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Christianity and the Making of the Modern Family

Overview

How did a religion whose founding proponents advocated a shocking disregard of earthly ties come to extol the virtues of the "traditional" family? In this richly textured history of the relationship between Christianity and the family, Rosemary Radford Ruether traces the development of these centerpieces of modern life to reveal the misconceptions at the heart of the "family values" debate.
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Overview

How did a religion whose founding proponents advocated a shocking disregard of earthly ties come to extol the virtues of the "traditional" family? In this richly textured history of the relationship between Christianity and the family, Rosemary Radford Ruether traces the development of these centerpieces of modern life to reveal the misconceptions at the heart of the "family values" debate.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Provocative. . . . [Ruether's] impressive scholarship, interweaving social history with religious history, puts the family in a fascinating historical context. —Marilyn Gardner, The Christian Science Monitor

"Though a new reading of history, [Ruether] leads us to the question, Is there a new way of reading family, sex, and procreation theologically that can support a more just and sustainable vision of family, home, and work?" —Rosemary Keller, editor of In Our Own Voices: Four Centuries of American Women's Religious Writing

"Well-researched, insightfully honest and engaging. . . . The appeal of Ruether's book is wide. [Christianity and the Making of the Modern Family] forces the reader to assess his or her own understanding of family and family systems. Ruether's book is long overdue." —Nancy Hawkins, America

"A highly readable and important political stab at timely theological and cultural questions." —Sandra Collins, Library Journal

Library Journal
This book is Ruether s (theology, Garrett-Evangelical Seminary) self-professed critique of the failure of the Christian Right s family values campaign to embody an ethic of justice and reconciliation. Highlighting historical Christianity s paradoxical stances on marriage, celibacy, and women, Ruether argues strongly that the concept of the family has undergone many manifestations over time and that, when espousing a return to family values, the church stands more on cultural standards than theological truths. Ruether s strength lies in presenting a comprehensive sociopolitical history of women and the family rather than in delineating corresponding Christian/clerical responses to changing social norms. She neither pits church doctrines against social claims nor explains how the church historically altered its vision with respect to the family. While it might sacrifice depth for breadth, this is still a highly readable and important political stab at timely theological and cultural questions for women s studies and religion collections. Sandra Collins, Duquesne Univ. Lib., PA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Booknews
Traces the conjunctions between Christian theologies of family and political and economic change from the New Testament through Western Christian history and into American social constructions of work, family, and gender to identify the basis for the current ideology of "family values." Ruether, a feminist theologian at Garrett-Evangelical Seminary, contends that the anti-family traditions of the gospels and early Christianity can be understood as a critique of oppressive forms of family, and she advocates that Christianity today accept a postmodern or pluralist understanding of family forms. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Marilyn Gardner
In her provocative book Christianity and the Making of the Modern Family, Ruether challenges the biblical origins of thea ptriarchal family. There has never, she says, "been only one form of family."...Most writers and historians trace the evolution of the family primarily in secular terms, concentrating on the political, economic, and social trends that have shped it. By considering the religious beliefs that have influenced the family as well, Ruether offers an original and valuable perspective.
Christian Science Monitor
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807054079
  • Publisher: Beacon
  • Publication date: 7/28/2001
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 1,053,307
  • Product dimensions: 5.55 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Rosemary Radford Ruether, one of the world's leading feminist theologians, is the Georgia Harkness Professor of Applied Theology at the Garrett-Evangelical Seminary. She is author of over thirty books, including Sexism and God-Talk (Beacon / 1205-X / $17.00 pb) and Womanguides (Beacon / 1235-1 / $15.00 pb), and lives in Evanston, Illinois.
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