Hermeneutic-rhetorical criticism is a method of textual and cultural analysis that seeks to trace inscribed power structures of domination. In turn, feminist/feminism refers to a social movement and critical theory that asserts that wo/men (“wo/men” written with a slash includes marginalized men) are to be recognized as fully human with full citizen rights in society and religion. Feminist studies are not simply gender studies but are studies of pyramidal kyriarchal (derived from the Greek kyrios = Lord, master, father elite propertied male and archein = to rule) intersecting power structures such as gender, race, class, nationality, age, religion, or culture. This kyriarchal pyramid of domination is structured by the intersecting social systems of race, gender, sexuality, class, empire, age, and religion, which, taken together, can result in multiplicative effects of dehumanizing exploitation and subordination of the “other.” Inspired by emerging literature on feminist rhetorics and discourse, I have developed a critical feminist rhetorical model of interpretation in concert with the emerging literature on the rhetoricality or rhetoricity and the discursive performativity of texts and knowledges.

Hermeneutic and Rhetoric.

If a critical feminist hermeneutic-rhetorical analysis is primarily interested in emancipatory knowledge production, a traditional understanding of “hermeneutics” seems to be a mismatch for a method used to pursue such interests. Relying on a critical theory of language and the insights of liberation movements, a critical feminist hermeneutics is therefore best understood as a critical feminist rhetoric. Such a critical theory attempts to articulate rhetoric both as a complex process of reading and reconstruction and as a cultural-religious praxis of resistance and transformation. It moves from the traditional understanding of “hermeneutic,” proposed by theorists such as Hans Georg Gadamer, a German philosopher, to a form of interpretation that can best be described not as hermeneutic but as metic (Schüssler Fiorenza, 2011, pp. 55–78).

The terms “hermeneutic” and “metic” refer to two different ways of interpretation and understanding that are paradigmatically articulated in the mythical stories of the God Hermes and the Goddess Metis. Hermes is the messenger of the Olympian Gods who mediates divine revelation and knowledge to humans. According to Gadamer, hermeneutics has the task of translating meaning from one “world” into another (Bernstein, 1986, pp. 343–376). Like Hermes, the messenger of the Gods, hermeneutics not only communicates knowledge but also instructs, directs, enjoins, and, in its interpretation of signs and oracles as well as its revelatory power, has affinities to manticism and prophecy. It is a matter of practical understanding, which involves the Aristotelian virtue of phronesis—practical judgment and adjudication—which is secured only in the process of understanding.

The well-known “hermeneutical circle” claims that understanding can only take place if the parts of some larger reality are grasped in terms of the whole. In the “to and fro” of the hermeneutical circle or spiral, we can fuse or broaden our horizon with that which we seek to understand. However, whereas Gadamer understands the hermeneutical event as a fusion of horizons (Horizontverschmelzung) (Gadamer, 1997, p. 302), a critical feminist metic seeks to deconstruct the kyriarchal horizon of biblical texts and our own in order to change both horizons because the dominant cultural and religious horizon of the past and the present has been exclusive of wo/men as subjects of knowledge and understanding. Critical feminist theory agrees with Gadamer that people, both wo/men and men, are embedded in the history and culture that has shaped them, but adds that cultural and religious history has been distorted insofar as wo/men were not only excluded from the articulation and the production of knowledge in society and religion but were also written out of history and public consciousness in and through kyriocentric language and rhetoric.

It is not, therefore, the myth of Hermes but rather the myth of Metis that fully articulates the vision of a critical feminist hermeneutic and rhetoric, or, better, metic (Dolmage, 2009). Zeus, the father of the Gods, was in competition with the Goddess Metis. When she was pregnant with Athena, he feared that Metis would bear a child who would surpass him in wisdom and power. To avoid this, he transformed Metis into a fly and swallowed her wholesale in order to have her always with him and to benefit from her wise counsel as well as become pregnant with the child of Metis. According to Hesiod, Athena came fully grown and armored from the head of her father, Zeus. However, she only appears to be motherless; her mother is the Goddess Metis, the “most wise woman among Gods and humans” (Schüssler Fiorenza, 2011, pp. 55–80).

This myth of Metis and Zeus not only reveals the fear of the father of the Gods that the child of Wisdom would surpass him in knowledge, but it also lays open the conditions under which wo/men in kyriarchal cultures and religions are able to exercise wisdom and to produce knowledge. Read with a hermeneutics of suspicion, the myths of Metis and Athena illuminate that kyriarchal systems of knowledge and power are performative or rhetorical insofar as they objectify and swallow up wo/men in order to co-opt their wisdom and knowledge for their own interests of domination.

Critical hermeneutic-rhetorical-feminist studies are therefore best understood not simply as hermeneutics that understands texts but also as metics, as a critical discursive analysis that reveals the cultural and religious structures that disempower and marginalize wo/men and swallow up their wisdom and creativity. Critical feminist studies seek to make clear that knowledge and text are performative. Not only can liberating knowledges inscribed in cultural classics and religious scriptures be rediscovered and set free, but also structures of marginalization and dehumanization can be named and critically evaluated in and through a critical hermeneutic-rhetorical analysis.

The Renaissance of Rhetoric.

It is significant that the decades in which feminist biblical hermeneutics has emerged and matured correspond to the intellectual renaissance of rhetoric. The confluence of both developments has enabled and shaped critical biblical studies as well. Critical feminist studies are an important area of scholarly research that seeks to produce knowledge in the interest of wo/men who, by law and custom, have been excluded from philosophy, theology, and biblical interpretation for centuries. Therefore, a critical feminist approach examines the intersecting structures of kyriarchal exclusion and domination that control the production of knowledge in a given discipline. Feminist biblical studies thus encompass both cultural and religious studies. Since the Bible continues to fuel cultural ideologies and stereotypes and to influence Western art, music, and literature, the criticism of the kyriachal elements of the biblical texts provided by a feminist critical-rhetorical analysis is not only religiously but also culturally significant.

Since the mid-twentieth century, a renaissance of rhetoric has taken place that has made it possible to focus anew on the discursivity and rhetoricality of science. Such a renaissance has significant connections to current efforts in the theory of science and the sociology of knowledge. This revitalization of rhetoric has thereby opened the doors for critical feminist work to be taken seriously, the flourishing of which is also closely connected to the development and spread of new media of communication. In the global communication society, rhetoric—or concern with the forms of public argumentation and persuasion—has attained a new significance.

Rhetoric is practiced today in four forms. First, as academic communication studies, it teaches the art of public speaking and debate. Second, the study of ancient rhetoric is devoted to the recovery of the classical handbooks and theories. Third, critical literary rhetorical studies seek to understand the arguments and persuasive power of texts in their contexts. Fourth, as the rhetoric of scholarship, it investigates the rhetoricity or rhetoricality of knowledge and its institutions. Insight into the constructedness of all knowledge, including scientific knowledge, shifts the question as to the criteria of scientific evidence from epistemology to the intersubjective ethical, social, and political realm. Contexts of communication and ultimately power relationships determine the validity of representation.

The Rhetoric of Science.

This renaissance of rhetoric has received important impulses from feminist theory as well as from the debates on postmodernism. Its roots have to do with the linguistic-analytical turn in philosophy and its consequences for the theory of scientific knowledge, as well as with the rise of semiotics as the “logic of science.” Most important are the insights and approaches of the sociology of science, or the so-called sciences of science (Wissenschaftswissenschaften). In different but generally complementary ways, the rhetorical character of scientific publication is both described and confirmed. The distinction between positivist interpretation and rhetorical interpretation is possible, but it is still important to avoid its positivistic-literalist antiquarian elements.

Critical hermeneutic-rhetorical-analysis emphasizes that, in the process of interpretation, texts and symbols are not simply understood or their true meaning grasped (hermeneutics). Rather, language is always already a construct, an exercise of power, and an action that either continues ideologies of domination or tries to interrupt them. Interpretation is not simply a one-way street, as in the positivist discovery of a single meaning of the text. It is a multivocal discourse that seeks by means of argumentation to persuade and to convince. This rhetorical nature of science comes to the fore in its language, its methods of interpretation, its sociohistorical models, its communicative situation, and the sociopolitical positioning and interests of interpreters. Interpretation is best understood not as reproduction but as creative action, since the interpretation of a text is always also a creative re-creation. A claim to objective, clear reproduction of an original meaning of the text or intention of the author abstracted from the person of the interpreter and her sociopolitical location is no longer scientifically possible.

