Friday, February 06, 2004

Book Recommendation:

Gendering the Spirit
Women and Religion and the Post-Colonial Response
Edited by Durre S. Ahmed

Zed Books
Due/Published July 2002, 208 pages, paper
ISBN 1842770276

Religion remains a powerful reality for countless human beings across a huge range of cultures and widely divergent systems of belief. This book discusses in detail the particular devotional subcultures that women have always created. Its authors draw their evidence and their inspiration form the Hindu, Buddhist, Islamic, and Christian traditions of South and South East Asia, in particular.


Part I: Women and Religion: Alternative Perspectives
Introduction: The Last Frontier--Durre Ahmed
The Goddess-Woman Equation in Sakta Tantras--Madhu Khanna
Women in the Catholic Church--Sr. Mary John Mananzan
Women, Psychology, and Religion--Durre Ahmed
Part II: The Hidden Woman and the Feminine
The Forgotten Woman in Anuradhapura: "Her story Replaced by 'History'"--Hema Goonatilake
Mother Victoria Vera Piedad of Brookside, Pila, Laguna, Philippines: A Study of a Mutya Figure--Grace P. Odal
Suprema Isabel Suarez --Sr. Mary John Mananzan
Parallel Worlds of Madhubi MA, 'Nectar mother': A 20th Century Tantric Saint--Madhu Khanna
'Real' Men, Naked Women, and the Politics of Paradise: The Archetype of Lal Ded--Durre Ahmed
Part III: Perspectives on Violence
Righteous Violence and Nonviolence: An Inseparable Dyad of Hindu Tradition--Madhu Khanna
Theological Reflections on Violence Against Women: A Catholic Perspective--Sr. Mary John Mananzan
Violence and the Feminine in Islam: A Case Study of the Zikris--Durre Ahmed
from the back cover:

This book sis about the devotional subcultures which women have
always created. Its authors draw their evidence and inspiraiton from
the Hindu, Buddhist, Islamic and Christian traditions of Asia, in

Here we find women as healers, goddesses, saints, gurus, nuns and
heretics. One thing these remarkable women all share is their
defiance of orthodoxy and fundamentalist interpretations oppressive
of women. Instead they have created religious alternatives which
appeal profoundly to huge numbers of women. Not that these
altenatives, as the authors who have written this book show, are
accepted by the mainly male religious establishment. Indeed women's
rejection of patriarchal interpretations of religion and their
creative revisioning of religion in their daily spiritual practice
can be very dangerous activity.

In addition to fascinating glimpses of little known aspects of the
feminine within the great religions, this book is also a reflection
of the newly emerging spirituality of women in Asia as they
experience and respond to the political and social injustices they

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