ELISABETH SCHUSSLER FIORENZA IN MEMORY OF HER PDF

Born in Romania in and fleeing to what would become West Germany with her family during World War II, she desired, as a young German woman, to become a professional theologian in the Roman Catholic Church, which defined her role and mission as a "lay" woman within the world rather than within the church. Through the publication of significant books, articles, and coedited projects as well as participation in numerous conferences and workshops both in the United States and internationally, she contributed to the feminist redefinition of theological and biblical interpretation both within the academy and the churches. A collection of essays, Discipleship of Equals: A Critical Feminist Ekklesia-logy of Liberation , provided a brief glimpse of her wide contribution to women in the churches as well as to a theoretical articulation of critical feminist theology of liberation. This characterized her life and her writing, as did the mutual support, encouragement, and shared creative path-finding that came from the community or ekklesia of women similarly committed. She provided the first comprehensive articulation of a feminist critical model of historical-theological interpretation.

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Born in Romania in and fleeing to what would become West Germany with her family during World War II, she desired, as a young German woman, to become a professional theologian in the Roman Catholic Church, which defined her role and mission as a "lay" woman within the world rather than within the church.

Through the publication of significant books, articles, and coedited projects as well as participation in numerous conferences and workshops both in the United States and internationally, she contributed to the feminist redefinition of theological and biblical interpretation both within the academy and the churches.

A collection of essays, Discipleship of Equals: A Critical Feminist Ekklesia-logy of Liberation , provided a brief glimpse of her wide contribution to women in the churches as well as to a theoretical articulation of critical feminist theology of liberation. This characterized her life and her writing, as did the mutual support, encouragement, and shared creative path-finding that came from the community or ekklesia of women similarly committed.

She provided the first comprehensive articulation of a feminist critical model of historical-theological interpretation. It incorporated a hermeneutics an interpretation of suspicion that questioned the way in which women had been represented in the androcentric male centered documents of early Christianity. In the following year the collection of essays Bread Not Stone: The Challenge of Feminist Interpretation further developed her hermeneutical framework, incorporating a focus on rhetorics and providing a comprehensive model of biblical interpretation.

Most chapters closed with a creative re-telling or recontextualizing of the story under consideration written by her students as they explored the gospel stories of women. With Judith Plaskow she founded and coedited the Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, a forum for feminist inter-religious studies that more traditional journals failed to offer. She was likewise founding co-director of the section of Feminist Theology in Concilium, an international theological review within the Roman Catholic tradition.

She was the editor of a three-volume work, Searching the Scriptures, the first volume of which was published November It entailed collaborative work with a wide range of authors and resulted in a collection that represented the multidimensional nature of feminist biblical interpretation.

Being the first woman scholar to be elected president of the Society of Biblical Literature, she forged another path along which women could walk. She stood within a host of feminist theologians and biblical scholars as co-worker, envisioning and enacting new possibilities for women in the academy, in church, and in society. She was model and mentor for those who followed in her footsteps or who opened up new paths in feminist biblical interpretation and in the redefinition of church and world.

For her, however, the theological task would not be complete until all women were free, free from all patriarchal oppression. Her creative work helped shape her own life as well as that of many other women and men in the academies and in the churches.

She saw these doctrines not as truths but as rhetorical strategies that retarded liberation. She viewed her approach as more radically inclusive than Marxism on questions of gender, sexual orientation, and race, and as more positively disposed toward the roles of religion and ideology.

While strongly supportive of a diversity of feminist groups with different experiences and voices, she warned against the balkanization of the movement and its fragmentation into racial, religious, sexual orientation, and age-determined special interest groups. Her work was regularly cited for its creativity and forcefulness of analysis. She was, however, criticized by some for being pedantic, jargonistic, and accessible only to a closed circle of theologians and academicians.

They had a daughter, Kristina. Bread Not Stone: The Challenge of Feminist Interpretation supplemented this earlier volume and her hermeneutical model. She published numerous articles in both German and English for scholarly journals and for more generally accessible publications. She coedited five volumes of Conciliumon feminist theology, one volume of Semeiaon interpretation for liberation, and other collections of essays.

Revelation: Vision of a Just World continued her work on the Book of Revelation begun in her doctoral studies. A later book, But She Said: Feminist Practices of Biblical Interpretation , supplemented her hermeneutical model with rhetorical reading strategies, while Discipleship of Equals: A Critical Feminist Ekklesia-logy of Liberation provided a "cartography of struggle" of this feminist theologian. Copyright The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Academic Commons

As the Russian army advanced through Romania in late , her parents fled with her to southern Germany. They subsequently moved to Frankfurt. In , they both secured teaching appointments at the Catholic University of Notre Dame , where they had their daughter, Christina. This work, which argued for the retrieval of the overlooked contributions of women in the early Christian church, set a high standard for historical rigor in feminist theology.

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