By Kristin Kobes Du Mez
A New Gospel for Women tells the tale of Katharine Bushnell (1855-1946), writer of God's be aware to Women, some of the most cutting edge and entire feminist theologies ever written. An internationally-known social reformer and women's rights activist, Bushnell rose to prominence via her hugely publicized campaigns opposed to prostitution and the trafficking of girls in the USA, in colonial India, and all through East Asia. In each one of those circumstances, the intrepid reformer struggled to return to phrases with the truth that it was once Christian males who have been responsible of committing acts of appalling cruelty opposed to ladies. eventually, Bushnell concluded that Christianity itself - or fairly, the patriarchal distortion of real Christianity - needs to be to blame.
A paintings of heritage, biography, and ancient theology, Kristin Kobes DuMez's publication presents a vibrant account of Bushnell's existence. It maps a concise creation to her interesting theology, revealing, for instance, Bushnell's trust that gender bias tainted either the King James and the Revised models of the English Bible. As Du Mez demonstrates, Bushnell insisted that God created ladies to be powerful and self sufficient, that Adam, now not Eve, bore accountability for the autumn, and that it was once via Christ, "the nice emancipator of women," that girls could in attaining non secular and social redemption.
A New Gospel for Women restores Bushnell to her rightful position in historical past. It illuminates the dynamic and infrequently thorny dating among religion and feminism in glossy the United States by way of mapping Bushnell's tale and her next disappearance from the ancient checklist. such a lot pointedly, the publication finds the demanding situations confronting Christian feminists this day who desire to build a sexual ethic that's either Christian and feminist, one rooted now not within the Victorian period, yet particularly one suited for the fashionable international.
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Extra info for A New Gospel for Women: Katharine Bushnell and the Challenge of Christian Feminism
For Bushnell there was little conflict between Christianity and the advancement of women. She had pursued a career in medicine as an outgrowth of her Christian commitment, and she understood her missionary calling as a means by which to bring the advantages of Christianity to women in foreign lands. Bushnell had come of age and had formulated her ideas during a pivotal period in the history of Christianity and feminism; over the closing three decades of the nineteenth century, significant factions within Anglo-American Protestantism and the women’s rights movement would help align Christianity and feminism more closely than at any time, before or since.
Essential to this justification, and indeed at the very heart of “Woman’s Work for Woman,” was the depiction of foreign women as victims in need of redemption. ”17 Perhaps nowhere is this attitude better illustrated than in Western responses to the Chinese custom of foot-binding. Evocatively symbolizing the oppression that women suffered in “heathen” cultures, foot-binding powerfully reinforced Westerners’ conviction that Christianity had emancipated Western women from such cruel and oppressive practices.
46 At first glance, the demand for Bushnell’s services appears to reinforce missionary narratives that portrayed Chinese women as victims, suffering from a lack of access to medical care. Although consistent with images of a benevolent imperialism and effective in raising funds among sympathetic American churchgoers, this characterization was not entirely true. 47 Bushnell’s own reports reveal that her treatments were not always superior to those of Chinese practitioners. Indeed, Western medicine was ineffective in addressing a number of illnesses at that time, including tuberculosis.
A New Gospel for Women: Katharine Bushnell and the Challenge of Christian Feminism by Kristin Kobes Du Mez