Ross Shepard Kraemer shows how her mind has changed or remained the same since the publication of her ground-breaking work almost 20 years ago. Kraemer analyzes how gender provides the historically obfuscating substructure of diverse texts. While attentive to arguments that women are largely fictive proxies in elite male contestations over masculinity, authority and power, Kraemer retains her focus on redescribing and explaining women's religious practices. She argues that gender-specific or not, religious practices in the ancient Mediterranean routinely encoded and affirmed ideas about gender. As in many cultures, women's devotion to the divine was both acceptable and encouraged only so long as it conformed to pervasive constructions of femininity as passive, embodied, emotive, insufficiently controlled and subordinated to masculinity. Extending her findings beyond the ancient Mediterranean, Kraemer proposes that more generally, religion is among the many human social practices that are both gendered and gendering, constructing and inscribing gender on human beings and on human actions and ideas.
Her study thus poses significant questions about the relationships between religions and gender in the modern world.
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc