Future

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pp. 1-14

The first volume of my collected essays, Transforming Vision, reflected on the articulation of a critical feminist the*logy of liberation, whereas the second, Changing Horizons, brought together articles on a critical feminist biblical hermeneutics. This third volume explores the intersections between memory...

Part I: Crossing Borders

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pp. 15-16

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1. Looking Back, Looking Around, Looking Ahead: An Interview with Fernando F. Segovia

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pp. 17-48

Interviews are a conversation in which memory comes alive. I have chosen this first interview,1 with Professor Fernando Segovia, to open the present volume not only because of its title, “Looking Back, Looking Around, Looking Ahead,” which aptly characterizes the undertakings of this volume, but also because this conversation brings

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2. Resident Alien/Dual Citizen

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pp. 49-64

Crossing borders also always means becoming displaced and becoming a stranger.1 It means critically questioning our own culture and nationality. Because of the complexity of the topic I will try to elucidate the fragmentary and ambivalent character of any national identity, be it German or otherwise..

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3. Fostering Diversity Studies at Harvard Divinity School

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pp. 65-74

The term diversity invites celebration.1 Describing the great variety of life in the universe, Bishop Desmond Tutu speaks about our glorious diversity and elaborates why we should celebrate difference...

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4. On Becoming a Feminist Biblical Scholar

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pp. 75-90

am grateful to Prof. Dr. Eve-Marie Becker for inviting us to contribute autobiographical reflections on how we became biblical scholars.1 Everyone knows that until recently women were excluded from authoritative ecclesiastical and scholarly interpretations of the Bible, both by law and by...

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5. Feminist Studies in Religion and The*logy between Nationalism and Globalization

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pp. 91-100

Patriotic nationalism is the most powerful discourse of the day as the flags on cars and houses or the bumper stickers “in support of our troops” amply document.1 At the same time, the rhetoric of the most recent presidential election campaign has driven home how much religion is implicated in such...

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6. Changing the Paradigms

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pp. 101-110

The invitation to write about “how my mind has changed” is at once challenging and troubling.1 It challenges one to construct a narrative that can capture change that has not only private but also public significance. Yet a woman writer lacks narrative models for recording the public significance of...

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7. Visiting Japan

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pp. 111-132

It always has been my desire to visit Japan, but I did not want to do so as a Western tourist.1 Hence, I was more than delighted when I received an invitation for a lecture tour from the Center of Feminist Theology and Ministry in Tokyo. Dr. Satoko Yamaguchi, the co-director of the center and a close...

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8. Has G*d Not Spoken with Us Also?

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pp. 133-144

The presentation of an honorary doctorate1 is a major recognition, not only for the recipient but also for the scholarly direction she represents.2 There is a great temptation to concentrate on personal recollections, but that would mean to make this ceremony a private occasion. This is, after all, not only a moment...

Part II: Memory and Movement

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pp. 145-146

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9. The Inside Stories: Interview with Annie Lally Milhaven

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pp. 147-164

This interview1 opens the second part of this volume, on “Memory and Movement.” It took place in 1986, at the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where I was teaching at the time. I had previously taught for fifteen years at the University of Notre Dame, which is known as a leading Roman Catholic university...

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10. Beginnings: Articulating Feminist The*logy and Biblical Scholarship

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pp. 165-186

I am often asked after lectures, “With whom did you study feminist the*logy?”1 And my response usually is: when I was a student, feminist the*logy or studies in religion did not exist. That is why a new field of study needed to be invented. This question from students, however, does not just reveal how far we have...

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11. Feminist The*logy and The*logical Education: Helen Wright, S.N.D., In Memoriam

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pp. 187-192

Sister Helen Wright, whose work I want to remember here, gathered a group of Catholic feminist the*logians from 1978 to 1980 to discuss feminist the*logical education.1 As far as I remember, we worked out several different models of the*logical education, but I can only recall two of them. (When I tried to...

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12. Feminist Studies in Religion and a Radical Democratic Ethos

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pp. 193-216

Feminist studies in religion contribute to the fashioning of a radical democratic political culture and the creation of an egalitarian politics of meaning.1 In the South African context, feminist studies are important elements in the emergence of a democratic and just society since they provide a theoretical...

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13. Feminist Perspectives on Jesus, Discipleship, and Church: An Interview with Robert A. Becker

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pp. 217-222

This interview,1 conducted in 1997 by Robert Becker, the director of public affairs at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., focuses on my feminist the*logical work, especially on my understanding of Jesus and Christology in my books In Memory of Her, and Jesus: Miriam’s Child, Sophia’s Prophet. Whereas the earlier interview...

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14. Movement Struggles, Wisdom Places, Dreaming Spaces

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pp. 223-234

First, I want to extend my heartfelt thanks to Professor Irmtraud Fischer for the invitation to the twentieth anniversary of the European Society of Women in Theological Research (ESWTR), and to express my special gratitude to her and to the president of the ESWTR, Adriana Valerio, together with their...

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15. An Interview with Yoke-Heng Woon for In God’s Image

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pp. 235-250

In July 2005, I had the privilege of giving a lecture and workshop in Kuala Lumpur, which was sponsored by the Asian Women’s Resource Centre for Culture and Theology (AWRC). The very name of this feminist organization affirms the interlinking impact of culture and theology on the lives of Asian wo/men. It insists that...

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16. Our Heritage Is Our Power: In Celebration of Wo/men’s History Month

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pp. 251-264

The Australian feminist Dale Spender published a book of more than eight hundred pages in the early 1980s entitled On Women of Ideas (and What Men Have Done to Them).1 She shows that in the last six hundred years or so feminist thought has emerged again and again and then has been submerged...

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17. “AAR Martin Marty Award” Conversation with Judith Plaskow

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pp. 265-290

The last chapter in part 2, Memory and Movement, is an interview1 with my longstanding colleague and friend, the renowned Jewish feminist the*logian Judith Plaskow. Thirty years ago, Judith and I founded the Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, the premier academic journal in the field. Although such an undertaking required much...

Part III: Memory and Theory

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pp. 291-292

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18. Biblicon Interview with Alice Bach

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pp. 293-314

This 1998 interview1 with my colleague Alice Bach for the journal Biblicon introduces the third part of this volume, “Memory and Theory.” In our conversation, we explore the methodological and hermeneutical questions that arise for scholars who seek to recover wo/men’s history as memory and heritage, for as Judy Chicago has

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19. Re-Visioning Christian Origins: In Memory of Her Revisited

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pp. 315-338

This chapter1 looks at and to Christian origins for answers to the question “Where have we come from?” By explicitly affirming this search, its queries openly engage discourses of identity and therefore must face the Foucaultian critique of origins. If the quest for origins is always also a search for identity...

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20. The "Quilting" of Wo/men's History: Phoebe of Kenchreae

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pp. 339-350

I would like to address the question of women’s early Christian history, how it is written, produced, and transmitted in historical consciousness, and I will illustrate my methodological proposals by looking at the scant information we have about a leading woman in early Christianity: Phoebe of Kenchreae.1 In...

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21. Looking Back and Looking Forward

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pp. 351-356

There is a nice story that illuminates some of my experience today when listening to the panelists and having had the chance to see some of the contributions in the three Festschriften that you have collected to honor my work.1 According to Jewish tradition, Moses visited the academy of Akiva. Akiva...

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22. Celebrating Feminist Work by Knowing It

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pp. 357-366

I was greatly honored to have had the privilege of participating in the celebration of the ninetieth birthday of Dr. Catharina Halkes, an eminent European feminist theologian.1 The event was great and I am very grateful to the Halkes organizing committee for bringing us together for this feminist...

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23. Reaffirming Feminist/Womanist Biblical Scholarship

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pp. 367-376

Our present and future are shaped by the past, our hopes and visions rooted in memory.1 Hence, it is important for feminists of all colors to understand from where and how far we have come in order to move into a more just future. Since I belong to the first generation of scholars who sought to develop...

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24. Reviewing my Work in a Roman Catholic Context: The Jerome Award

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pp. 377-382

First, I want to thank the Catholic Library Association and its Academic Libraries, Archives, and Library Education Section for honoring my scholarship with the Jerome Award.1 I greatly appreciate this honor in recognition not only of my scholarly work but also of feminist the*logy’s contributions to...

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25. Shaping the Discipline: The Rhetoricity/Rhetoricality of N*T Studies

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pp. 383-402

My work1 has sought to integrate and transform elements of the the*logical, historical, and literary paradigms of biblical studies into a fourth paradigm of rhetorical-ethical inquiry and has done so in the framework and interest of a critical feminist hermeneutics and rhetoric of liberation.2...

Part IV: Scripture as Site of Memory, Struggle, and Vision

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pp. 403-404

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26. Critical Reflections on Philosophy and The*logy: An Interview with Michael Norton

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pp. 405 -412

This interview1 introduces the concluding, fourth part of the book, which explores Scripture as a site of memory, struggle, and vision. It spells out again my understanding of Scripture as a site of memory where struggles take place and empowering visions are articulated. Engaging in such struggles and visions for changing kyriarchal structures...

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27. Biblical Interpretation in the Context of Church and Ministry

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pp. 413-422

The editor’s questions as to how my exegetical-historical work has been done in the interest of church and ministry raises important questions not only with respect to the self-understanding but also to the allegiance of biblical scholarship.1 It asks how experience and analysis, world and word, society...

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28. Wo/men in the Pre-Pauline and Pauline Churches

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pp. 423-446

In his letter to the Corinthian church, Paul explicitly refers twice to the behavior of wo/men in the worship service of the community.1 Both references, 1 Cor 11:2-16 and 14:33-36, present for the exegete and historian great difficulties of interpretation, and it is very doubtful whether we will be able to reconstruct the...

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29. Slave Wo/men and Freedom: Some Methodological Reflections

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pp. 447-470

In his book The Bible and Empire, R. S. Sugirtharajah paraphrases former British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s announcement of a new mission: “The new missionary command is to preach the gospel of freedom, democracy, human rights and market economy, distinctly as defined by its western interest.”1 This...

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30. The Apocalypse of John: A Critical Feminist Perspective

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pp. 471-482

The Apocalypse of John (Revelation)1 is at present one of the most interesting fields of N*T research, because its interpretation enables the integration of many methodical and hermeneutical trends.2 It claims to be “words of prophecy” that John received through angels, but it speaks the fantastic language of apocalyptic...

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31. The Cross as a Central Christian Symbol of Injustice

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pp. 483-490

In “The Death of Christianity,” Lawrence Swaim argues that the doctrine of substitutionary atonement “makes God out to be a vengeful, homicidal deity who can be satisfied only with the death of his son.”1 He eloquently elaborates how the doctrine of blood atonement is a product of Roman imperial power...

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32. “I Have Not Come to Bring Peace but a Sword” (Matthew 10:34): Peacebuilding and the Struggles for Justice

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pp. 491-512

The title of my contribution “I have not come to bring peace but a sword”1 is, to say the least, somewhat provocative for a Women’s Peacebuilding in Religion conference. It cites an early saying of Jesus that is also found in Luke’s Gospel (12:51-53). Luke’s version reads: “Do you think that I have...

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33. The Calling of Mary of Magdala and Our Own: A Sermon

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pp. 513-518

We have gathered in this sacred space to remember our calling to the discipleship of equals and to empower each other with the life-giving word of Divine Wisdom.1 All the Scripture readings of today speak about Divine Wisdom’s calling. In the reading from the Gospel of John, we hear about Jesus...

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34. Toward a Feminist Future of the Biblical Past

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pp. 519-535

I approach this topic from the vantage point of a critical feminist rhetoric and hermeneutics of liberation rather than from a culturally or geographically defined position.1 This may place my reflections somewhat at odds with this volume’s overall organization, which is structured in area2 and cultural studies...

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9781451452310
E-ISBN-10: 1451452314
Print-ISBN-13: 9781451481815
Print-ISBN-10: 1451481810

Page Count: 480
Publication Year: 2014