November 2, 2011 Lecture
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FEMINISM AND RLG
Master concept: PATRIARCHY
An institution and cultural system
Frederick Engels, The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State ) 1884), called
this process the “historical defeat of the female sex”
Feminist scholars view rlg as one of the primary supports for patriarchal dominance-
institutionally and culturally- providing sanctification and legitimacy for patriarchy and
Fem theologians- as long as God is perceived a a male the rest of society will follow
2 central points= major rlgs today emerged w/in pat society’s. The tend to support the
perpetuation of patriarchy.
1.Universal claim that women are inferior to males- male superiority entrenched in all
major sacred traditions. They also say that women need to be controlled (physically,
intellects etc) by men.
2. Females have separate types of practices that are regarded as inferior to those of the
male. Excluded from official roles. Where they do have these roles they are still subjected
to men. Women aren’t authorized to speak in a creative way.
Sacred traditions put blame on females for misfortunes.
The Mother Goddess thesis: “when God was a woman”
Women’s role in ancient India-
Laws of Manu (codified in the 1st Century CE= the first King and Stage, who saved
humanity from the great flood= a sacred law code
It is the very nature of women to corrupt men here on Earth (women are the source of
A girl, young woman, or even an old woman should not do anything independently, even in
For women there is no independent sacrifice, vow or fast; a woman will be exalted in
heaven by the mere fact that she has obediently served her husband
Early Jain scripture:
The world is greatly troubled by women. For men do say “ These are the vessels of
happiness But this leads to pain, to delusion, to death, to hell, to birth as hell-beings or as
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