Cover image for Feminism and world religions
Feminism and world religions
Sharma, Arvind.
Publication Information:
Albany, N.Y. : State University of New York Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
x, 333 pages ; 24 cm.
Brimming with Bhakti, embodiments of Shakti: devotees, deities, performers, reformers, and other women of power in the Hindu tradition / Vasudha Narayanan -- Strategies for a feminist revalorization of Buddhism / Rita M. Gross -- Confucianism and feminism / Terry Woo -- Feminism and/in Taoism / Karen Laughlin and Eva Wong -- Feminism in Judaism / Ellen M. Umansky -- Feminism in world Christianity / Rosemary Radford Ruether -- Feminism in Islam / Riffat Hassan

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BL458 .F455 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Addressing religion and feminism on a global scale, this unprecedented book contains a nuanced and fine-tuned treatment of seven of the world's religions from a feminist perspective by leading women scholars. Feminism and World Religions contains chapters on Hinduism by Vasudha Narayanan, Buddhism by Rita M. Gross, Confucianism by Terry Woo, Taoism by Karen McLaughlin and Eva Wong, Judaism by Ellen M. Umansky, Christianity by Rosemary Radford Ruether, and Islam by Riffat Hassan, along with a general introduction and a postscript by Katherine K. Young and a preface by Arvind Sharma. The fact that these authors share a dual but undivided commitment both to themselves as women and to their traditions as adherents imparts to their voices a prophetic quality, and if Mahatma Gandhi is to be believed, even scriptural value.

Author Notes

Arvind Sharma is Birks Professor of Comparative Religion at McGill University. He has edited several books, among them, Women in World Religions; Religion and Women; and Today's Woman in World Religions, all published by SUNY Press.

Katherine K. Young is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at McGill University. She has edited several books, among them (with Harold Coward and Julius Lipner) Hindu Ethics: Purity, Abortion, and Euthanasia, published by SUNY Press, and Images of the Feminine.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Until very recently, women have been invisible workers in the world's religions. Feminist critiques of religion, however, have begun to question centuries of perceived religious marginalization of women. Sharma (Women in World Religions) and Young (coauthor of Hindu Ethics) compile essays by leading feminist scholars that examine ways that such critiques are changing the roles of women in seven world religions. Each scholar explores the impact of feminism on her own religious tradition. For example, Ellen Umansky, who teaches Judaic Studies at Fairfield University in Connecticut, traces the history of women's roles in the three major denominations of Judaism and demonstrates that slowly over the years women's religious roles have shifted from the home to the temple and the rabbinate. In a fascinating essay, University of Florida religion professor Vasudha Narayanan examines Hindu goddesses and the rituals surrounding their worship to show how such rituals give women new power in a rigidly hierarchical system. Other scholars explore Buddhism (Rita Gross), Confucianism (Terry Woo), Taoism (Karen Laughlin and Eva Wong), Christianity (Rosemary Radford Ruether) and Islam (Riffat Hassan). Because of its completeness, this book offers an excellent introduction to the study of women in world religions. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Choice Review

Within Hindu, Buddhist, Confucian, Taoist, Jewish, Christian, and Muslim traditions, this ambitious volume explores the complex implications of coeditor Sharma's statement that "power might have no gender but gender has power." The contributors (Vasudha Narayanan, Rita Gross, Terry Woo, Karen Laughlin and Eva Wong, Ellen Umansky, Rosemary Ruether, and Riffat Hassan) provide a detailed examination of the relationship between feminist concerns and discourse and women's roles and theological/ spiritual significance within specific traditions. Sharma and Young (both McGill Univ.) place the comprehensive essays within a number of wider frameworks including the following: Romanticism, phenomenology, ecumenism, Marxism, the Frankfurt School, hermeneutics, deconstruction, postmodern psychoanalysis, and postcolonialism. They also explore the interaction between insiders and outsiders in discourse on feminism in world religions, and they provide a critique of the directions in which academic discourse on feminism and world religions has evolved during recent decades. This helpful volume provides an accessible, timely assessment of the state of feminist studies in world religions on the eve of the new millennium. Recommended for upper-division undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and researchers. D. Campbell; Colby College