Book Description, Table of Contents, Book Reviews
Women in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam:
Their Roles, Status, Dignity, and Equality
Monsignor John W. Sweeley, Th.D.
379 pages including notes
If you want to learn why women are "Less Than" in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam,
Women in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam is a book that examines the Roles, Status, Dignity, and Equality of Women in the "Religions of the Book": Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
Part I: Judaism
Women in Judaism addresses: 1) Historical, Classical, and Historic Judaism; 2) Women's Mitzvot, Nerot, Challah, and Niddah; and 3) The role of women in the Synagogue.
This is accomplished by a review of women in the context of Haredi Judaism, Chassidic Judaism, Modern Orthodox Judaism, Conservative Judaism, Reform Judaism, and Reconstructionist Judaism.
Part II: The Jewish Origin of Christianity
This section follows the development of Judaism from the the release of the Hebrews from the Babylonian Exile by Cyrus the Great of Persia, their return to Jerusalem, the building of the Second Temple, why the expected new Davidic Kingdom did not happen, the Jewish Eschatology of a deliver borrowed from Babylonian Zoroastrianism, and the consequent Messianic Judaism that culminated in Jesus as Messiah.
Part III: Women in Christianity
Women in Christianity begins by an examination of the positive acts of Jesus that granted women status and dignity equal with that of men.
Then, the writings of Tertullian and Augustine are reviewed to show how their misogynistic mandates became Christian dogma and doctrine.
Finally, an exegesis is made of how the anti-woman dogmas, doctrines, and faith beliefs of the Roman Catholic Church and Evangelicalism are used to deny women their God given dignity and equality with men especially in the areas of denial of Holy Orders in the Roman Catholic Church as well as the denial of a woman exercising her own moral agency pursuant to her informed conscience by both in the areas of human sexuality and reproduction.
Part IV: Women in Islam
Women in Islam begins with the historical development of Islam and its basic understanding of the differences between men and women. Thereafter two more topics are explored: 1) The impact of Shari'ah (Islamic Law) on the lives of Muslims and 2) A detailed examination of the 10 most egregious ayahas (verses) of the Qur'an and Hadith (sayings) of Muhammad.
1. Command for husbands to beat their wives.
2. Virgins forced to marry.
3. Temporary contractual marriages.
4. Most inhabitants of Hell are women.
5. Women are short of faith and Intelligence.
6. Women inherit 1/2 as much as men.
7. Men belong to a higher order than women.
8. A woman is her husband's slave--his captive.
9. A woman is equated with a donkey and a dog.
10. Women have within them an Evil Omen, crooked characters, and are harmful to men.
Exegesis of the marriage of Aisha to Muhammad places that marriage into its proper context with the other 11 wives of Muhammad.
Part V: Honor Killing
Honor Killing examines the the phenomenon of the justification of honor killing daughters and wives by their male relatives. It also includes a review of honor killing in Pakistan, Europe, and America with an examination of specific cases.
Part VI: Female Genital Mutilation
Female Genital Mutilation is widely practice in parts of Africa, the Middle East, Indonesia and now also in Europe and America by Muslim immigrants.
The religious and cultural mandate for Female Geintial Mutilation is examined as well as why it is virtually impossible to stop.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Women in Judaism
Interlude: The Jewish Origins of Christianity
Women in Christianity
Women in Islam
Female Genital Mutilation
In Women in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam: Their Roles, Status, Dignity and Equality, Dr. Sweeley has created an excellent examination of the roles of women in each of the “religions of the book” in ways both ideal as well as practical. His frank exposition of the roots of modern Christian misogyny is thoughtful yet forceful in its presentation of the theological thinking of Augustine and others—Catholic and Evangelical—who have shaped many of the current institutional attitudes. His insights into Islamic practices both religious as well as religiously inspired cultural ideas reveal the shadow sides of what happens when religion is used to justify cultural deficiencies.
His extensive exegesis and commentary on scripture as well as rabbinical and Qur’anic literature and his evident ease and familiarity with Greek, Hebrew and Arabic mark Dr. Sweeley as a scholar worthy of reading. This book is ideal for scholars, students and enthusiasts of theology and women’s issues.
