A New Gospel for Women: Katharine Bushnell and the Challenge by Kristin Kobes Du Mez

By Kristin Kobes Du Mez

A New Gospel for Women tells the tale of Katharine Bushnell (1855-1946), writer of God's note to Women, probably the most leading edge and accomplished feminist theologies ever written. An internationally-known social reformer and women's rights activist, Bushnell rose to prominence via her hugely publicized campaigns opposed to prostitution and the trafficking of girls in the US, in colonial India, and all through East Asia. In every one of those situations, the intrepid reformer struggled to return to phrases with the truth that it used to be Christian males who have been accountable of committing acts of appalling cruelty opposed to ladies. finally, Bushnell concluded that Christianity itself - or fairly, the patriarchal distortion of precise Christianity - needs to be to blame.

A paintings of background, biography, and historic theology, Kristin Kobes DuMez's ebook presents a brilliant account of Bushnell's existence. It maps a concise creation to her attention-grabbing theology, revealing, for instance, Bushnell's trust that gender bias tainted either the King James and the Revised types of the English Bible. As Du Mez demonstrates, Bushnell insisted that God created girls to be powerful and self sustaining, that Adam, now not Eve, bore accountability for the autumn, and that it used to be via Christ, "the nice emancipator of women," that ladies could in achieving non secular and social redemption.

A New Gospel for Women restores Bushnell to her rightful position in historical past. It illuminates the dynamic and infrequently thorny courting among religion and feminism in glossy the USA through mapping Bushnell's tale and her next disappearance from the historic checklist. such a lot pointedly, the booklet unearths the demanding situations confronting Christian feminists at the present time who desire to build a sexual ethic that's either Christian and feminist, one rooted no longer within the Victorian period, yet relatively one fitted to the trendy global.

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Additional info for A New Gospel for Women: Katharine Bushnell and the Challenge of Christian Feminism

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2 For Bushnell, each of these movements would eventually end up illuminating the shortcomings of traditional Christianity—most particularly, the shortcomings and hypocrisies of Christian men. Though she would never waver in her belief that Christianity and feminism must go hand in hand, Bushnell’s work in missions, temperance, and purity would lead her to radically alter her notion of what Christianity entailed. Mission to China: 1879–1882 In November 1879, Bushnell arrived in the city of Kiukiang (Jiujiang),3 a “treaty port” along the Yangtze River.

She soon found it impossible, however, to turn away the many patients who came to her door. 46 At first glance, the demand for Bushnell’s services appears to reinforce missionary narratives that portrayed Chinese women as victims, suffering from a lack of access to medical care. Although consistent with images of a benevolent imperialism and effective in raising funds among sympathetic American churchgoers, this characterization was not entirely true. 47 Bushnell’s own reports reveal that her treatments were not always superior to those of Chinese practitioners.

In doing so, they helped lay the groundwork for a gender-based activism that would draw countless women into the realm of social reform in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. As the clearest example of such gender-based activism, temperance reform emerged as the second great movement bringing Christian women together to work on behalf of their sex. By presenting temperance work as a Christian duty, temperance leaders swelled their ranks with Christian wives and mothers, thereby introducing tens of thousands of American women to civic engagement more generally, and to the women’s rights movement in particular.

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