||What happens when women writers re-imagine culture? What
is the relation of the feminist writer to the male tradition? Feminist
Revision and the Bible extends the feminist examination of western literature
to the founding document of patriarchal culture, the Bible. At the same
time, it re-thinks certain customary assumptions about feminism and about
the Bible, in the light of poetic 'readings' of biblical texts by 19th
and 20th century women writers.
|Modern biblical criticism recognizes that scripture has at no moment in history been a unified monolithic text, has always been radically composite, plurally authored, multiply motivated. But these insights have not been applied to issues of gender. Mainstream feminist theory, on the other hand, with few exceptions tends to treat patriarchal texts as uniformly antagonistic to women and femaleness. Feminist Revision and the Bible proposes that women writers relate to the Bible in complex ways which both critique biblical misogyny and stem directly from elements of transgressive writing within the biblical text, suggesting that feminist reinterpretations of the Bible constitute an inevitable consequence of radical spiritual values at the core of scripture itself.|
|Feminist Revision and the Bible is a commentary not only upon the achievements
of a distinguished exponent of gynocritics but is itself an example of
sociocultural change in religion. In the broadest terms the re-imagination
of culture over against what Ostriker calls the "looming male tradition
of religion, myth, philosoophy and literature" does not entail a "simple
polarity or adversarial relationship between male text and female re/writers,"
but "an invasion of the sanctuaries of existing male language, the treasuries
where our meanings for 'male' and 'female' are preserved." the implications
of such a stance are profound.... A collective enterprise which "has as
its goal the radical transformation of what used to be called the 'Judeo-Christian
tradition'" may well require on the part of men a three-stage response:
a respectful learning provoked by the reassertion of the woman, a consequent
and informed exploration of maleness, and then, it is to be hoped, new
dialogues with the mutual other.
--Richard Roberts, Theory, Culture & Society
Table of Contents