Most Reverend Michael Adams
Ascension Alliance Community of Ascensionists
Jack Sweeley is a scholar who honestly follows the evidence wherever it may lead. His work, Women in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam: Their Roles, Status, Dignity, and Equality, is thoroughly informative and very well-researched; but it is not, and never could be, a comfortable read. It is challenging, offering stark and perceptive insights into the reality of woman’s place in the economy of male-orientated religious and socio-political systems. It is, too, a courageous work, for it proposes no solutions in respect of its findings; but as it explores its subject with frankness and fairness, realistically highlighting areas both of unworthiness and of promise, it offers positive evaluation and excellent foundations for a much needed reassessment of issues.
I judge this to be an important work for study and reference and recommend its acquisition.
Leon Roger Hunt, Th.D., D.D.
Archbishop, Autocephalous Catholic Church of Antioch
In this book, Monsignor Jack Sweeley has once again proven himself to be one of the best informers of his age. He has no peer in his diligence when delving into old documents, archives, and other sources, to isolate facts from fantasies. This makes you the reader a definite winner because you can rely on the accuracy of the factual material and historically recorded information in this book.
I can only comment further by saying to readers--Lucky You.
Most Rev. Frank Bugge, D.D.
Australian Church of Antioch.
Once again, Monsignor Jack Sweeley has turned his unique research skills to bear on a timely subject. In Women in Judaism, Christianity and Islam, Father Sweeley presents a complete overview of the roles, status, dignity, and equality of women. He exhaustively uses the Historical Critical Method in analysis of these three Faiths of the Book. He looks at the textual ramifications with a view to the methods of interpretation by various factions within each group’s Holy literature. He then also examines the sociological and legal ramifications of the various viewpoints. He frankly discusses Female Sexuality, Adultery, Marriage, Mutilation, Ritual Murder, and the Status of women in Religious settings. He also explores the gamut of the roles of women in religion.
Should one desire to be informed with regard to this area of human relations, I highly recommend this book.
Bishop Bernie O. Finch DC, DD
The Ascension Alliance
An Independent Catholic Jurisdiction
It is a great pleasure to be asked to endorse this latest book of Dr. John W. Sweeley titled, Women in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam: Their Roles, Status, Dignity, and Equality.
As usual, Dr. Sweeley has meticulously researched his position on this topic; proffering a well-researched description of the status of women within these three religions. The book is a powerful and educational narrative that offers the modern men and women insight into the milieu of the history and treatment of women.
The text invites readers to explore and reflect on relevant questions in regard to gender and its roles in their respective religions.
In summary, this book is thought provoking, challenging, and raises important questions. That said, it is a good read for men as well as for women.
Very Rev’d Giles Hall, Dip. Min., E.O.S.F. (Hermit)
I read Monsignor Sweeley’s book, Women in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam: Their Roles, Status, Dignity, and Equality with great interest. As a master of literature, he has done it again and I am in awe of his scholarship. To read the truthful roles, status, dignity, and equality of women in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam has been a fascinating experience.
However, the way many women have been treated in the past makes me sick to my stomach. No doubt the fact that I have probably lived through such situations in past lives makes it more acutely worse for me.
However, the fact is the way some women are still treated today is abhorrent. Yet, it was good to read that more enlightened views are slowly coming into being.
As a woman myself, I found this work to be thought-provoking, delightful, and dreadful--sometimes all at once.
I have female friends in all of these faiths, and found it illuminating to find out more about the ideologies of their religions regarding women.
Monsignora Sandra London, C.P.L.
Australian Church of Antioch
As much as I would like to pull out a few snappy quotes with which to hit a misogynist on the nose, Monsignor Jack Sweeley’s research and scholarly approach in Women in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam: Their Roles, Status, Dignity, and Equality does not allow so simple a weapon or one so easily found. The weapons are there, none the less.
The interpretations male authorities have used for centuries may still cripple many a woman, sadly enough. It is one of the reasons I joined the Independent Catholic Movement and have a fine egalitarian marriage of 35 years.
My informed conscience, despite the Roman Catholic Catechism pounded into me, was truth enough to set me free. Free yourself as well; the sooner, the better.
Reverend Mother Leslie Aguillard, R.N., M. Div.
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