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Title: The priest, the body, the bride and the whore : towards a theology of women's priesthood
Author: Green, Alison
ISNI:       0000 0004 2689 9122
Awarding Body: University of Roehampton
Current Institution: University of Roehampton
Date of Award: 2007
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A theology of women’s priesthood can be developed through an examination of the symbol and narrative of Christian religion. Metaphors of the body, the bride and the whore form a leitmotif through Christian scripture and tradition, and these have traditionally been interpreted from a phallocentric viewpoint. A feminist approach to scripture and tradition reveals that the woman priest causes a shift in the interpretation of these metaphors that impacts on many areas of Christian worship and life. The Eucharist, the central Anglican rite and nexus between the narrative of faith and the praxis of discipleship, is laden with symbols that, if effective, are also transformative for the worshipper. The priest, instrumental in the liturgy, has a key symbolic function in offering such potential for the Church community. When celebrating the Eucharist, the priest who is a woman recovers ignored or undervalued meanings within the associated symbolism which give rise to new possibilities theologically, liturgically and morally for Christian teaching and discipleship. The multivalent symbolism of priesthood thus acquires a new breadth and richness that addresses our understanding of the nature of the triune God, and of ourselves as beings created in the image of God and members of the Body of Christ. The woman priest causes a ‘collision’ with the received wisdom of traditional teaching and practice, and invites consideration of the genderisation of symbol and narrative, the exclusion of women from sacred rituals and spaces, and the lack of a female religious imaginary. A feminist reading of Paul Ricoeur, together with an engagement with Luce Irigaray and Grace Jantzen, demonstrates that philosophical and psychoanalytical inquiry offers transformative possibilities for the religious imaginary, for the recognition of sexual difference and for the possibility of woman as subject of culture. The woman priest, representative both of the divine and of humankind, has a key role in this process.
Supervisor: Beattie, Christina Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: women ; priesthood ; theology ; Christianity