Wise Women: Over 2000 Years of Spiritual Writing by Women

Overview

Spiritual experience has always been, and is especially today, a liberating source of women's identity and their resistance to oppression. These selections feature centuries of this tradition's most intuitive writing: women ancient, medieval, and modern articulate the spiritual dimension of life. From Ishtar of Babylonia and Isis of Egypt to the medieval mystic Hildegard of Bingen, the contemporary African American poet Lucille Clifton, and the Buddhist shaman Joan Halifax, these visionaries see justice and love,...
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Overview

Spiritual experience has always been, and is especially today, a liberating source of women's identity and their resistance to oppression. These selections feature centuries of this tradition's most intuitive writing: women ancient, medieval, and modern articulate the spiritual dimension of life. From Ishtar of Babylonia and Isis of Egypt to the medieval mystic Hildegard of Bingen, the contemporary African American poet Lucille Clifton, and the Buddhist shaman Joan Halifax, these visionaries see justice and love, loss, aging, and freedom; and it inspires artistic expression and political action. This deeply moving collection of poetry, essays, prayers, letters, memoirs, stories, and theologies by wise women is a source of empowering and uplifting thought for women in any time, at any age.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
To assemble a representative sample of the world-wide breadth of women's spirituality from eras and cultures, Cahill has selected some 90 writings encompassing a wide variety of forms (essays, poems, prayers, journal entries, short stories and memoirs) and faiths (Judaism, Christianity-both Protestant and Catholic-Native American and Goddess spirituality, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Taoism). Along with the more conventional touchstones of myth and tradition, the writings contain profound moments of conversion and intense epiphanies of personal revelation. The constellation of authors includes the expected-Sappho, Julian of Norwich, Teresa of Avila-and the unexpected-Sun Bu-er, Mechthild of Magdeburg, Mirabai and bell hooks. But the volume is especially rich in contemporary selections, with Dorothy Sayers, Hannah Arendt, Iris Murdoch, Denise Levertov, Lucille Clifton, Marge Piercy and Rita Dove among its most notable voices. The result is a very satisfying anthology, illuminating and useful, that can be enjoyed just for the power of its insights into spirituality or can serve as the basis for historical study of women and religion as well as a valuable resource for writers concerned with religious themes. (May)
Library Journal
In many religious traditions, the clamor of male priests and religious functionaries often overwhelms and silences the voices of religious women. Seeking to recover these voices, editor Cahill (Writing Women's Lives, LJ 4/15/94) has put together a beautiful tapestry of religious narratives ranging from medieval Christian mystic Teresa of Avila and Islamic poet Qurrat Al-'Ayn to novelist Tillie Olsen and poet Rita Dove. Cahill's collection of poems, stories, and essays is a rich and powerful testimony to the liberating power of divine love and justice in the lives of women. Highly recommended for all libraries.
Steve Schroeder
This treasure is loaded with gems gathered from at least 5,000 years of spiritual experience, drawn from diverse traditions, genres, and places. Cahill's brief introduction provides useful background and a cogent description of the process by which selections were made. The suggestions for further reading at the end of the book provide a roadmap for further exploration. Each selection is prefaced by a brief biographical-historical introduction that locates the selection without presuming to tell readers how to interpret it. The richness of the selections derives as much from stylistic diversity as from cultural, linguistic, and religious diversity. In fact, many of the texts are not overtly religious at all--a tribute to the editor's broad definition of spirituality and one important factor in her ability to uncover material that is too often omitted from anthologies such as this one. More than half the book is devoted to material from the twentieth century, but the chronologically ordered material from ancient times through the nineteenth century will probably be the biggest surprise for readers unfamiliar with the territory. The effect of the whole collection, from the twentieth century and before, is a rich encounter (in Catherine de Vinck's image) with the woman--a community of women--dancing the world alive.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393039467
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 6/28/1996
  • Pages: 100
  • Product dimensions: 6.46 (w) x 9.52 (h) x 1.46 (d)

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