Is There a Distinctively Feminist Philosophy of Religion?
Article first published online: 3 MAY 2012
© 2012 The Author. Philosophy Compass © 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Volume 7, Issue 6, pages 422–435, June 2012
How to Cite
Burns, E. D. (2012), Is There a Distinctively Feminist Philosophy of Religion?. Philosophy Compass, 7: 422–435. doi: 10.1111/j.1747-9991.2012.00488.x
- Issue published online: 3 MAY 2012
- Article first published online: 3 MAY 2012
Feminist philosophers of religion such as Grace Jantzen and Pamela Sue Anderson have endeavoured, firstly, to identify masculine bias in the concepts of God found in the scriptures of the world’s religions and in the philosophical writings in which religious beliefs are assessed and proposed and, secondly, to transform the philosophy of religion, and thereby the lives of women, by recommending new or expanded epistemologies and using these to revision a concept of the divine which will inspire both women and men to work for the flourishing of the whole of humankind. It is argued, firstly, that the philosophies of Jantzen and Anderson are by no means as different from each other as they might, at first, appear. Secondly, it is suggested that their epistemologies are not distinctively feminist, and that the classical divine attributes of the Abrahamic faiths do not necessarily privilege the masculine. Perhaps the only way in which a philosophy of religion might be distinctively feminist is by emphasising the inclusion of women. This might mean being more open to concepts of the divine which are not, even in a metaphorical sense, masculine, and enhancing awareness of the ways in which abstract arguments about the divine could be relevant to the practical aspects of human life which have traditionally been the preserve of women. Insofar as these are increasingly also the responsibility of men, however, a feminist philosophy of religion might now be more appropriately characterised as an inclusivist philosophy of religion.