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Approaches Gender Religion Notes

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This is an extract of our Approaches Gender Religion document, which we sell as part of our Approaches to History Notes collection written by the top tier of Oxford University students.

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Approaches Revision Notes: GENDER: Religion:

1. What role has organised religion played in the history of gender roles?
Could organise into:
- Texts.
- Symbolism.
- Moral behaviour.
- Idea of fundamental difference.
- Political platforms/community. REINFORCED BROKEN DOWN Have certainly had impact: Could give women a platform:
- "Religions have created and
- U King highlights. Talks of this legitimated gender" (Ursula as a "paradigm shift". King).
- E.g. Women's Caucus, Harvard Divinity School founded 1970.
- E.g. Jewish Religious Union founded 1902 by Lily Montagu because of United Synagogue's failure to address women's demands, e.g. 1899 attempts to secure vote in synagogue elections.
- "One public arena from which they were not excluded" (Hugh McLeod). Religious knowledge associated with Has been tendency to read religious 'maleness': texts through 'lenses of gender':
- Even word 'patriarchy' comes
- Ursula King's idea. from Church gov't.
- Re-reading them began with
- Most religious texts written by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who men. published 'The Women's Bible'

1898. - Is "androcentric" (U King).
- Exemplified by way that Katharina Kunig's vision prophesying the need for change was rejected in Ref Augsburg.
- Was really solely masculine domain in C16th Jewish shtetl communities. Women in charge of practical domain. E.g. woman in Burman's study remembers grandma running grocery shop in Lithuania while

grandfather just 'prayed all day'.
- E.g. In Manchester study of Jewish schools (Burman), 88%
of men had formal relig. education, only 28% women: 'a girl doesn't need to learn' (interviewee, born 1916). Many religious symbols are gendered:
- God, Jesus, heavenly father v. Virgin Mary.
- Jesus = "the archetypal Christian male" (J Gregory).
- Comes from post-modernist tradition.
- Roper argues that the male figures became more dominant post-Ref, e.g. dropping of Marian feast. "Reformed religion was relentlessly Christocentric". Made even greater by printing press:
- Several books addressed to men (who would have been more able to read anyway).
- E.g. Presbyterian Thomas Gouge's 'The Young Man's Guide, through the Wilderness of this World, to the Heavenly Cannan' (1685 - emph link work-godliness).
- However, note that there were also manuals available for men as husbands and workers (e.g. 'The Husband Man's Manual'
[1694], 'The Tradesman's Calling' [1684]). Relevance of religion to family:
- "Unlikely to disturb views of female inferiority" (L Roper).

Women have often played leading roles during formative periods of religion:
- E.g. C19th Christian missionaries.
- U King.
- E.g. Roper highlights role in Anabaptism, spiritualism in Ref Augsburg.
- E.g. when Jews moved from shtetl communities ? England. Rules like dietary requirements, kashrut, became esp important. Emphasis on charity in C18th may have increased importance of female role:
- E.g. Vicesimus Knox: 'Christian charity never shone greater than in this age'.

Women were valued for piety and spiritual worth:
- Key argument of Davidoff and Hall = religion "offered the key to... a world where women could be valued for their spiritual worth".
- Not really relevant in Christianity in earlier periods - in C16th, "the figure of the sexually hungry, masterful

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