Consequently, a critical-hermeneutic-rhetorical paradigm requires a scientific approach that articulates the scholar’s social location, theoretical perspectives, and rhetorical situation as integral parts of the interpretive process. That requirement does not mean, however, that any and every interpretation of a text is acceptable. The text does indeed contain countless possible meanings, but it is best understood as a multivocal spectrum of meanings, each limited by a particular context. This multifaceted spectrum is differently activated in every particular act of interpretation, and depends on the ethical and sociopolitical standpoints not only of the interpreter but also of her recipients.

Nevertheless, academic and popular biblical interpretation continues to operate largely with a concept of scholarship that has long since been rendered outmoded. Many interpreters still make the claim that they can objectively find a single, objectively true meaning of a biblical text with scholarlycontrolled methods, and thus discover its kernel of truth. But such a timeless, objectively discoverable truth cannot be filtered out of the text once and for all. Rather, the text must be understood in rhetorical terms as a speech act motivated by particular interests in specific sociopolitical and historical contexts. What is true on the level of the text applies also to the levels of interpretation and historical reconstruction. Only in this way can the multiple meanings of the textual signs and linguistic symbols be limited and the possible or probable field of meaning of a text be demarcated.

Contrary to historical-positivist analysis that tries to establish historical facts and as opposed to literary-critical interpretation that concentrates on the literary form and deep structure of a text, rhetorical analysis of discourse emphasizes the significance of the speech context, the inscribed power relationships, and the sociohistorical origin of the text to understand and evaluate the persuasive power of its argumentation. It asks, “What does the text do to those who subject themselves to its worldview?” A critical scientific rhetoric-analytic investigates the persuasive powers of a biblical text not only with regard to linguistic conventions, literary style, or the overall composition but also with regard to the interaction between author and addressees, or interpreters and reading public with a view to the socioreligious location and interests of the persuasive process inscribed in a text. Such a rhetorical biblical interpretation thus requires ethical evaluation.

In short, rhetoric as a communicative praxis that articulates interests, values, and visions is not simply another form of literary analysis (Brown, 1987, p. 85). Rather, critical-rhetorical analysis is a means of showing how biblical texts and their interpretations take part in creating and legitimating structures of oppression and dominance or in enacting ethical values, liberating visions, and sociopolitical acts of liberation. The reconceptualization of biblical scholarship as a critical rhetorical-ethical field of study and not simply as a positivist or hermeneutical praxis of interpretation makes available a framework for research that cultivates historical, archaeological, sociological, literary, theological, and other methods of reading but insists on sociopolitical and ethical questions of power as constitutive for the process of interpretation.

A Critical Feminist Hermeneutic-Rhetorical Analytic.

A critical feminist rhetorical model of interpretation places wo/men as citizen-subjects, as the “ekklēsia of wo/men,” into the hermeneutical center. Studies about “women” or “gender” in the Bible are not properly feminist unless they recognize wo/men in religion as historical, cultural, theological, and scientific subjects and agents. A critical feminist model presupposes that wo/men are producers of critical knowledge and thus requires a double paradigm shift in the ethos of biblical studies. It requires that a positivist, allegedly value-neutral objectivist ethos of scholarship and kyriocentric linguistically based cultural ethos be replaced with a feminist rhetorical paradigm of biblical studies.

Such a critical hermeneutic-rhetorical model of biblical studies is transdisciplinary. It seeks not only to integrate the insights of philology, classics, archaeology, sociology, anthropology, ethnography, epistemology, and historiography but also to recognize the fundamental feminist criticism of these academic disciplines and their feminist reconceptualizations. A critical feminist rhetorical analysis pays special attention to the corruption and ideologically alienating power of speech acts. Its fundamental methodological insight recognizes the andro/kyriocentric (male/lord-centered) functions of language as follows:

