Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

God-Concept at the Intersection of Feminism and Christianity: A study of female church leaders' perceptions of the gender of God
by Rhineberger, Emily Hamilton, M.A., The George Washington University, 2011, 79; 1492152
Abstract (Summary)

The Christian faith often characterizes God as a male figure in language and personification. Feminist research in the 1980s sparked a debate about this gendered ideology upheld by the church and scholars in theological circles came to consensus that God was not human and thus did not have a gender. This study sought to examine the concept of God's gender among female Christian leaders in Washington, DC by asking if they personally believed that God is masculine, how they interpret and synthesize any perceived gender difference, and if that affects their roles in the church.

Twenty women from the three Christian denominations in DC were interviewed about their relationship to God and their gendered God-concept. Three women believed in the literal interpretation of God as male, two women strongly upheld the genderless or dual-gendered nature of God, while the remainder intellectually agreed that God was beyond gender but still perceived God as masculine. Although the perceptions of God's gender varied, all women felt confident being female in the church and the gendered perception in the larger Christian community did not affect their participation in the church. The women dealt with patriarchal ideologies of the church in both god-concept and gender roles as results of the Jewish culture of the first century and pointed to the radical egalitarianism of Jesus as reasons why women should be and are respected leaders of the Christian community.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Zucker, Alyssa
Commitee: Houghtby-Haddon, Natalie
School: The George Washington University
Department: Women's Studies
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: MAI 49/05M, Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Religion, Womens studies
Keywords: Feminism, God-concept
Publication Number: 1492152
ISBN: 978-1-124-62996-4
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