Women’s Spirituality: Contemporary Feminist Approaches to Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Goddess Worship


by Johanna H. Stuckey

284 Pages
April 01, 2010

Women’s Spirituality: Contemporary Feminist Approaches to Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Goddess Worship comes directly out of women’s grassroots efforts to understand and transform their spiritual traditions. It is a comprehensive account of the discussions, arguments, perspectives and approaches of contemporary women in Canada toward spirituality and the monotheistic religions. The author presents a concise history of each religion, discusses normative practices and focuses on the roles, rituals and rights of contemporary women as they accommodate to and deal with their respective religions.

Women’s Spirituality deals with women’s encounters with spirituality within the framework of Judaism, Christianity and Islam and outside of this framework within the new religions of contemporary Goddess worship.

Women’s spirituality flourishes in all traditions, however male-dominated they may be.  Somehow, women find, or make, space in which they can express their deepest spiritual feelings and thoughts. The aims of this book are to acquaint readers briefly with the range of expressions of women’s spirituality; to give an accessible report on feminist theology, the theology that takes into account women’s experiences; and, in particular, to examine how feminist theologians treat the central issues in three old traditions and one new one. An updated, and revised edition of Stuckey’s successful 1998 book, Feminist Spirituality: An Introduction to Feminist Theology in Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Feminist Goddess Worship, this book will be useful to anyone unfamiliar with the work of feminists within any or all of the three monotheistic traditions that have been so crucial to shaping western attitudes to and treatment of women.  The book an introduction to one of the fastest-growing new forms of women’s spirituality in the West: Feminist Goddess Worship.

“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: Creative Suspicion

“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




Johanna H. Stuckey is the author of numerous learned articles, papers, book reviews, and a textbook on feminist spirituality. Her courses have been popular with students of all ages, and she has appeared often on television and radio. Johanna lives in Toronto and is currently working on another book tentatively entitled, Goddesses and Dying Gods in the Ancient Eastern Mediterranean. She is a regular contributor to the feminist spirituality magazine, Matrifocus.


Chapter 1: Women’s Spirituality


Women’s Spirituality and Feminism
Religions with Complementary Female/Male Roles
Religions “Dominated” by Women
Women’s Spiritual Space in Male-Dominated Religions
Women and Fundamentalism
Aims and Scope of this Book


Chapter 2: Feminist Theology
Categories of Feminist Theology
First-wave Feminism and Religion
Second-wave Feminism and Feminist Theology


Chapter 3: Judaism, Feminism, and Feminist Theology 
The Hebrew Bible
Arrival in Canaan
Israelite Religion
The Synagogue in the Diaspora
Jewish Law and Women
Jewish Mysticism
Later Developments
Judaism Today
Types of Judaism
Women and Religious Leadership
Contemporary Movements
Jewish Feminism and Feminist Theology
Multiculturalism and Difference
Lesbian Voices


Chapter 4: Christianity, Feminism and Feminist Theology
The Christian Scriptures
The Mystery Religions
Early Christianity
Women’s Leadership in the Early Church
From “House Church” to Basilica
Christian Mysticism
The Reformation in the West
Christianity Today
Types of Christianity
Women and Religious Leadership
Christian Feminism and Feminist Theology
Womanist Theology
Christian-Feminist Theologies Worldwide
Lesbian Voices


Chapter 5: Islam, Feminism and Feminist Theology
The Holy Qur’an
Pre-Islamic Arabia
Sunnis and Shiites
Women in Islamic History
The Spread of Islam
Islamic Law
Islamic Mysticism
Later Developments
Islam Today
Types of Islam
Women and Religious Leadership
Islamic Feminism and Feminist Theology
Muslim Women and Western Feminism
“Political Islam”: Women’s Rights and Islamic Law
“Spiritual Islam” and Islamic Feminist Theology
Lesbian Voices


Chapter 6: Goddess Worship, Feminism and Feminist Theology          
The History of (The) Goddess and Her Worshippers
Second-wave of Feminism and Spirituality
Wicca and Feminist Spirituality
Relations with Judaism and Christianity
Appropriation from Other Traditions
Feminist Goddess Worship Today
Feminist Goddess Worship and Thealogy           
Feminist Goddess Thealogy
Lesbian Voices
Concluding Thoughts

1 review for Women’s Spirituality: Contemporary Feminist Approaches to Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Goddess Worship

  1. InannaWebmaster

    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.”

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