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Motherhood and Love
Beyond the Gendered Stereotypes of Theology
PAPERBACK; Published: 4/7/2011
ISBN: 978-0-8028-6388-1
224 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 6x9
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It is possible to reinterpret the biblical portrayal of motherhood so that it no longer perpetuates the subordination of women?

Addressing the perceived conflict between feminism and theology, feminist theologian Cristina Grenholm combines systematic theology, gender studies, and biblical interpretation in order to disentangle motherhood and maternal love from a long and knotty legacy of stereotypes and subjugation in Christian tradition.

Wendy Farley
— Emory University
"Grenholm's unsentimental analysis provides a critical perspective on the way Christianity and society have construed motherhood. More importantly, she uses motherhood as a way to erode the duality between autonomy and heteronomy, to embrace the realities of vulnerability, and to respond to our vulnerable interdependence with gentleness rather than with exploitation. She reflects on motherhood less to envision God as mother than to expand the way we envision the possibilities of love. We are fortunate that this work brings much-deserved attention to a Swedish theologian and a literature less known in the United States."
Rita Nakashima Brock
— Faith Voices for the Common Good
"This landmark study of motherhood challenges every Christian to rethink not only mothering but also love, Mary, and sexist doctrines of God. It offers us new, honest, and illuminating ways to embrace mothers as fully human beings and motherhood as a theological hermeneutic for rethinking divine love."
Jan-Olav Henriksen
— Norwegian School of Theology
"Full of fruitful and illuminating insights and written in a voice that is both clear and insistent, Cristina Grenholm's book will be a welcome read for anyone interested in theological anthropology, in the dialogue between feminism and theology, and in the phenomenon of love. . . An extraordinary book!"
Kathy Ehrensperger
— University of Wales, Trinity Saint David
"A down-to-earth, sensitive, and challenging new paradigm of love that leads to a host of creative and illuminating insights on vulnerability, asymmetry, power, and heteronomy. Grenholm's methodological clarity and careful analysis of biblical narratives in conversation with doctrine will stimulate innovative theological thinking."
Daniel Patte
— Vanderbilt University
"Cristina Grenholm's Motherhood and Love is a landmark theological work urgently needed by the twenty-first-century church. Its presentation of the central doctrine of 'love' is insightful and eye-opening, because the Christian traditions about love are interpreted in terms of relevant biblical texts (including those about Mary, the mother of Jesus) and in terms of motherhood as a lived-out experience of love. In addition to providing us with a welcome vision of love 'beyond the gendered stereotypes of theology,' this volume is a remarkable demonstration of a threefold theological practice. It goes back and forth among 'life' (motherhood experience), 'doctrine' (traditions), and 'critical analysis' (of biblical texts as well as of traditions and life) — a living theology model often advocated but rarely practiced in such a clear way. I highly recommend this volume for all clergy and for divinity students and their teachers."
Anglican and Episcopal History
"Grenholm does an excellent job of integrating biblical exegesis and sociology into a coherent theology that shows the uniqueness and beauty of motherhood as a metaphor for describing humanity's relationship with God."
Religious Studies Review
"The book's accessible and generally inviting style could render it a useful work for undergraduates or seminarians."
"The point made by the author that our reflections about something so fundamental to humanity have to be part of our theological conversation in ways that take us beyond the stereotypes is most eloquently made and demands further engagement."
Lutheran Quarterly
"Grenholm argues that, when it is not idealized, dismissed, or hidden, motherhood offers some vital lessons on love. . . . Makes a compelling case for theologians of any stripe to give motherhood the serious attention it deserves."
Theological Book Review
"An engaging and well-referenced contribution to the field. Read with awareness of the centrality of gender studies in her interdisciplinary methodology, Grenholm's work offers valuable reflections on vulnerability in motherhood; and, indeed, in all love relationships."