Human Body: Human Bodies, Religion, and Gender

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Sigmund Freud (18561939) famously described human beings as sick animals, caught between the apparent transcendence of rationality and the immanent reality of being physical creatures that need food to survive, that defecate, that reproduce through sexual intercourse, and who will die. While one need not accept all Freud's claims, this distinction between two different types of human experience provides a useful starting point for exploring the historical development of ideas concerning the relationship between the human body, religion, and gender. While Freud is at pains to accept the significance of the body (and particularly sexuality) for human self-understanding, in effect questioning the extent to which rationality can be understood as the defining feature of human being, other interpretations of these different experiences have tended to undervalue or belittle physicality. Religious theorizing has made a consistent separation between the intellect and the body, the spiritual and the physical. This distinction is particularly notable in the Western tradition, although by no means exclusive to it. Here, the religious division of existence into that which is "sacred" and that which is "profane" is underpinned by an equally persistent philosophical theory of the human person as consisting of two unequal properties. For Plato (c. 428347 bce), the true self is equated with the soul (see Phaedo ), an idea that is built upon by René Descartes (15961650) in his division of the human subject into a mind whose existence can be proved, and a body whose existence is subject to doubt (see The Second Meditation ).

The Body in Contemporary Accounts of Personhood

Twentieth-century developments in the philosophy of mind, most notably in the work of Gilbert Ryle (19001976) and Ludwig Wittgenstein (18891951), challenged this dualistic understanding of the human person that distinguishes "mind" from body and values the former at the expense of the latter. Significantly, feminists have added to this analysis by exposing the unspoken gender assumptions that lie beneath the dualistic construction of the human person. Historically, the visually obvious role that the female plays in reproduction has led to her consistent identification with the body and the processes of nature. At the same time, the male has been equated with the mind and rationality, and spirituality has been defined in terms of those elements that transcend the natural world. In such a context, it is perhaps not surprising that the desire to impose order upon nature, or perhaps to evade nature entirely, has disproportionately affected women, as control of the female can easily be conflated with control of nature itself. And just as the attributes associated with the male have been equated with the spiritual realm, so it can be argued that the concept of the divine has been created in the image of those masculine values conceived as distinguishable from the potentially chaotic forces of the natural world.

Recent philosophical and theological theorists have begun seeking a return to the body, taking seriously human physicality and refusing to see the body as a disposable container for the human soul. In such a context, issues such as gender and race are revealed as significant indicators for the way in which human beings have understood their placing in the world. At the same time as attention is being directed towards the body, postmodern theorists have challenged any attempt to understand the body in a straightforwardly "natural" or obvious way. The body, like every other aspect of human life and society, is subject to "infinitely variable social constructions" (Coakley, 1997, p. 3). One cannot separate "the body" from its cultural representation.

An analysis of the history of religion in this context is particularly significant, for in the guise of addressing the issues that arise from being a physical being, particular and exacting disciplines have been imposed upon what has been taken to be a potentially unruly and dangerous site of experience. Michel Foucault (19261984) has argued that the sexual character of the body has itself been shaped by political intervention. More often than not, women have been associated primarily with the physical, and as such the female body has been disproportionately affected by the attempts of the religious to control the body.

The Female Body in Religious Writings

According to Émile Durkheim (18581917), religion is best understood in terms of its social function. Religious practices and beliefs function as part of the attempt made by human beings to impose order upon the apparently chaotic world of nature. The body is not exempt from this attempt to distinguish what is pure, ordered, and thus holy from what is dirty, disordered, and impure. As the anthropologist Mary Douglas points out, ideas of holiness and social order are closely related to the symbol of the body. The body stands as a symbol for society, and "its boundaries can represent any boundaries which are threatened or precarious" (Douglas, 2000, p. 142). In seeking to impose order on their surroundings, human beings render as problematic that which defies order, and this is particularly true of the human body that stands as a microcosm for the world. The discharges of the body, immune to any attempt at ordering, are thus seen as potentially defiling, and in need of careful control (Douglas, 2000, p. 64).

