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That We May be Mutually Encouraged Feminism and the New Perspective in Pauline Studies by Kathy Ehrensperger

That We May be Mutually Encouraged Feminism and the New Perspective in Pauline Studies


That We May be Mutually Encouraged Feminism and the New Perspective in Pauline Studies by Kathy Ehrensperger

There has been a revolutionary shift of thinking in Pauline Studies, fundamentally changing the image of Paul. Postmodern literary criticism of Paul's epistles and sociorhetorical criticism of his letters has created a New Perspective approach to Pauline studies. At the same time, feminist criticism of the Pauline corpus has been growing. Unfortunately there has been hardly any interaction and exchange of research results between these different strands of scholarship. The result of this is that in Pauline studies scholars are hardly aware of feminist perspectives. Similarly, feminist interpretations of Paul, not fully conversant with the most recent strands of Pauline research, are often based on traditional images of Paul. Ehrensperger's analysis of feminist commentaries on Paul thus contains a rather negative depiction of theological thinking. However, both strands of research, feminist and those of the New Perspective, provide fresh and illuminating insights that emphasize similar aspects from different perspectives. Ehrensperger advocates a closer interaction between these two schools of Pauline studies. She analyzes Romans 14-15, exploring the results of recent research in both Pauline schools. Pauline studies from the New Perspective emphasize the Jewish context and texture of Paul's thinking. She sets these in dialogue with feminist theology, which focuses on issues of identity, diversity, and relationality. Her study results in a perspective on Paul which views him as a significant dialogue partner in the search for a theology beyond anti-Semitism and misogyny, beyond force and domination. Kathy Ehrensperger studied theology at the Universities of Basel and Berne, and was a pastor for sixteen years in Switzerland. She is currently a Lecturer in New Testament Studies at the University of Wales, Lampeter.


'Paul's theology and feminist theology share something that has often been overlooked: they are perspectives that developed from the margins of an otherwise established ideology. It is from this assumption that the author engages in a dialogue between Pauline studies and feminist theology.'
International Review of Biblical Studies, vol 51, 2004

/05 Much discrete advances have been made in feminist biblical studies, in 'New Perspective
Pauline studies, and in post

-Shoah theology. As Kathy Ehrensperger brings these three fields together, sparks of insight fly. The limitations of each field appear even as new vistas are open. New possibilities for post-modern Pauline studies are pursued regarding universalism and particularism, mutuality and diversity, feminism and Paul's theology. We cannot afford to ignore these issues in our study of Paul and more generally in our practice of biblical studies. Daniel Patte, Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity, Vanderbilt University--Sanford Lakoff This book offers a feminist critique of feminism from a Pauline perspective. Kathy Ehrensperger continuously compels her readers to try another angle. She uses the sources of Paul, the history of biblical interpretation, recent developments within biblical studies and theology, and a variety of hermeneutical strategies. This book bridges gaps without establishing harmony. Ehrensperger advocates a theology of mutuality, which confronts misunderstandings and conflicts. She stresses that such a theology implies influencing and being influenced by others, altering and being altered by others. This is a stimulating and thought provoking book, which deserves a wide audience. Cristina Grenholm, Professor of Systematic Theology, Karlstad University, Sweden--Sanford Lakoff The author must be commended for her ability to embrace large subjects while continually remaining alert to exceptions to the rule. Also, her awareness of the particular character and circumstances of first-century Judaism is remarkable. Peter J. Tomson, Professor of New Testament Studies at the Protestant Theological Faculty in Brussels--Sanford Lakoff

About the Author

Dr. Kathy Ehrensperger is Senior Lecturer in New Testament Studies, University of Wales, Lampeter, UK.

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Book Info

Publication date

17th June 2004


Kathy Ehrensperger

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T.& T.Clark Ltd an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing PLC


258 pages


Feminism & feminist theory



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