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Early feminist theologians criticized the Christian doctrine of sin for its focus on female sexual purity and its enabling of the marginalization and oppression of women. Others have questioned whether the entire theological category of sin should be abandoned in favor of other ways of talking about the human predicament. In this new book, Rachel Baard argues for a feminist critique of traditional sin-talk alongside a constructive reinterpretation of the doctrine of sinone that can be life affirming for all persons. She claims that the Christian idea of sinthat tragic flaw at the core of human experienceprovides one of the best tools for understanding the evils of sexism, patriarchy, and traditional sin-talk itself. She likewise provides a new rhetoric of sin-talk, one that accounts for the diverse experiences of the human family, not simply those of powerful men.
"With theological rigor, theoretical sophistication and a sharp eye for the pathos of women’s suffering due to gender-based violence, Rachel Baard demonstrates the enduring contribution of feminist discourses on sin to a Christian theology of human flourishing. Using rhetorical analysis and writing from an intersectional, global approach to feminist theology the book offers a map for reading feminist sin-talk that situates it firmly within the Christian tradition’s reforming impulse without losing its radical, critical edge. This is a valuable, original contribution to feminist theological scholarship that deserves to be widely read by anyone interested in feminist theology and the prophetic, life-giving potential of Christian sin-talk."
—Hilda P. Koster, Associate Professor of Religion, Concordia College, Moorhead, MN.
"This book makes an important contribution to Christian understandings of sin by tracing the ongoing conversation among feminist theologians on sin-talk. Bringing together resources from the Christian tradition and from global, intersectional feminism, it proposes a rhetorical approach that brings to the fore not only feminist critiques of classic Christian understandings of sin, but also constructive feminist contributions for retrieving the concept of sin, especially the inner logic of the doctrine of original sin."
—Lois Malcolm, The Olin and Amanda Fjelstad Reigstad Chair of Systematic Theology, Luther Seminary