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The Power of Names in Theology and Society
  • By Caroline N. Mbonu
Product Description
A project of women's advancement in society and church life engages a multi-disciplinary and interdisciplinary approach in its quest for social transformation. In recent decades, governments, particularly in Africa, have employed various political, economic, and other social modi operandi in their attempt to advance women's participation more fully in society. The discussions on these pages seek to contribute to the women's discourse with insights from the theology and culture; more specifically, from name designation. The expression, what is in a name, falls flat on its face in most African cultures as well as the cultures that produced the Bible. In these traditions, a name is not merely a convenient collocation of sounds by which a person could be identified. Rather a name represents a story and can express something of the essence of that which is named. The power inherent in the way names are constructed and interpreted, both in terms of the Handmaid in the New Testament and more directly in the Igbo culture, contribute to the strengthening of patriarchy. Such construal potentially exclude women from full participation in social processes, and in so doing deprive society as a whole of the synergy of human potential. The discussion of Mary as Handmaid centers on the role of women in Catholic theology, so she becomes the vehicle for examining the role of the second-class citizen assigned to women in the Church, then and now. Drawing from textual and oral history, the book reinterprets in a liberative manner female names both from Igbo tradition as well as Chinua Achebe's Anthills of the Savannah. Thus the freight that a name designation carries makes imperative the exploration of its redemptive significance. ""A bold but balanced interpretation of the biblical concept doule or handmaid, lifting it from servility before men to faithful servant-hood to God alone, to community leadership and to comradeship with God in his creative and redemptive work. Mary becomes the Lord's woman servant and co-savior of her people, not necessarily the humble, submissive, voiceless virgin or even merely the almost divinized theotokos of Christian tradition, but rather now a participant with God in saving mankind, a partner in effecting the greatest event in history--the Incarnation."" --Theophilus Okere Whelan Research Academy for Religion, Culture and Society, Owerri, Nigeria ""As a challenge to readers which do not take seriously the contributions of women, this work] is a gift for the entire church, not only because of its fine scriptural exegesis but because it demonstrates how people from oral cultures have a particular insight into reading the Bible. It is destined not only to signal a new Mariology from an African perspective, but one which retells the story of the Maiden of Nazareth whose self gift, far from being passive, marks a vibrant agency worth emulating. Kudos to Mbonu "" --Eduardo C. Fernandez, SJ Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University and the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, California ""In this close reading of the Annunciation scene, Luke 1:26-38, Handmaid Sister Caroline competently challenges two currents that collude to keep the African woman submissive: African patriarchal culture and the popular Catholic image of a voiceless maiden of Nazareth. Mary's self-understanding is that of doule, servant-leader and agent under God of the liberation of God's people, not padiske, passive servant-slave. Caroline beautifully achieves her goal of hermeneutics as gospel that promotes social and religious transformation."" --James Chukwuma Okoye, CSSp Catholic Theological Union, Chicago Caroline Mbonu (PhD, Graduate Theological Union) is a member of the Congregation of the Handmaids of the Holy Child Jesus. She is presently an adjunct professor in the Religious Studies Department at Virginia Commonwealth University. An interdisciplinary scholar, she employs Scripture, African religious traditions, and E

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    Product Specs
    • SKU: 9781608997619
    • Manufacturer: Wipf & Stock Publ
    • Language of Text: English
    • ISBN 13: 9781608997619
    • Publication Date: 09/01/2010
    • Format: Paperback
    • Author: Caroline N. Mbonu
    • Page Count: 156
    • Weight: 0.50 pounds
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