Woman and Spiritual Equality in the Christian Tradition
Women and Spiritual Equality in the Christian Tradition challenges the common assumption in contemporary discourse that Christianity is exclusively misogynist by documenting the presence of a long, strong, and positive tradition based on women's spiritual equality. In chronological order, references and images of women in church writings and lay culture are explored, as well as the actual lives of women and their vitae. Ranft shows how the accumulated evidence provides persuasive data that this positive tradition coexisted with the more notorious misogynist tradition. For a millennium and a half, Ranft reveals, Christianity possessed the lone voice in society that posited women's equality in any aspect. She argues that without knowledge of this tradition, our understanding of the history of Western women is significantly incomplete. Women and Spiritual Equality in the Christian Tradition is the first lengthy study to document such a tradition and it gives long overdue life to the previously muted voices of women's equality in Western society's discourse on women.