A new book by Dr. Lynn Japinga of the
Hope College religion faculty introduces the themes and
controversies of Christian feminism.
Japinga, an associate professor of religion at
Hope, has been teaching the college's course on feminist
theology for seven years. She wrote her book, "Feminism and
Christianity: An Essential Guide," because she saw a need
for a text that provided an easy-to-understand introduction
to the topic and the issues involved.
"I wanted to use something that would be basic and
accessible to laypeople and college students, and there
wasn't a lot out there," she said. "Part of what I try to
do in both teaching and in the book is correct some of the
stereotypes and try to give people a clear sense of what
feminist theology is all about."
The book, published by Abingdon Press of
Nashville, Tenn., offers an overview of feminism generally
in addition to outlining a number of feminist and non-
feminist approaches to the Bible. In her introduction she
notes, "It is representative and suggestive rather than
comprehensive, but I hope it will whet the reader's appetite
for more reading, study, and learning."
Examples of ways that women are depicted and
discussed biblically run throughout the text, as do examples
of women in the history of Christianity through the 20th
century. Topics that receive extended analysis include ways
that God's gender is interpreted and Jesus's gender is
understood; gender-influenced assumptions concerning human
nature, sin and salvation; and the question of whether or not women
should hold leadership roles in the church.
Japinga has been a member of the Hope faculty
since 1992. She graduated from the college in 1981,
completed a master of divinity degree at Princeton
Theological Seminary in 1984 and completed her doctorate at
Union Theological Seminary in 1992.