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A critique of the use of the "Exodus" metaphor by feminist theology

By Jeanette Mathews

Abstract

Bibliography: leaves 83-87.This paper presents a study of the Exodus tradition of the Hebrew Bible with a critique from the perspective of a Feminist Liberation theology. It is recognised that Liberation theologies in general have adopted the theme of Israel's Exodus from Egypt as a paradigm for liberation from the particular forms of oppression being addressed by that liberation perspective (for example, Black theology, Third World theology, Feminist theology). The appropriateness of such a use of the tradition is discussed for the broad category of Liberation theologies as well as for Feminist theology specifically. We have chosen to view the Exodus tradition as a metaphor. The importance of a metaphorical approach to theology will be discussed in the first chapter. Briefly, we acknowledge that metaphor is an appropriate category for religious language, since it uses what is known in order to describe the unknown. This is most clear in descriptions of the divine: in the case of the Exodus metaphor God may be described as "the Liberator of the oppressed". Likewise, the Exodus narrative may be considered a metaphor of liberation. However, a metaphorical perspective reminds us that religious language is limited since a metaphor cannot be fully equated with the category being described. A further limitation is noted whereby a two-way relationship is established in metaphorical speech, so that the metaphor is given validity by that which it describes. From the point of view of Feminist theology, such limitations are profoundly important, since a refusal to recognise them results in irrelevance or idolatry. Our second and third chapters explore the use of the Exodus metaphor by Feminist Liberation theology and the limitations of the metaphor, respectively

Topics: Religious Studies, Feminist Theology
Publisher: Department of Religious Studies
Year: 1991
OAI identifier: oai:open.uct.ac.za:11427/14342

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