FEMINIST REVISION AND THE BIBLE
Blackwell; The Bucknell Lectures in Literary Theory, 1993
 
 
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


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pp 27-28
p 30