  • • Grammatically andro/kyriocentric language claims to be generic-inclusive language. It mentions wo/men only when they create difficulties, when they are the exception to the rule, or when they are occasionally referred to by name. At all other times, wo/men are subsumed under grammatically masculine expressions such as congressman, postman, chairman, or brother.
  • •  Grammatically andro/kyriocentric language thus does not describe and reflect reality, but regulates and rhetorically constructs it. This function of andro-kyriocentric language has far-reaching consequences for the writing of history. Not only are wo/men historically marginalized or entirely written out of historical sources by androcentric texts, but they are also doubly marginalized by andro/kyriocentric models of reconstruction and eliminated from history altogether. Furthermore, andro-kyriocentric language is not reflective but active-performative. It simultaneously creates and shapes the symbolic worlds it pretends simply to represent.
  • • Andro/kyriocentric language is always already political and normative. It shapes and is shaped by existing concepts of reality and relations of domination. Andro-kyriocentric language serves hegemonic interests, and, in turn, hegemonic interests determine the content of andro-kyriocentric language. Hence an intra- and intertextual analysis of language and text is insufficient. It must be corrected by a critical, systematic analysis of religio-political structures of domination that perpetuate violence and exclusion.
  • • Andro-kyriocentric language and knowledge of the kyriarchal world are thus rhetorical. That is, they have been articulated by particular people for a particular group of readers, and they work with particular articulated or suppressed interests and goals. Since all the texts of the Bible and all knowledge of the world are both rhetorical and political, it is possible to change the cultural and religious frames of reference and constructs that are constantly reinscribed by such texts.

In light of this analysis, a critical feminist hermeneutic-rhetorical approach, therefore, must reject the linguistic immanentism of the New Criticism that emerged in biblical studies in the 1970s and the linguistic positivism of historical and theological criticism. Biblical criticism has remained in the captivity of empiricist-positivist science for far too long. Rhetorical criticism in biblical studies also shares in this captivity insofar as it has spent much of its energy in applying and reinscribing ancient rhetorical methods, disciplinary technology, terminological stylistics, and the scattered prescriptions of oratorical handbooks of antiquity into biblical texts. Most importantly, by reviving the technologies of ancient rhetoric, rhetorical biblical criticism has failed to develop a sociopolitical critical rhetoric of inquiry.

In contrast to these tendencies, Wayne Booth, in his work The Rhetoric of Fiction (1973), distinguishes between the actual author/reader and the implied author/reader and, in his later work, calls for a revived ethical and political criticism within literary criticism (Booth, 1982). The implied author is not the real author, but rather the image or picture that the reader will construct gradually in the process of reading the work. In other words, in the process of reading a biblical text the interpreter follows the directives of the inscribed author, who is not identical with the “real” author. These directives instruct the interpreter in understanding the original recipients’ reactions to the writing. Since many things are presupposed, left out, or unexplained in a text, the audience must in the process of reading “supply” the missing information in line with the rhetorical directives of the speaker/writer. Historical critical scholars seek to “supply” such information generally in terms of the history of religions, including Judaism, while preachers and Bible-readers usually do so in terms of contemporary contexts, values, life, and psychology. For instance, readers obviously follow the directives of the implied author in understanding the Corinthian Christians as “others” of Paul or as his “opponents” when they characterize the Corinthians as foolish, immature, arrogant, divisive, libertine enthusiasts, or boasting spiritualists who misunderstood the preaching of Paul in terms of libertine enthusiasts or Gnostics.

To resist the rhetoric of the Pauline text, it becomes necessary to assess critically Paul’s rhetoric in terms of its function for early Christian self-understanding and community by utilizing a four-stage critical rhetorical analysis (Schüssler Fiorenza, 2000). Such an analysis begins by identifying the rhetorical interests, interpretive models, and social locations of contemporary interpretation. Secondly, this rhetorical analysis delineates the rhetorical arrangement, interests, and modifications introduced by the author in order to elucidate them. Thirdly, it needs to establish the rhetorical situation of the text. Finally, it must reconstruct the possible historical situation and symbolic universe of the writer/speaker and the recipients/audience. Using such a critical rhetorical process of interpretation, the letter to the Corinthians is revealed not as the story of Paul but rather as the story of the Corinthian ekklēsia to which Paul’s rhetoric is to be understood as an active response. The nature of rhetoric as political discourse therefore necessitates critical assessment and ethical evaluation.

The goal of critical feminist rhetorical biblical studies is to engender a paradigm shift that conceptualizes biblical studies as a rhetoric and ethics of inquiry intended to engender change and transformation. According to Thomas Kuhn, a new scientific paradigm can only rival the existing paradigms if it produces not only new knowledge but also new institutions (Kuhn, 1962). If the critical feminist paradigm of rhetorical biblical studies should gain sufficient strength to change the discourses of the discipline, then we will need to find ways to better institutionalize this emancipatory scholarship.

Feminist Hermeneutic-Rhetorical Criticism as Public Discourse.

