Questions, Insights, & Responses

shared from and with users

Q&A #131 - Resources on "patriarchy"

by Robert Nguyen Cramer

This BibleTexts website administrator has very much enjoyed questions and insights that have been emailed to him ever since this site was launched in September of 1996. On this page I share with BibleTexts browsers a few of the questions, insights, and responses, so that we all can further learn from and with each other.





Patriarchy is in the news these days. There is also an enormous body of scholarly research on patriarchy. What we really need is a feminist Galileo -- someone who can show that patriarchy is not part of "the natural order of things" and is, in fact, a damaging aberration that inhibits human development. Some names come to mind -- for example, real scholars such as Catharine MacKinnon, Max Dashu, Claudio Naranjo, Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza, Jo Freeman, and Jo Ann McNamara.

Do you know about a good, recent summary paper or short book that could be used as a "primer" by a 61-year old male trying to get his feet wet on the subject of patriarchy? Do any names of male scholars come to mind?...



Here are a few additions to your list of women scholars who could definitely contribute to a dialog on patriarchy:

Jane Schaberg, Carol L Meyers, Pheme Perkins, Elaine Pagels, Toni Craven, Carla Ricci, Beverly Mayne Kienzle, Pamela J Walker, Karen L King, and Ross Shepard Kraemer.

Of course there are many, many more who belong on that list. A much larger list can be put together from the "Contributors" and/or "Bibliography" sections of such works as (1) Carol Newsom and Sharon Ringe's Women's Bible Commentary, (2) Beverly Kienzle and Pamela Walker's Women Preachers and Prophets through Two Millennia of Christianity, (3) Carol Meyers' Women in Scripture, and other works.

Bart Ehrman's recently revised book, The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings, Third Edition, provides an excellent, short summary in his chapter on "From Paul's Female Colleagues to the Pastor's Intimidated women: The Oppression of Women in Early Christianity" (pages 395-407). For a more comprehensive treatment of Christian women's struggle with patriarchy, the best may still be Elizabeth Schussler Fiorenza's In Memory of Her: A Feminist Theological Reconstruction of Christian Origins. Of course, there are many other good works on the subject, some of which are listed at

See also Katharine C. Bushnell's 1930 groundbreaking (but largely ignored) God's Word to Women (originally Oakland, CA: Katharine Bushnell, Publisher, 1930; currently NY: Christians for Biblical Equality, 2003). A very interesting but brief biography of Bushnell is available at Her thesis regarding head coverings in 1Co 11:2-16 has been recently rearticulated by William P. Welty at

Hopefully this provides some food for thought.


Copyright 1996-2004 Robert Nguyen Cramer