Ellen K. Wondra, Anglican Theological Review

January 2, 2022

“This collection of 24 essays by the noted feminist scholar and Catholic activist presents a ‘cartography of struggle and vision’ spanning thirty years. Many readers are familiar with Schüssler Fiorenza’s groundbreaking work in feminist biblical scholarship (In Memory of Her [1983]. Bread Not Stone [1984], and But She Said [1992], as well as numerous essays). Central to that work is her understanding of church. That is the subject of this volume, which articulates pram [sic.] of the critical-theoretical and theological underpinnings of Schüssler Fiorenza’s biblical work . . .

Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza’s work is always intellectually and theologically provocative and meticulous, and this book is no exception. Discipleship of Equals is perhaps most challenging in its use of feminist critical theory to lay bare the historical and contemporary ideological and practical effects of Christian theology on church structures and life. While contemporary moderates and liberals may, for example, have little trouble accepting that Christianity is built on female as well as male prophets and apostles, few of us will be able to read without defensiveness the further analysis that the church is also built on the unpaid or underpaid labor of women, so that ‘Ministry as unpaid or minimally paid labor is a commodity that only the upper middle-class women can afford’ . . . Before we become overly self-congratulatory about the progress made during the last twenty to thirty to thirty years, we need to hear and heed this kind of incisive, relentless analysis that suggests how much further we have to go.

Finally, Discipleship of Equals engenders strong, realistic, and determined hope. For the ancient possibilities explored here, while only ever partially realized, are nevertheless even now available for our actualization.”

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