Welcome to CBE’s Library

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This major new collection of readings demonstrates the range and vitality of feminist theology and its increasing influence on Christian women and men throughout the world. Here are thirty-eight key texts, representing the voices of women in Africa, Asia, and Latin America as well as those working among minorities in places such as Israel, the US, and the Pacific. 

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Erdel proposes a dramatically different way of understanding the typological divine-human relationship in Song of Songs: The female beloved is a type of God, and the male lover is the type of unfaithful Israel.

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In the past few years, numerous people have asked me why I make such a big deal about gender equality. Have I experienced such extreme inequality? What traumatic experience drives my activism? Why am I so passionate and outspoken about this issue? People often assume that a tragic event in my personal life led to this behavior.

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I want to tackle the question of what it means to suggest that the church is “too feminine”: what does this claim mean, and does it have any merit? What does this idea of excess femininity suggest about how the church interacts with cultural ideas about masculinity and femininity?.

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It was the week of my final interview for ordination. I had turned in my paper on pastoral theology, passed one round of interviews at the conference level, and was headed into my interviews on the national level. I was taking a class that same week with fellow ministers, male and female, in various stages of the ordination process. It just so happened that those of us in the final stage in the class were women. 

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According to Scripture, each one of us is a priest charged with the responsibility of offering up spiritual sacrifices and proclaiming the excellencies of Christ (1 Peter 2:9). The tragedy in the Christian community is that our pattern of limiting up-front communication to men while women labor in relative silence and subordination behind the scenes has obscured the fact that together women and men are a community of priests.

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The most glaring difference between the theological quest of white women and black women is the fact that black women are dealing with three levels of oppression (racism, sexism, and classism) while the white women’s struggle with oppression can be one dimensional: fighting the Victorian model of the weak (even pampered) woman who can’t do anything for herself.

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This article originated as a paper that I presented at the Pacific Coast Region/Society of Biblical Literature meeting, New Testament Epistles and Apocalypse Section, at St. Mary’s College, Moraga, California, in March 2002. I wish to focus here on the distinctive theology of Hebrews and how it relates to gender equality.

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Introduction

My field of research is Adolf von Harnack’s hypothesis that Priscilla is the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews.1 I argue for the theory. There are two main objections to the Priscilla theory that I want to state and refute in order to assure its plausibility.

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For those of us whose journey toward understanding and embracing biblical equality has been a winding path full of pain and epiphanies, the immense value of our role models is deeply felt. Sometimes this value is felt so deeply that it may even take us by surprise—a surprise of joy, when through the window of God’s grace, we get a glimpse of just how powerful the impact of these role models has been.

 

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