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Naming Violence against Women in The United Church of Canada
Why did it take so long for the United Church of Canada to respond to violence against women?
Tracy J. Trothen looks at the United Church as a uniquely Canadian institution, and explores how it has approached gender and sexuality issues. She argues that how the Church deals with these issues influences its ability to name violence against women.
In examining the Church’s early approaches to gender and sexuality, Tracy J. Trothen discovered that the United Church had tended to see certain structures or roles as sacred and others as demonic. For example, while sex outside marriage was bad or improper, sexual expression within marriage was largely deemed as proper or good, no matter what manifestation it took. This assumption allowed much violence within families and marriages to go unchallenged.
Trothen uncovers significant shifts in this approach through the examination of such issues as redemptive homes, marriage, pornography, abortion, the ordination of women, and family. Then, analyzing three recent case studies, she demonstrates the value of women’s voices in challenging dominant world views. Finally, she suggests how the Church’s approach to human sexuality and gender has facilitated or obstructed the move to address violence against women.
The findings in Linking Sexuality and Gender can be applied to faiths outside the United Church and will be important to anyone interested in church and society, sexuality, gender, or the causal dynamics behind one Canadian institution’s response to violence against women.
Tracy J. Trothen is an assistant professor of systematic theology and ethics, and director of field education at Queen’s Theological College, Queen’s University, Canada. She was ordained in the United Church of Canada. Why did it take so long for the United Church of Canada to respond to violence against women?
Selected by Choice magazine as an Outstanding Academic Book for 1999
Karma Lochrie demonstrates that women were associated not with the body but rather with the flesh, that disruptive aspect of body and soul which Augustine claimed was fissured with the Fall of Man. It is within this framework that she reads The Book of Margery Kempe, demonstrating the ways in which Kempe exploited the gendered ideologies of flesh and text through her controversial practices of writing, her inappropriate-seeming laughter, and the most notorious aspect of her mysticism, her "hysterical" weeping expressions of religious desire. Lochrie challenges prevailing scholarly assumptions of Kempe's illiteracy, her role in the writing of her book, her misunderstanding of mystical concepts, and the failure of her book to influence a reading community. In her work and her life, Kempe consistently crossed the barriers of those cultural taboos designed to exclude and silence her.
Instead of viewing Kempe as marginal to the great mystical and literary traditions of the late Middle Ages, this study takes her seriously as a woman responding to the cultural constraints and exclusions of her time. Margery Kempe and Translations of the Flesh will be of interest to students and scholars of medieval studies, intellectual history, and feminist theory.
Drawing on New Testament studies and recent scholarship on the expansion of the Christian church, Gary B. Ferngren presents a comprehensive historical account of medicine and medical philanthropy in the first five centuries of the Christian era. Ferngren first describes how early Christians understood disease. He examines the relationship of early Christian medicine to the natural and supernatural modes of healing found in the Bible. Despite biblical accounts of demonic possession and miraculous healing, Ferngren argues that early Christians generally accepted naturalistic assumptions about disease and cared for the sick with medical knowledge gleaned from the Greeks and Romans. Ferngren next explores the origins of medical philanthropy in the early Christian church. Rather than viewing illness as punishment for sins, early Christians believed that the sick deserved both medical assistance and compassion. Even as they were being persecuted, Christians cared for the sick both within and outside of their community. Their long experience in medical charity led to the creation of the first hospitals, a singular Christian contribution to health care. Medicine and Health Care in Early Christianity is essential reading for scholars and students in the history of medicine and religious studies.
This volume takes up the challenge implied in Augustine's paradox of time: How does one account for the continuity of history and the certitude of memory, if time, in the guise of an indivisible "now," cuts off any extension of the present? The thinkers and artists the essays address include Augustine, Abelard, Eriugena and Thoreau, Calvin, Shakespeare, De Rancé, Stravinsky and Messiaen, Rubens and Woolf.
A study of the problems of the early history of the Franciscan Order by one of the most important scholars of the Order, this book seeks to contribute to a stronger historical understanding of the work of St. Francis by looking into the debates and theories surrounding the formation of the Order, and the transformation of the “original ideals of St. Francis.” Translated from the German.
Pietas Austriaca is a path-breaking study of the relationship between religious beliefs and practices and Habsburg political culture from the end of the medieval period to the early twentieth century. In this seminal work, Anna Coreth examines the ways that Catholic beliefs in the power of the Eucharist, the cross, the Virgin Mary, and saints were crucial for the Habsburg ruling dynasties in Austria and Spain.