If biblical scholarship would abandon its centuries-old prejudice that regards rhetoric as “mere” rhetoric, as a technical means, style, or eloquence, and instead adopt an understanding of rhetoric as “the power to persuade and convince through argumentation,” it would be able to analyze the process of communication anew as a powerful process of rhetorical action. Such an analysis could direct its attention, for example, to how a text constructs its arguments, to the power relationships in which a text attempts to intervene, and to the ways the interpretive discourse itself attempts to influence the social circumstances of which it is a part. A critical feminist rhetorical analysis not only aims to uncover the means by which authors and interpreters seek to convince and motivate their readers, but it also interrogates the structures of domination inscribed in the text and their functions in particular rhetorical situations and particular sociohistorical locations.

With reader-response criticism, a critical feminist-hermeneutic-rhetorical criticism agrees that none of the four text-immanent factors—author, addressee, rhetorical situation, and symbolic world—are identical with the actual, historically real author, addressee(s), rhetorical situation, or symbolic world of the text (Schüssler Fiorenza, 1999, pp. 105–128). However, neither are these elements to be understood as purely fictional. Rather, they must have a relationship to the reality about which the text speaks if communication should be successful and persuasive.

If someone presents a rhetorical discourse, according to classical rhetoric, s/he must not only decide what questions and themes s/he will address and what position s/he will take, but s/he must also establish the tenor and goal of her rhetorical intervention. This often requires a mixture of genres of discourse. According to classical rhetoric, the persuasive power of an argument is determined by its ethos, pathos, and logos. Ethos and pathos must be at work throughout the whole speech, but ethos is in play especially at the beginning of the discourse and pathos at the end.

Debates in public democratic gatherings, arguments in legal proceedings, and hymnal compositions celebrating heroes and heroines as well as Gods and Goddesses, are the originating locations of classical rhetoric and are shaped by the political-public pragmatic situations in which they arise. A critical hermeneutic-rhetorical analytic seeks to discern not only the rhetorical stylistic means, but also especially the ideological practices and persuasive strategies of a text. It sees the text as a discursive interaction with its sociopolitical-religious locations, authors, hearers, and rhetorical situations. A critical hermeneutic-rhetorical analytic has its social location in communities of interpretation that critically investigate power relationships and seek to transform them.

Critical hermeneutic-rhetorical analysis understands the text neither as a window into reality nor as a double mirror for self-reflection, but rather as a political discourse that both reveals its perspective power and remains bound to the ideological functions embedded within its contexts. Unlike a formalistic and positivist scientific reading of the Bible, a critical-emancipatory rhetoric joins the theologies of liberation in insisting that the context is just as important as the text. What we see always depends on where we stand. The social location and context of the interpreter determine how s/he sees the world, perceives reality, or reads biblical texts. Therefore, the turn to ethics and ideology critique is of central importance for an emancipatory-rhetorical paradigm.

Contestations over the relationship between rhetoric and morality have occurred throughout the history of rhetoric. In the modern era, however, scholars have tended to adopt individualistic and privatized models of interpretation instead of creating a public space for a biblical rhetoric that articulates, applies, and enriches ethics and morality through public argument. A critical feminist hermeneutics that understands itself as a rhetorical-ethical discursive praxis therefore needs to replace objectivistic, positivistic, and apolitical methods of interpretation as still often practiced by dominant biblical scholarship with critical-rhetorical investigations. It needs to be interested in articulating a critical, historical-cultural, and religio-political scientific consciousness.

Language and Ideology.

Hermeneutic-rhetorical analysis is thus best understood as an analysis and critique of language and ideology. Relationships of domination and power produce distorted forms of communication and result in the self-deception of scholars who are unaware of their own interests, needs, and perceptions of the social and religious worlds. Ideological-rhetorical criticism understands language as a means of inscribing forms of power in contexts of meaning and significance. Studying ideologies therefore does not mean merely analyzing a particular type of discourse but also means investigating methods of interpretation and bestowals of meaning that serve either to maintain kyriarchal relationships or to undermine them.

According to John B. Thompson, ideology works through three strategies or methods of operation (Thompson, 1984, p. 254). The first strategy explains the legitimacy of kyriarchy on the basis of tradition—for example the argument that Jesus and the apostles did not ordain any woman, although it is known that Jesus did not ordain anyone. The second strategy conceals kyriarchal relationships and keeps them from being known. It speaks of gender or femininity in dualistic terms but not of the multiplicative structures of kyriarchy, or argues that woman’s natural way of being is that of selfless service and motherhood. This strategy prevents the foundations of society, religion, or scholarship from being critically analyzed and called into question. The third strategy in turn reifies and naturalizes social processes and attitudes.