While male and female bodies are both subject to various forms of discharge and excreta, the female body has been associated most intimately with the perceived dangers of discharges (notably menstruation) and has been subjected to all forms of religious stricture and control. Indeed, it can be argued that a pessimistic attitude to the body as a means of achieving spiritual fulfillment leads irrevocably to misogyny. For example, the Hindu Laws of Manu (6.767) states that the body is "foul-smelling" and "filled with urine and excrement," and this fundamentally pessimistic attitude toward the body is coupled, argues Wendy Doniger, with an explicit misogyny. Excrement is indeed a popular metaphor for the hidden dangers of the female that crosses religious and cultural boundaries. For Nāgārjuna (second century ce), one of the greatest thinkers of Mahāyāna Buddhism, one who lies with a woman may think that he lies with the most beautiful of creatures, but in fact he "merely lies on top of a woman's bladder" (Williams, 1997, p. 210). In almost identical fashion, the Christian Saint Odo of Cluny (c. 878942 ce) notes that "to embrace a woman is to embrace a sack of manure."

"Dirt is dangerous," as Douglas points out (2000, p. xi), but to categorize bodily emissions as "dangerous" simultaneously suggests something of their power, and goes some way toward explaining the attitude towards the female in many religious traditions. In prehistoric times, a strong association seems to have been made between the female body and the processes of fertility. Small statuettes of female figures portrayed with large breasts, pregnant stomachs, and prominently marked genitals have been found dating back to Paleolithic times. While the ability to reproduce suggests something of women's ability to create (for cultures that probably did not fully understand the male role in reproduction, seemingly ex nihilo), the attempt to control such power has led to taboos being constructed around both menstruation and birth. Menstruation was, and in some cases remains, subject to rigid practices in most religions. In Orthodox Judaism, a menstruating woman is kept separate from contact with male family members. In Hinduism, both menstrual blood and the blood of birthing are considered unclean. In Christianity, menstruation is described as "the curse," punishment for the disobedience of Eve, and in medieval times a menstruating woman was not allowed to participate in the Eucharist.

Feminist scholars suggest that this suspicion of the female body and its apparently unruly but also awe-inspiring nature lies at the heart of patriarchal attempts to control the natural world. For Rosemary Ruether "patriarchal religion is built on many millennia of repressed fear of the power of female bodily processes" (quoted in Joseph, 1990, p. 18). Naomi Goldenberg develops such reflections, suggesting that religion arises as "a result of the sustained practise of gender," for men can, in these cultural arenas, "safely pretend to be women, especially in regard to matters of nurture and reproduction" (Goldenberg, 1998, pp. 193, 199). Under this reading, men envy the power of women to procreate, and religious systems provide a symbolic setting where they can pretend that they are, in fact, the life-givers.

Goldenberg's theory goes some way toward offering an explanation for the ambivalence shown towards women in the various world religions. As has been noted, the female body has been seen as potentially dangerous, its "unruly nature" subject to a range of taboos: yet at the same time women's bodies have also been praised for their virginal and maternal qualities. In Christianity, this veneration gains its supreme expression in the figure of the Virgin Mary, who stands as the embodiment of both. Yet far from forcing an engagement with what it means to be a sexual being, Mary is invariably constructed in theological discourse as an asexual woman, neutered and rendered safe by an overarching male hierarchy. She poses little challenge to patriarchal definitions of what it is to be a woman: she is, after all, defined according to her perceived sexual status and her relationship to the men in her life, be they human or divine. Simultaneously, she provides "real" women with an impossible ideal to emulate: she is the virgin who is also a mother. Indeed, reflection on Mary suggests an apparent distortion in understandings of what it means to be an embodied being that is brought into play by the Christian account of sin.

In the religions of classical antiquity, notions of virginity were not necessarily associated with the bodily integrity of an unbroken hymen: to call a goddess "virgin" was simply to highlight the autonomy of the deity, who was perceived as being beyond the control of men. Thus Artemis and Athena are virgin goddesses not primarily because they "know not man" but because they are not constrained by male power. Once the idea of original sin, transmitted through the sexual act, became the orthodox Christian position, explicated in its fullest form by Augustine of Hippo (354430 ce), virginity takes on an altogether different hue, becoming the way par excellence of being spiritual. In such a context, the woman who gives expression to her sexuality is particularly problematic, for she moves outside not simply male control but also the divine order.

