CONTEMPORARY FEMINIST APPROACHES TO JUDAISM, CHRISTIANITY, ISLAM AND
by Johanna H. Stuckey
April 2010 / 284 pages / $24.95
ORDER | OVERVIEW | AUTHOR BIO | REVIEW
This book comprehensively and authoritatively describes the many ways
in which women's spirituality is found in religions around the world.
Even better, it is accessibly and vividly written, making this an
excellent resource for anyone interested in the field of women and
—Patricia Monaghan, author of The Encyclopedia of Goddesses and
Heroines and The Red-Haired Girl from the Bog: The Landscape of Celtic
Myth and Spirit
Women's Spirituality is a meticulous study of the major religions
which affect all women and their lives. This important work instructs
and supports the spirituality so much an element of our well-being.
—Clara Thomas, author of Chapters in My Life
Based in deep and broad scholarship of the religious traditions of
the ancient Eastern Mediterranea, Johanna Stuckey’s book lucidly
explores the history and epistemology of the marginalisation of women
in the mainstream western traditions – Judaism, Islam and
Christianity. It cogently demonstrates how second-wave feminists have
challenged these traditions from within or without, and revised and
renovated them, and also how they have sometimes taken the
revolutionary paths of inventing new religions, for example, Feminist
Goddess Worship, based on what they understand to be repressed or
forgotten understandings of what is sacred in women's experience of
themselves as religious beings. Brilliantly lucid, deeply scholarly,
and challenging, as well as being engrossing.
—Frances Devlin-Glass, author of A Feminist Poetics of the Sacred:
Woman’s Spirituality, now updated a dozen years after it first
appeared, remains the best and most comprehensive work on Western
female spiritual traditions. Both lucid and scholarly, it examines the
Abrahamic traditions and modern paganism from their historical and
mythic beginnings to the present, focusing on women’s roles and
understandings, leading to a thorough presentation of feminist reads,
concerns and developments surrounding these religions. This book
should be essential reading for both the general public and
specialists in religion interested in the female half of religion.
—Jordan Paper, author of Through the Earth Darkly: Female Spirituality
in Comparative Perspective
Herizons (Spring 2011)
Review by Meagan Butcher
When Women’s Spirituality: Contemporary Feminist Approaches to Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Goddess Worship arrived, I was worried that it wouldn’t live up to my high expectations. In the mid ’90s, I took three courses taught by Johanna H. Stuckey and they were some of my most memorable. For their content, yes, but also for Stuckey’s knowledge, insight and skill with a comma.
I needn’t have worried. Women’s Spirituality is comprised of six chapters, plus a glossary and an extensive bibliography. The first two chapters (“Women’s Spirituality” and “Feminist Theology”) provide a conceptual framework for the next four chapters dealing respectively with Judaism, Christianity, Islam and goddess worship. In each chapter, Stuckey provides a brief history of the religion, its texts and their various interpretations, and explores the role of women within each religion, both historically and currently.
The prose is vivid and personable. The facts are laid out plainly, but Stuckey is also able to insert herself with ease into the text. In the introduction to the chapter six, for example, she draws on her experience with students to make a tight case for moving from the term “feminist spirituality” to “feminist goddess worship.”
The one quibble I have is that it feels like some of the sources might have been missed during revision; in one example, I feel like there must be a more recent membership number for the Eastern Orthodox Church than one from 1987. This quibble, however, doesn’t change the general usefulness of the work.
Women’s Spirituality would be an excellent text for an introductory course in, well, just that. The bibliography alone represents weeks of work and is well worth the cover price. Whether you’re teaching a course on the subject or have a general interest in spirituality, this book with provide you with a well-written, smart, accessible entry to the field.