Rosemary Radford Ruether

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Rosemary Radford Ruether (born November 2, 1936)[1] is an American feminist scholar and Catholic theologian.[2]


Ruether was born in 1936 in St. Paul, Minnesota,[1] to a Roman Catholic mother and Episcopal father. She has reportedly described her upbringing as free-thinking and humanistic as opposed to oppressive.[3] Ruether's father died when she was 12 and afterwards Ruether and her mother moved to California.

She is married to the political scientist Herman Ruether.[1] They have three children and live in California.[4]

Academic activities[edit]

Ruether holds a B.A. in Philosophy from Scripps College (1958), an M.A. in Ancient History (1960) and a Ph.D. in Classics and Patristics (1965) from Claremont Graduate School in Claremont, California.

She currently is Visiting Professor of Feminist Theology at Claremont School of Theology and Claremont Graduate University. Her first appointment was as professor at Howard University in Washington D.C. from 1965 to 1975.[5] She formerly was Carpenter Professor of Feminist Theology at the Pacific School of Religion and Graduate Theological Union, and also taught at the Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary.[6] Ruether is the author of 36 books and over 600 articles on feminism, eco-feminism the Bible and Christianity.[7]

For thirty years, she has been considered a pioneer in the area of feminist theology in North America, with a particular focus in modern feminist theology and liberation theology, especially with respect to Palestinian Arabs combating Israel and to Latin America. She has also been an outspoken critic of war since the Vietnam era and continues this work today.


Ruether describes herself as an "ecofeminist" and has referred to God in the feminine as "Gaia" (however, she noted in July 2008 that a critic "accused me of teaching that ‘God is Gaia,’ a view which I do not take".[8] Ruether is an advocate of women's ordination. In 1984 she was one of 97 theologians and religious persons who signed A Catholic Statement on Pluralism and Abortion, calling for religious pluralism and discussion within the Catholic Church regarding the Church's position on abortion.[9] Since 1985 Ruether has served as a board member for the pro-choice group "Catholics for Choice" (CFC).

In 2005 Ruether presented to an audience at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles her view that "Christianity is riddled by hierarchy and patriarchy" and that this created a social order in which chaste women on their wedding night were "in effect, raped by young husbands whose previous sexual experience came from exploitative relationships with servant women and prostitutes." According to Ruether "modern societies have sought to change this situation, allowing women education, legal autonomy, paid employment and personal freedom. But the sexual morality of traditional puritanical patriarchal Christianity has never been adequately rethought." [10]

She is a signatory to the 2004 9/11 Truth Statement, which called for a "Deeper Investigation into the Events of 9/11".[11] In 2012 she joined an international group of Catholic Scholars who, in their Jubilee Declaration, demanded reform of authority in the Catholic Church.[12]

Selected writings[edit]

  • The Church Against Itself, New York, 1967, Herder and Herder.
  • Gregory of Nazianzus. Oxford: 1969, Oxford University Press.
  • Faith and fratricide: the theological roots of anti-Semitism. New York 1974, Seabury Press, ISBN 978-0-8164-2263-0.
  • Sexism and God-Talk: Toward a Feminist Theology, Beacon Press (1993) ISBN 0-8070-1205-X
  • Gaia and God: An Ecofeminist Theology of Earth Healing, Harper-Collins (1994) ISBN 978-0-06-066967-6, ASIN 0-06-066967-5
  • In Our Own Voices: Four Centuries of American Women’s Religious Writing (ed. with Rosemary Skinner Keller), Harper-Collins (1996) ISBN 0-06-066840-7
  • Introducing Redemption in Christian Feminism (editor), Continuum (1998) ISBN 1-85075-888-3
  • The Wrath of Jonah: The Crisis of Religious Nationalism in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Augsburg Fortress (2002) ISBN 0-8006-3479-9
  • Integrating Ecofeminism Globalization and World Religions", Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. (2005) ISBN 0-7425-3529-0
  • Goddesses and the Divine Feminine: A Western Religious History, Berkeley and Los Angeles, 2005, University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-23146-5
  • America, Amerikkka: Elect Nation & Imperial Violence, Equinox (2007) ISBN 1-84553-158-2
  • Courage as a Christian Virtue in Cross Currents, Spring 1983, 8-16


  1. ^ a b c "Rosemary Radford Ruether". Contemporary Authors Online. Detroit: Gale. 2001. Retrieved 10 June 2013. 
  2. ^ Good Catholic Girls, p. 243
  3. ^ 'People' section of website of Boston University
  4. ^ Website of Claremont School of Theology
  5. ^ LaRosa, Patricia. "Finding Aid for Rosemary Radford Ruether Papers, 1954-2002". Retrieved 15 March 2013. 
  6. ^ Website of Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary
  7. ^ LaRosa, Patrician. "Finding Aid for Rosemary Radford Ruther papers". Retrieved 15 March 2013. 
  8. ^ Website of the National Catholic Reporter
  9. ^ Keller, Rosemary Skinner; Ruether, Rosemary Radford; Cantlon, Marie (2006). Encyclopedia of women and religion in North America 3. Indiana University Press. pp. 1104–1106. ISBN 0-253-34688-6. 
  10. ^ Radford, Rosemary Ruether. Conscience magazine, Jun 22, 2003, Sexual Illiteracy [1]
  11. ^ Website of the 911 Truth Movement
  12. ^ "Rosemary Ruether". 

External links[edit]