Academic Programs 

 Emerging Voices in Theology (TH-535)
Fall 2004

The work of contemporary feminist, black and two-thirds world theologians is examined in relation to the classical traditions and contemporary liberation theologies.


Meeting Day, Time and Dates: 
Tuesdays from 4:30 p.m. to 6:50 p.m.


Heidi Gehman
Adjunct Professor of Theology and Ethics  

Contact Information:
(860) 509-9500


Course Syllabus

COURSE DESCRIPTION:  In this course, we will explore the first voices in feminist theology and how they changed the face of theology.  We will begin with three central figures in feminist theology—Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, Sallie McFague, and Rosemary Radford Ruether—and trace their influence on contemporary voices from a variety of perspectives—African American,  Asian, Mujerista, and two-thirds world theologies.   We will note how these contemporary voices both draw from and critique the tradition of feminist theology.


COURSE TEXTS (all required):

Carol P. Christ and Judith Plaskow, eds., Womanspirit Rising: A Feminist Reader in Religion (San Francisco: Harper and Row Publishers, 1979)

Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, Bread Not Stone: The Challenge of Feminist Biblical Interpretation (Boston: Beacon Press, 1984)

Sallie McFague, Metaphorical Theology: Models of God in Religious Language (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1982)

Rosemary Radford Ruether, Sexism and God-Talk: Toward a Feminist Theology (Boston: Beacon Press, 1983)

Mercy Amba Oduyoye, Daughters of Anowa: African Women and Patriarchy (New York: Orbis Books, 2000)

Ada María Isasi-Díaz, Mujerista Theology: A Theology for the Twenty-First Century (New York: Orbis Books, 1996)

Chung Hyun Kyung, Struggle to be the Sun Again: Introducing Asian Women’s Theology (New York: Orbis Books, 1993)

Delores Williams, Sisters in the Wilderness: The Challenge of Womanist God-Talk (New York: Orbis Books, 1993)



1.      To understand the theory, methodology, and sources of the first voices in feminist theology.

2.      To chart the movement of feminist theology as it sought to meet the challenges of diversity and difference from within the feminist movement.

3.      To sketch the emerging voices in feminist theology.

4.      To explore, in depth, one branch or particular problem of current feminist theology.



1.  One 3-5 page reflection paper                10 points
2.  In-class presentation                             20 points
3.  Final 12-15 page research paper             60 points
4.  Attendance and participation                  10 points

Further instruction for written assignments will be given in class, along with a bibliography and possible final paper topics. The final paper should conform to the Seminary’s “General Guidelines for a Research Paper.

Student presentations will take place during the “Emerging Voices” section of the course.  Students will choose which of the final four texts they wish to present.  They will be responsible for presenting the week’s reading, including background and context and an overview of the reading and analysis of the argument.  They will also provide discussion questions and lead the class in conversation about the text and the particular theological voice it represents.



See “General Guidelines” for criteria for the evaluation of papers.  Grading scale is:

90-100%           A                                    60-74%            C
75-89%            B                                    below 60%         F




September 14:  Introduction to Feminist Theology

September 21:  Key issues in Feminist Theology: Experience, Language, Text and Tradition

Reading:  Christ and Plaskow, eds., “The Human Situation,” “After the Death of God the Father,” “Eve and Adam,” “Women in the Early Christian Movement,” “What Became of God the Mother?” “Feminist Spirituality, Christian Identity, and Catholic Vision,” “Female God Language in a Jewish Context,” “The Coming of Lilith,” “Why Speak About God?” “Why Women Need the Goddess.”  Please also read the introductory comments for each of the four sections of the book.


September 28:  Feminist Biblical Interpretation I

Reading:  Fiorenza, Bread Not Stone, Chapters 1-3

October 5:  Feminist Biblical Interpretation II

Reading:  Fiorenza, Bread Not Stone, Chapters 4-6

October 12:  Religious Language and Feminism I

Reading:  McFague, Metaphorical Theology, Chapters 1-3

October 19:  Religious Language and Feminism II

Reading:  McFague, Metaphorical Theology, Chapters 4, 5, and Conclusion

October 26:  Feminist Theology I

Reading:  Ruether, Sexism and God-Talk, Midrash and Chapters 1-4

November 2:  Feminist Theology II

            Reading:  Ruether, Sexism and God-Talk, Chapters 5-10


November 9:  Womanist Theology

            Reading:  Williams, Sisters in the Wilderness, selections given in class.

November 16:  African Women’s Theology

            Reading:  Oduyoye, Daughters of Anowa, selections given in class.

November 23:  Reading Week:  No Class

November 30:  Asian Women’s Theology

            Reading:  Kyung, Struggle to be the Sun Again, selections given in class.

December 7:  Mujerista Theology

            Reading:  Isasi-Diaz, Mujerista Theology, selections given in class.

December 14:  Final Reflections

            Reading:  To be distributed in class.

Final Papers Due:  January 3, 2005

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