Even the apparently safe construction of woman as mother is not altogether removed from the sleight of sin. Childbirth is not enough to remove the inherited guilt of being a daughter of Eve, the first seductress of man. In part, this theological underpinning explains the ritual of "churching" women after childbirth. A Christian form of the purification rite that was prescribed for new mothers in Leviticus 12, contemporary forms emphasize the aspect of thanksgiving for the safe delivery of a child. Yet the liturgical emphasis is on the status of the maternal body rather than upon that of either baby or father, suggesting that it is the potentially polluting power of the maternal body that must be addressed and rendered safe by the appropriate religious rite.

The ambiguity felt towards the mother is not peculiar to Christianity. In the Indian tradition, the goddess Kālī expresses the power of the mother both to sustain and annihilate. A manifestation of the mother goddess Devī, she is invariably represented as a dark goddess, wearing a girdle of dead men's hands or penises, her face and breasts covered in blood. As such, she provides a subversion of the constraining, conventional formulation of motherhood in the Indian tradition. This terrifying apparition gives expression to the deep-seated fears of the maternal power to consume as well as to succor. For feminists like Vrinda Dalmiya, Kālī provides a model for challenging and confronting the forces that shape patriarchal constructions of motherhood.

Kālī provides an explicit image of the consistent connection that has been made between women and death. The ability to give birth is not conceived in a straightforwardly positive way, for just as the mother gives life, so she also introduces the child to the world of decay and death. Samuel Beckett (19061989) expresses succinctly the perceived ambiguity of the mother: Women "give birth astride a grave, the light gleams an instant, then it's night once more" (Waiting for Godot, 1953, Act II). In her role as progenitrix of the species, woman stands at the boundary between life and death. Existence is never only about being, for it also contains the inevitability of nonbeing. Paradoxically, then, emphasizing the role of the female body in reproduction exposes a further connection between woman and death. The desire to instigate control over the terrifying world of fecundity, change, and decay has already been noted. Indeed, recognizing mortality can lead to a desire to evade the physical, and even the most cursory glimpse at the history of religion suggests that the connection between sexuality and mortality has been developed in such a way as to suggest that by resisting the former the consequences of the latter might be, if not avoided, at least brought under control. In early Sufism, sex was seen as that which disturbed "the pure surrender of the soul" to God. Resistance to the sexual was mirrored in a tacit disgust for women that reflected the disgust felt towards the world that got between the soul and its God. Woman was "the world" for she was an integral part of the process of physical renewal (Schimmel, 1997).

Reflection on gender is of crucial significance at this point, for rather than see sexuality as a fundamental part of what it is to be human (or even male ) this troubling feature has been consistently projected onto the female. Spirituality in diverse traditions becomes less an engagement with the facts that emerge from accepting that we are creatures that will die, and more an attempt to evade the realm of the body personified by woman. Even Buddhist thought, uncompromising in its attempt to engage with the facts of mortality, is not immune from this process of identifying woman with the spiritual death that comes from valuing physical things. Thus the Buddha is reported to have said:

It would be better, foolish man, to put your male organ into the mouth of a terrible and poisonous snake than into a woman It would be better, foolish man, to put it into a blazing, burning, red-hot charcoal pit than into a woman. Why? On account of that, foolish man, you might die, or suffer deathly agony, but that would not cause you to pass, at the breaking up of the body after death, to a lower rebirth, a bad destiny, to ruin, to hell. But on account of this, foolish man, [you may]. (Vinaya III 19)

Danger is associated with women's sexuality rather than with the sexual desires of the man himself, although often such negative comments on the female body are accompanied by the proviso that "your own [male] body is as filthy as a woman's" (Nāgārjuna, quoted in Williams, 1997, p. 211). Despite such comments, connecting the female body with the perceived problems of the body and sexuality in general gives the impression that these features are female rather than male, and thus avoiding the female can help the male to overcome these dangers. The debates surrounding the ordination of women to the priesthood of the Anglican Church are a case in point. Analogies used to resist the possibility of ordaining women suggested a clear identification of woman with the (apparently) "lower" physical world. One opponent argued that one might as well ordain a pot of anchovy paste as ordain a woman (Smith, 1989, p. 48), a comment that suggests there is something primal, vegetative, and fundamentally inhuman about woman, and that spirituality will involve resisting all things female. In such a context, a "woman priest" is an anomaly. Women's bodies thus become battlefields upon which the struggle against mortality and the physical world takes place.