Ideology creates the self-concept of oppressed people and intensifies it. It determines the consciousness of people who thereby internalize their subordinated position either as natural and inborn or as willed by God. An emancipatory rhetorical analysis of andro-kyriocentric biblical texts therefore demands not only cultural awareness and ideology critique but also a critical ethics of interpretation.

As a strategy for undermining oppressive ideologies, rhetoric as an intersubjective democratic process is ethical in a twofold sense. First, it opens up the author’s range of realities and the methods she chooses for describing that reality. Second, it offers readers a choice in place of a total and necessary acceptance. Truth, when rhetorically established, presumes freedom of choice and the apprehension of alternative realities. An intersubjective democratic ethics understands “world, truth, and reality” as rhetorically-linguistically established and as the responsibility of those who act. Since the turn to ethics has made it clear that morality, truth, vision, and the knowledge of a good life are rhetorically-linguistically constructed and conveyed, biblical scholarship must develop both an ethics of life and an ethics of interpretation.

Ethics of Interpretation.

An ethics of interpretation, which sees texts as rhetorical practices of communication, cannot confine itself to an exegesis of the text, but must also be critically responsible—ethically, politically, and theologically—for its own methods of interpretation, goals, and interests. Such an ethical-rhetorical paradigm of interpretation sees objectivity and method differently. In a scholarly-positivistic paradigm, methods are understood as techniques, rules, instructions, or prescriptions, while an ethical-rhetorical paradigm of interpretation sees them as questions to be asked or perspectives to be clarified.

Since biblical scholarship is at home in the kyriarchal institutions of academic and religious institutions, feminist biblical interpretation cannot simply assume that biblical research produces knowledge that liberates and transforms and serves the “good life” of wo/men. Instead, it must critically examine all claims of knowledge to see if they interrupt or further inscribe the interests of dominant powers. Therefore, an ethics of interpretation insists that all scientific methods, proposals, and results must be subjected to an ethical-rhetorical analysis and be examined to see how and whether they serve to continue discrimination or open up hermeneutical visions of a good life for all without exception.

Thus, an emancipatoryrhetorics and ethics of interpretation open up the possibility for, and points the way toward, a scientific interpretation that can take responsibility for the impact of the Bible on the well-being of the cosmopolis. As a result, ethics and political responsibility become integral components of textual interpretation and historical reconstruction. If biblical scholarship is understood as a rhetorical and communicative praxis, then its task is to analyze and demonstrate how biblical texts and their present-day interpretations are part of political and religious discourses that are always involved in power structures and thus require ethical and political critique. To enable such a democratic process of ethical adjudication and to protect the understanding of scripture from being coopted by fundamentalist literalism or academic positivism, it is necessary to articulate a radical democratic hermeneutic-rhetorical criticism that engenders such critical evaluations and adjudications.

This conceptualization of feminist hermeneutic-rhetorical criticism challenges biblical scholars to pay attention not only to the biblical text in its historical-cultural contexts but also to the cultural-political contexts in which it is interpreted today. Since biblical scholarship—feminist or not—has primarily focused on ancient texts and their sociocultural contexts, very little work has been done to analyze the effective power of biblical texts in contemporary situations (see Schüssler Fiorenza, 2001).

In contrast, feminist rhetorical criticism, situated in writing and composition departments, has not only explored archival and historical rhetoric but also the intersections of rhetorical practices, theories, and pedagogies in different cultural contexts today. Most likely due to the split between biblical studies and theological/religious studies that determines its socio-academic location, feminist biblical criticism has not sufficiently developed trans-disciplinary research and reading methods for contemporary interpretation. Nor have we developed a comparative scriptures criticism that would explore the articulation of a feminist critical hermeneutics in different religions. In addition, we lack critical ethnographic studies concerning how wo/men read and use the Bible or other sacred scriptures today. Consequently, much critical feminist work remains to be done in the future.

[See also FEMINISM, subentries on FIRST-WAVE FEMINISM, and SECOND-WAVE FEMINISM; GENDER; HISTORICAL-CRITICAL APPROACHES; INTERSECTIONAL STUDIES; PATRIARCHY/KYRIARCHY; and READER-ORIENTED CRITICISM.]

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Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza