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This book generates a critical framework through which to interrogate the way in which religious feminists have employed women's literature in their texts. This is in order that both the way we read literature and the literature we read might be subject to scrutiny, and that new reading practices be developed. Having both the critical and constructive agenda, this is a book in two parts. The first part locates the study of the use of women's writing by religious feminists in a much wider frame than has previously been attempted. In the past individual religious feminists have been criticised, often publicly and loudly, for the use they have made of particular literary texts. Having critically surveyed previously unacknowledged constraints under which religious feminists read women's literature, the second part of the book explores how the work of women poststructuralist thinkers and theorists can enrich the reading practices. It offers alternative models for an engagement between literature and theology. Julia Kristeva is best known within the academy for her unorthodox application of Lacanian theory to contemporary culture. Her work challenges religious feminists to reassess the utilitarian approaches to literary texts and enquire into whether these might have a more powerful political role when their status as literature is recognised and affirmed. The book elucidates Luce Irigaray's thinking on sexual difference and also demonstrates its significance for feminist religious readers.

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placing it in opposition to the excessive authoritarianism of paternal domination. Her work ascribes a greater transformative potential to literature than we have encountered up till now. It thus challenges religious feminists to reassess our utilitarian approaches to literary texts and enquire into whether these might have a more powerful political role when their status as literature is recognised and affirmed. To assess the significance of Luce Irigaray’s work for feminist religious readers requires us to enter into an alternative conceptual space where language is

in Literature, theology and feminism

Contagious Diseases Acts are the natural fruit of the creed I profess’. She countered their arguments, not by condemning a utilitarian approach to morality as such, but by maintaining that the ‘necessity’ of male sexual satisfaction was no such thing, and that ‘chastity is not opposed to health’. She challenged the utilitarian supporters of the Acts in their own terms. ‘Do you suppose that instinct, irresistibly impelling to vice

in Infidel feminism