Saturday, 20 October 2007

Miroslav Volf on feminism

At yesterday's fabulously stimulating seminar day for the superlative Northern Training Institute (about which more in later posts), I picked up several books from Tim Chester's study and brought a couple back to Cambridge with me (and with his permission, I ought to add!) One of these was Volf's After Our Likeness: the Church as the Image of the Trinity (Eerdmans, 1998).

One of the exciting things about this book is that it is not from an Anglo-American theologian. It is by a Croatian who even as a child was persecuted by his countrymen for his faith. And it is a deep, respectful interaction with the thought of Ratzinger (a leading Catholic theologian, now the pope, of course) and Zizioulas (perhaps the pre-eminent Orthodox theologian) from an intelligent, sensitive 'low church' Protestant perspective. Nice.

Unfortunately it gets off to a bad start in its embrace of certain dogmas of feminist theology. He finds no compelling arguments against women's ordination, whether propounded by Fundamentalist Protestant groups nor those proferred by the teaching office of the Roman Catholic Church (p.2), as if only two groups of opponents or two types of argument existed (his dyad implies that "fundamentalist Protestant groups and RC teaching office" is a merismus). To make that true one would have to grossly distort "fundamentalist" to include most Protestants who hold the Bible in high regard, lumping Peter Leithart with Jerry Falwell (dec.)! Of course, he gives no argumentation on this point...