The areas of monasticism and asceticism prove fruitful for examples of this construction of (male) spirituality as resistance to the (female) body. A story told of the Desert Father Saint Anthony (c. 250356) describes him falling prey to the seduction of a demon disguised as a beautiful woman who visits him in his cave. She is exhausted from traveling, and he offers her shelter. They talk, and simply talking with "her" is enough to engender lustful thoughts. Eventually, overcome with desire, the monk seeks to consummate his passion, at which point the demon reveals "herself" and leaves, laughing at the continuing power lust has over him.

Woman is the temptress who lures man away from the path of spiritual perfection into the imperfect world of the physical, often described in overtly sexual terms. The thirteenth-century ūfī sage Jamāl Hānswī gives a suitably gendered interpretation of the different paths confronting the soul: "The seeker of the world is feminine, the seeker of the other-world is a hermaphrodite, and the seeker of the Lord is masculine" (Schimmel, 1997, p. 274). Given this typology, it is not difficult to take the next step: not only is the female body associated with the physical, but it also provides a fitting model for damnation. The image of the vagina dentata ("the womb with teeth") is used in psychoanalytic theories to illuminate the male fear of the castrating female: yet its primary grounding is in religious art and imagery, where the image of the devouring mouth is commonly used as a representation of hell. In this context, the mouth and the womb are connected in what Freud would call "an upward displacement." Identical images are used to describe both the female sexual organs and the mouth of hell. Boccaccio (13131375), reflecting on the insatiability of the womb, uses explicitly infernal images: "That gulf, then, is certainly an infernal abyss which could be filled or sated as the sea with water or the fire with wood" (Blamires, 1992, p. 176). Jerome (c. 342420) and Thomas Aquinas (12251274), separated by nearly a thousand years, are similarly obsessed with the claim in Proverbs 7:27 that a wicked woman's "house" is "the way to hell, reaching even to the inner chambers of death." The womb, like the mouth, is that which devours, hence a Muslim saying: "Three things are insatiable: the desert, the grave, and a woman's womb." The life-giving power of the female body is thus reworked as an image for annihilation.

"The Return to the Body" in Contemporary Religious Theorizing

Contemporary feminist theology has played a significant role not only in exposing the ways in which women have been consistently identified with the despised physical: recent work in the area has sought a more positive reconstruction of the place of the body for developing an appropriate contemporary spirituality. "Body theologians" have sought to reclaim women's bodies from patriarchal interpretation and control, seeking to "allow celebration to take the place of guilt and repression" (Isherwood and Stuart, 1998, p. 19). In this context, the body emerges not as an entity to be resisted, but as a site for knowledge. The philosophical and theological dualism of mind/body is disrupted, leading to the integration of the spiritual into the physical. The logic of such an approach has an impact upon not only the way in which human being is conceived. James Nelson, applying feminist insights to the development of an embodied male spirituality, resists the idea that sexuality should be viewed as an aspect of "man's" lower, animal nature. Integrating spirituality and sexuality leads him to reappraise the nature of God. God is not as an entity transcendent from the world and its processes, but is found in relationship.

This reappraisal of the dichotomy between divine and human is also addressed in the contemporary women's spirituality movement. The publication of Womanspirit Rising (1979), edited by Carol Christ and Judith Plaskow, was a significant landmark in the development of this movement. The women who contributed to this collection came from a number of religious traditions, and sought to reclaim the sacrality of the female body. For some contributors, this involved actively seeking "the female divine." To adapt Carol Christ's words, "women need the Goddess," and writers such as Starhawk and Monica Sjöö have since developed a form of Goddess feminism that links the realization of female power with the rediscovery of a female divine principle. Melissa Raphael, the chief commentator on this movement, argues that Goddess feminism reconstructs the female body as a site for the sacred, disrupting the old ideas of the female body as something profane. Of particular importance to the movement has been the attempt to rediscover and reclaim the biological cycles of the female body. In part this has involved an engagement with the maternal body, not simply as an aspect of (some) women's experience, but as a cipher for the creative processes of the cosmos.

Similar reflections are developedalbeit in a rather more abstract wayin the writings of feminist philosophers of religion. In her quest to develop a feminist philosophy of religion, Grace Jantzen proposes that natality (the fact that we are born) replace mortality (the fact that we will die) as the paradigm for understanding human being. This shift in focus leads to a different set of values from those advanced by patriarchy: flourishing and human relationship are fostered, in contrast to the individualistic concerns with immortality and the self cultivated by an overemphasis on death. Such conclusions have been questioned, for reflection upon mortality and death need not lead to the kind of solipsism that Jantzen resists, but can similarly highlight the dependence of human beings upon each other and upon the cosmos itself.

