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Women in Religion

By gogurt22 Mar 19, 2013 673 Words
Ecofeminism: an introduction
Tuesday, February 12, 2013

INTRODUCTION
* R. Radford Reuther “ecofeminism: symbolic and social connections fo the oppression of women and the domination of nature” * Ecofeminism: combines “deep” ecology and feminism
* Deep ecology: combines biology with symbolic, psychological, and ethical patterns, to seek a life affirming culture * Ecofeminism points out the connection between domination of nature and women * Reshape/revise religious beliefs and practices

* Broad critique of western culture from ecofeminism perspective * Positive constructions of ecofeminism to follow
* Why have women been associated with nature and men with culture? * Is the separation of nature and culture ultimately true?

ANCIENT CULTURES
* Early role of women associated with childbearing, food, production, clothing, etc. * Males associated with hunting large animals, war, clearing fields, leisure (energy, prestigious) * Eventually, males began to define cultural roles

* Male coercion and plow agriculture
* Males take over agriculture, decent of land
* Conquest of tribes: women for labor and sexual service * Patriarchal law: women, slaves, animals, land
* Babylonian Creation Myth: Marduk vs. Tiamat
* Marduk is a warrior , taimat is a female, marduk defeats tiamat and kills her, her body becomes the ground. This patriarc is already built in. Women are associated with earth.

HEBREW CONCEPTIONS
* God creates, shapes, and controls nature
* Nature can confront Israel/humans as judgment
* Nature also a benign and fruitful source
* God symbolized as patriarchal male, transcendent, control nature * Isreal as wife, son, servant of God = women identified with nature * God shapes creation out of chaos
* Male as child of earth, not women
* Women, earth, fecundity

GREEK VIEWPOINT
* Plato, Timaeus
* Three points of Creation: Demi-urge, Eternal Ideas, Matter * Unformed matter is ‘receptacle’ and nurse
* Disembodied male mind is creator/architect
* Demi-urge also creates World Soul, leftovers are human soul * Soul needs to overcoming lower passions of body
* Return to stars to reincarnated into female or animal
* Intellectual over material; male, female, animal
* Leads to apocalypticism and Gnosticism
* Identify of female with nature more explicit
* Greek thought influential on some Christian theology

CHRISTIANITY
* Christianity shaped by both Hebraic and Greek traditions * Irenaeus rejects Gnosticism. Based on Hebrew creation theology * All creation a sacrament, embodying divine presence
* Creation itself develops into redemption
* Tendency in later Christianity toward Greek view
* Suspicion of resurrection of body

WOMEN AND ASCETICISM
* Monastic life an alternative to social expectations
* Agents of teaching and preaching
* Rejects sexuality and reproductive role (symbolic male) * Ascetic males eventually looked at ascetic females as temptations (decreased roles, under control) * Reversal of biblical viewpoint of procreation

* Medieval view ambivalent
* Sacramental cosmos, resurrected body and cosmos untied with God * Free body of sexuality and mortality (Virgin Mary)
* Nature as demonic, leads to sin and death
* Older women, retaining sexual appetites, as vehicles of demonic power

REFORMATION
* Sacramental vs. demonic
* Calvinism rejected sacramental view of nature (Iconoclastic tendencies) * Human nature was depraved, unaware of divine presence (need grace) * Led to suspicion of body and nature
* Demonic ideas preserved (pagan Catholics, indigenous)
* Women obedient to fathers, husbands, ministers, (redemption in being good wives) * Calvinism, historically, has recovered from this

SCIENTIFIC REVOLUTION
* Rejected a demonic nature; nature became an icon of divine reason in natural law * Eventually, nature becomes a machine, devoid of any “spirit”

ECOLOGICAL CRISIS
* Progress, population explosion, inadequate food supply, 10 million children die by malnutrition every year. * Increase in militarization

TOWARD AN ECOFEMINIST ETHIC AND CULTURE
* Goal: a just and sustainable planet
* Rethink symbolic, psychological, cultural patterns
* Humans are latecomers and dependent on planet
* Mind and consciousness emerges from nature
* Concept of God “God, in ecofeminism spirituality, is the immanent source of life that sustains the whole planetary community. God is neither male nor anthropomorphic. God is the font from which the variety of plants and animals well up in each new generation” * Mutual interdependence vs. hierarchy of domination

* Reconstruct social patterns (share work and its fruits) * Women in public and men in private
* Conversion of male consciousness to the earth
* Self needs to accept cycle and recycle of life and mortality * Conversion from alienated, hierarchical dualism to “life sustaining mutuality” will fulfill virtues of love, justice, and care

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