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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Carol P. Christ
Weaving and Spinning Women: Witches and Pagans by Max Dashu: Reviewed by Carol P. Christ

Max Dashu’s  Witches and Pagans: Women in European Folk Religion 700-1000 challenges the assumption that Europe was fully Christianized within a few short centuries as traditional historians tell us. Most of us were taught not only that Europe became Christian very rapidly, but also that Europeans were more than willing to adopt a new religion that was “superior” to “paganism” in every way. Careful readers of Dashu’s important new work will be challenged to revise their views. When the full 15 volumes of the projected series are in print, historians may be forced to hang their heads in shame. This of course assumes that scholars will read Dashu’s work. More likely they will ignore or dismiss it, but sooner or later--I dare to hope--the truth will out.

History has been written by the victors—in the case of Europe by elite Christian men. These men may have wanted to believe that their views were widely held, but Dashu suggests that they were not.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    Hi Anthony, You can order Witches and Pagans thru the link in the blog. Yes, I have read The Dancing Goddesses as well as EWB's ea
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    Thank you for the review. I'll try to keep alert for this book. Have you read "The dancing goddesses : folklore, archaeology, and
“And God Said It Was So”: Donald Trump Is the Spittin' Image of Bad Theology by Carol P. Christ

I try very hard this election season to avoid reading about, watching, or listening to Donald Trump: the man is a liar, a cheat, a bully, a narcissist, a racist, a sexist, the list goes on. Yet even progressive commentators are talking almost exclusively about him. And now I am joining them--despite my best intentions.

Reflecting on why facts seem to matter so little to Trump, Patricia J. Williams characterizes his campaign as an exercise in one-way communication:

Freedom of expression is reduced to an arbitrary insistence upon one-way communication, a barked order. Making America “great again,” by this measure, is a command, not a hope. . . This assumption—the belief that communication flows in one direction only, that it is the role of some to speak and others only to listen—is a paradox that stifles rather than encourages debate.

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Can Good Theology Change the World? Part 2

In the first blog in this series, I argued that one of the hallmarks of a good theology is recognizing that the source of authority must be located in individuals and communities who interpret texts and traditions as they encounter divinity anew in the present. In our new book Goddess and God World, Judith Plaskow and I suggest that a second hallmark of good theology is the “turn to the world.” What we mean by this is not only that divinity is immanent in the world, but also that the purpose of human life is to be found in this world—not the next.

The God of traditional theologies is pictured as an old man with a long white beard who rules the world from heaven. It is commonly assumed by those familiar with this picture that the purpose and meaning of human life is not to be found in this world—but rather in heaven. This assumption is increasingly being challenged. Many people no longer believe in life after death. The purpose of morality is increasingly being understood as improving the conditions for the flourishing of human and other forms of life—not on gaining the approval of a God who has the power to assign individuals to heaven or hell in the next world.

In my earlier book She Who Changes, I argued that western philosophies and theologies took a massive “wrong turn” when they accepted the Platonic dualism of mind and body and argued that the rational soul or spirit can—and should--rise above the body in order to commune with eternal truths. I stated that this “wrong turn” away from the body and the world was rooted in “matricide.”

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Promise of Rebirth and Regeneration by Carol P. Christ

"[T]he Old European sacred images and symbols were never totally uprooted; these persistent features in human history were too deeply implanted in the psyche. They could have disappeared only with the total extermination of the female population." Marija Gimbutas, The Language of the Goddess, 318.

August 15 is known to Greek Christians as the date of the Koimisi, "Falling Asleep" or Dormition of the Panagia, She Who Is All Holy.  December 25 is a minor holiday in the Orthodox tradition, while Easter and August 15 are major festivals.  The mysteries of Easter and August 15 concern the relation of life and death.  In Orthodox theology, both Easter and August 15 teach that death is overcome:  Jesus dies and is resurrected; Mary falls asleep and is assumed into heaven.  These mysteries contain the promise that death is not the final end of human life.  Yet this may not be the meaning of the rituals for many of those who participate in them.

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Embodied Theology: Goddess and God in the World by Carol P. Christ and Judith Plaskow

Our new book Goddess and God in the World: Conversations in Embodied Theology has just been released. It just so happens that this is a time for celebrating the harvest. An excerpt from the Introduction introduces the "embodied theological method" we hope will turn the field of theology upside down.

People who reject the popular image of God as an old white man who rules the world from outside it often find themselves at a loss for words when they try to articulate new meanings and images of divinity. Speaking about God or Goddess is no as longer simple as it once was. Given the variety of spiritual paths and practices people follow today, theological discussions do not always begin with shared assumptions about the nature of ultimate reality. In the United States, the intrusion of religion into politics has led many people to avoid the subject of religion altogether. In families and among friends, discussions of religion often culminate in judgment, anger, or tears. Sometimes the conversation is halted before it even begins when someone voices the opinion that anyone who is interested in religion or spirituality is naïve, unthinking, or backward—or, alternatively, that religious views are a matter of personal preference and not worth discussing at all.

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A Servant of God or a Lover of Life by Carol P. Christ


Thus through an enormous network of mythological narrative, every aspect of culture is cloaked in the relationship of ruler and ruled, creator and created. . . . [Sumerian] legend endows the Sumerian ruler-gods with creative power; their subjects are recreated as servants. . . . [This new narrative was] deployed with the purpose of conditioning the mind anew. (20, italics added)

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What Does Mother's Day Mean in a Patriarchal and Matricidal Culture?

When we seek immortality or spiritual “rebirth,” are we not saying that there is something wrong with the “birth” that was given to us through the body of our mothers? In She Who Changes and in "Reading Plato's Allegory of the Cave as Matricide and Theacide," I asserted that our culture is "matricidal" because it is based on the assumption that life in the body in this world "just isn’t good enough."

What is so wrong with the life that our mothers gave us that we must reject it in the name of a “higher” spiritual life? The answer of course death.

Can we love life without accepting death?

Can we love our mothers if we do not accept a life that ends in death?

Jesus was said to have encouraged his disciples to leave their wives and families in order to follow him.  When he was told that his mother and brothers were outside and waiting to speak to him, he is said to have said:

“Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers!  For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother, and sister, and mother. (Matt. 12:48-50)

Buddha left his wife and new-born son in order to pursue enlightenment.

Some feminists, including Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza and Rita Gross, view these incidents positively, stating that their meaning is that no person should be trapped in the conventional biological roles.

I have always experienced these stories as dismissive of women’s bodies, of women’s lives, of women’s work. When I went to college, I learned that all of the knowledge and insight about the meaning of life I had gained through the experience of raising a child with my mother was irrelevant to the university education I had embarked upon.

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