Indeed, reasserting the body affects how the earth itself is understood. Sallie McFague's "ecotheology" results in part from her attempt to break down the dichotomy between transcendence and immanence, and thus to rethink the earth, not as the physical opposition to the spiritual divine, but as "the body of God" (McFague, 1993). Accepting "the interconnect[ed]ness of Spirit and all created beings" (Primavesi, 1991, p. 265) leads to a greater willingness to work with, rather than against, the processes of the physical world.

Reappraising the body thus affects much more than just an understanding of human being. Such reflection can even influence the method for studying religion. Amy Hollywood suggests that an adequate philosophy of religion will reflect not so much on the beliefs that people hold, but upon the way in which bodily practice shapes religious experience and subsequent belief. Adopting Marcel Mauss's (18721950) description of mystical states as resulting from specific "body techniques," Hollywood argues that ritual action creates "certain kinds of subjects, dispositions, moods, emotions, and desires." Focusing upon specific religious practices necessitates an acknowledgment of "those differences inscribed in and on bodies (often through rituals and bodily, mental, and spiritual practices themselves)." Bodily experience, under this reading, is both "physiological and cultural" (Hollywood, 2003, pp. 230, 226, 231), a claim that coheres with the way in which social and religious norms have shaped female bodily experience. Her ideas, however, move beyond a simple discussion of the female body: if her claims are taken seriously, it will be difficult to generalize about "religion" just as it will become impossible to separate belief from practice.

Indeed, reflection on the female body opens up a range of topics that transcend any isolated or simplistic engagement with gender. Accepting the significance of difference for understanding bodily practice moves beyond any uniform account of "the body." Yet such a conclusion need not invalidate the significance of focusing on the body. For example, Nancy Eisland suggests that reflection on the experiences of people with disabilities supports the claim that the body must be seen as central for human self-understanding. People with disabilities, she notes, "become keenly aware that our physical selves determine our perceptions of the social and physical world" (Eisland, 1994, p. 31).

Eisland's work, far from challenging the significance of engaging with the body, suggests that this engagement must be complex. Addressing the "lived experience" of disability suggests that it will be difficult, if not disingenuous, to talk of "the body" in a simplistic way. This realization has led some feminists to a more critical engagement with feminism itself. Tina Chanter has suggested that the turn to the body means that mainstream (invariably white) feminism will be forced to take seriously issues of race. Similarly, Ellen Armour resists the notion that there can be any unified, generalized account of "the female body" that fails to take account of "its" multiple differences. It is not just patriarchs who have sought to make such generalizing assertions: feminists have also tended to speak in an unproblematic way of the female body. Armour challenges such theorizing by employing the deconstructionist category of différance. Whitefeminists (Armour's term for "mainstream" feminist theologians) have singularly failed to recognize the different ways in which black women experience the female body. As womanist theologians have argued, black women have been more closely identified with the body than white women. In the United States (the focus for Armour's study), black women have been identified with nature, while white women have been identified with culture. And this suggests very different experiences of what it means to be female: for the black woman, it may mean being treated as a "beast of burden"; for the white woman, being treated as "the angel in the house." Just as men are encouraged to reflect upon their own sexual embodiment rather than projecting such features onto women, so white women should be encouraged to grapple with their racial demarcation and what this means, instead of seeing race as an issue only in relation to black women, who are too easily given the mantle of "the other."

Reflection on the body, then, opens up a rich vein for the study of religion. The constructions of "woman," spirituality, race, and even the way in which religion itself is studied must be considered once the significance of the body is accepted. And precisely because it opens up such a plethora of subjects, it is important not to ignore the lived experience of being human that underpins such cultural and intellectual constructions. As Lisa Isherwood and Elizabeth Stuart comment: "What must be guarded against at all costs is the disappearance of the real, lived, laughing, suffering, birthing and dying body underneath the philosophical and theological meaning it is called to bear. It would indeed be foolish to allow 'the body'; to become a disembodied entity" (Isherwood and Stuart, 1998, p. 151).

See Also

Asceticism; Birth; Blood; Bodily Marks; Death; Desire; Ecology and Religion, overview article; Feminine Sacrality; Gender and Religion, overview article; Lesbianism; Masculine Sacrality; Menstruation; Sexuality; Thealogy; Virginity.


The Body in the World's Religions

Collins, Steven. "The Body in Theravāda Buddhist Monasticism." In Religion and the Body, edited by Sarah Coakley, pp. 185204. Cambridge, U.K., 1997.

Dalmiya, Vrinda. "Loving Paradoxes: A Feminist Reclamation of the Goddess Kali." Hypatia 15, no. 1 (2000): 125150.

Doniger, Wendy. "Medical and Mythical Constructions of the Body in Hindu Texts." In Religion and the Body, edited by Sarah Coakley, pp. 167184. Cambridge, U.K., 1997.

Schimmel, Annemarie. "'I Take off the Dress of the Body';: Eros in Sufi Literature and Life." In Religion and the Body, edited by Sarah Coakley, pp. 262288. Cambridge, U.K., 1997.

Williams, Paul. "Some Mahāyāna Buddhist Perspectives on the Body." In Religion and the Body, edited by Sarah Coakley, pp. 205230. Cambridge, U.K., 1997.

Accounts of the Construction of Woman and Sexuality

Blamires, Alcuin, ed. Woman Defamed and Woman Defended: An Anthology of Medieval Texts. Oxford, 1992.

Clack, Beverley. Sex and Death: A Reappraisal of Human Mortality. Cambridge, U.K., 2002.

Douglas, Mary. Purity and Danger: An Analysis of Concepts of Pollution and Taboo (1966). 2d ed. London, 2000.

Foucault, Michel. The History of Sexuality, vol. 1: An Introduction (1976). Translated by Robert Hurley. London, 1990.

Goldenberg, Naomi. "The Divine Masquerade: A Psychoanalytic Theory about the Play of Gender in Religion." In Bodies, Lives, Voices: Gender in Theology, edited by Kathleen O'Grady, Anne L. Gilroy, and Janette Gray, pp. 188208. Sheffield, U.K., 1998.

Joseph, Alison, ed. Through the Devil's Gateway: Women, Religion and Taboo. London, 1990.

Sharma, Arvind, ed. Women in World Religions. Albany, N.Y., 1987.

Smith, Joan. Misogynies. London, 1989.

Body Theology

Eisland, Nancy. The Disabled God: Toward a Liberatory Theology of Disability. Nashville, Tenn., 1994.

Isherwood, Lisa, and Elizabeth Stuart. Introducing Body Theology. Sheffield, U.K., 1998.

Nelson, James. The Intimate Connection: Male Sexuality, Masculine Spirituality. London, 1988.

Nelson, James. Body Theology. Louisville, Ky., 1998.

Women's Spirituality Movement

Christ, Carol, and Judith Plaskow, eds. Womanspirit Rising: A Feminist Reader in Religion. San Francisco, 1979.

Raphael, Melissa. Thealogy and Embodiment: The Post-Patriarchal Reconstruction of Female Sacrality. Sheffield, U.K., 1996.

Starhawk. The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Great Goddess. San Francisco, 1979.

Ecofeminist Theologies

McFague, Sallie. The Body of God: An Ecological Theology. London, 1993.

Plumwood, Val. Feminism and the Mastery of Nature. London, 1993.

Primavesi, Anne. From Apocalypse to Genesis: Ecology, Feminism, and Christianity. Minneapolis, 1991.

Issues of Gender and Difference

Armour, Ellen T. Deconstruction, Feminist Theology, and the Problem of Difference: Subverting the Race/Gender Divide. Chicago, 1999.

Chanter, Tina. Ethics of Eros: Irigaray's Re-Writing of the Philosophers, London. 1995.

Impact on Methodology

Goldenberg, Naomi. Resurrecting the Body: Feminism, Religion, and Psychoanalysis. New York, 1993.

Hollywood, Amy. "Practice, Belief, and Feminist Philosophy of Religion." In Feminist Philosophy of Religion: Critical Readings, edited by Pamela Sue Anderson and Beverley Clack, pp. 225240. London, 2003.

Jantzen, Grace. Becoming Divine: Towards a Feminist Philosophy of Religion. Manchester, U.K., 1998.

Beverley Clack (2005)

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Human Body: Human Bodies, Religion, and Gender

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