Race, Gender, and Biblical Rhetoric in Early American Autobiography
For pious converts to Christianity in late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century New England, all reality was shaped by religious devotion and biblical text. It is therefore not surprising that earnest believers who found themselves marginalized by their race or sex relied on their faith to reconcile the tension between the spiritual experience of rebirth and the social ordeal of exclusion and injustice. In Piety and Dissent, Eileen Razzari Elrod examines the religious autobiographies of six early Americans who represented various sorts of marginality: John Marrant, Olaudah Equiano, and Jarena Lee, all of African or African American heritage; Samson Occom (Mohegan) and William Apess (Pequot); and Abigail Abbott Bailey, a white woman who was subjected to extreme domestic violence. Through close readings of these personal narratives, Elrod uncovers the complex rhetorical strategies employed by pious outsiders to challenge the particular kinds of oppression each experienced. She identifies recurrent ideals and images drawn from Scripture and Protestant tradition—parables of liberation, rage, justice, and opposition to authority—that allowed them to see resistance as a religious act and, more than that, imbued them with a sense of agency. What the life stories of these six individuals reveal, according to Elrod, is that conventional Christianity in early America was not the hegemonic force that church leaders at the time imagined, and that many people since have believed it to be. Nor was there a clear distinction between personal piety and religious, social, and political resistance. To understand fully the role of religion in the early period of American letters, we must rethink some of our most fundamental assumptions about the function of Christian faith in the context of individual lives.
The Archdiocese of St. Paul, 1840-1962
This is the first narrative history of the Archdiocese of St. Paul, from 1840 to 1962. Historian Marvin R. O'Connell brings to life the extraordinary labors and accomplishments of the French priests who came to the upper midwest territory during the first half of the nineteenth century. Over the next fifty years a flood of settlers, primarily Irish and German Catholics, filled up the land. In 1850 Rome created a new diocese centered in the village of St. Paul, and in 1851 French priest Joseph Cretin was named its first bishop. O'Connell's lively account stresses the social, economic, and political context in which the Catholic Church in Minnesota grew and evolved. He vividly illuminates the personalities of the bishops who followed Cretin, Thomas Grace (1859–84) and John Ireland (1884–1918). Ireland inherited a sophisticated system of churches, schools, orphanages, and hospitals, staffed by orders of religious men and women. Ireland built upon this legacy, founding colleges for men and women, a major seminary, and cathedrals in both St. Paul and Minneapolis. Ireland's successors, Austin Dowling (1919–30) and John Gregory Murray (1931–56) were not as colorful as Ireland, although Murray was immensely popular. William Brady is the final archbishop covered in this book, serving from 1956 to 1961 when he died unexpectedly from a heart attack. O’Connell ends his narrative In 1962, soon after the death of Archbishop Brady and a few months before the first session of Vatican II.
Gentile Christian Judaizing in the First and Second Centuries CE
Is it possible that early Christian anti-Judaism was directed toward people other than Jews?
Michele Murray proposes that significant strands of early Christian anti-Judaism were directed against Gentile Christians. More specifically, it was directed toward Gentile Christian judaizers. These were Christians who combined a commitment to Christianity with adherence in varying degrees to Jewish practices, without viewing such behaviour as contradictory. Several Christian leaders thought that these community members dangerously blurred the boundaries between Christianity and Judaism. As such, Gentile Christian judaizers became the target of much anti-Jewish rhetoric in various early Christian writings.
Evidence of Gentile Christian judaizers can be found in canonical sources, such as Pauls Letter to the Galatians and the Book of Revelation, as well as non-canonical sources, such as the Epistle of Barnabas, the Didache, and Justin Martyr’s Dialogue with Trypho. In order to compare the phenomenon of judaizing and the reaction to it of ecclesiastical authorities, Murray organizes the evidence by probable geographical location, using Asia Minor and Syria as the two main loci.
The phenomenon of Gentile Christian judaizing is examined within the broader context of Jewish-Christian relations in the early centuries, and is the first attempt to draw all possible references to Gentile Christian judaizers together into one study to consider them as a whole. This discussion invites readers to reflect on the existence of Gentile Christian judaizers as another point on the continuum of Jewish-Christian relations in the Greco-Roman world — an area, Murray concludes, that needs to be more carefully defined.