NBN As perhaps the best book of feminist theology to date, She Who is is at once thoroughly orthodox, grounded in classical Christian thought, liberating contemporary, and rooted in Women's experience. Library Journal
Blackwell North Amer In the late fourth century debate over the question whether Jesus Christ was truly divine or simply a creature subordinate to God the Father was so wide spread that Gregory of Nyssa was led to remark: "Even the baker does not cease from discussing this, for if you ask the price of bread he will tell you that the Father is greater and the Son subject to him." In our own day, says Elizabeth Johnson, an analogous debate over "right speech about God is exceptionally alive in a new way thanks...to a sizable company of bakers, women who historically have borne the primary responsibility for lighting the cooking fires and feeding the world." In She Who Is Elizabeth Johnson attempts to "braid a footbridge between the ledges of classical theology and feminist theology," and in so doing offers the most solidly grounded case to date for using women's experience and female imagery to describe the Christian experience of God. With an extraordinary control of the history of Christian God-talk from the Cappadocians to contemporary theologians, and with an acute sensitivity to the varieties of women`s experience today, Johnson shows in countless ways how feminist language about God belongs in our pulpits and at our altars. Put in starkest terms, the questions this book poses are two: Can the Christian doctrine of God accommodate a thoroughgoing feminist approach? And can feminist theology learn anything from classical Christian discourse about God? Johnson's response to the first is to show how feminist theology, drawing on women's interpreted experience and a critical retrieval of elements in Scripture and tradition, can enable speech about God previously closed to the imagination - that it can move the tradition from an androcentric to a genuinely liberating view of God. To the second question Johnson responds by showing how the classical tradition can add density to feminist speech about God, directing attention to the vast scope of divine activity. Women's reality is thus fully capax Dei, capable not only of receiving and bearing the divine but of symbolizing it as well. The achievement of She Who Is is to be found not only in its compelling argument, in its broad learning, in the comfort it will give women and the discomfort it will cause business-as-usual churchmen but also in its rhetorical range and literary skill. Its language is, in turn, powerful, evocative, learned, playful, parenetic, subtle - suitable, insofar as language can ever be, to the dark and gracious mystery it attempts to disclose.