- Teresa Berger, Yale Institute of Sacred Music and Yale Divinity School, USA
- Series : Liturgy, Worship and Society Series
Mapping uncharted territory in the study of liturgy's past, this book offers a history to contemporary questions around gender and liturgical life. Teresa Berger looks at liturgy's past through the lens of gender history, understood as attending not only to the historically prominent binary of "men" and "women" but to all gender identities, including inter-sexed persons, ascetic virgins, eunuchs, and priestly men.
Demonstrating what a gender-attentive inquiry is able to achieve, Berger explores both traditional fundamentals such as liturgical space and eucharistic practice and also new ways of studying the past, for example by asking about the developing link between liturgical presiding and priestly masculinity. Drawing on historical case studies and focusing particularly on the early centuries of Christian worship, this book ultimately aims at the present by lifting a veil on liturgy's past to allow for a richly diverse notion of gender differences as these continue to shape liturgical life.
Contents: Preface; Part I Gendering Liturgy's Past: the Trouble, the Task and the Tools: Gender history in liturgy's past – why not?; From women to gender differences in liturgy's past. Part II Tracing Gender in Liturgy's Past: Sacred spaces and gendered bodies; Eucharistic fragments: gender on and under the table of tradition; Presence at worship: bodily flows as liturgical impediments; Liturgical leadership: gender-troubled. Part III Gender, History, and Liturgical Tradition: The lasting presence of liturgy's past; Bibliography; Indexes.
About the Author: Teresa Berger is Professor of Liturgical Studies at Yale University's Institute of Sacred Music and Yale Divinity School. She holds doctorates in both liturgical studies and in systematic theology; her scholarly interests lie at the intersection of those fields with gender history. Teresa Berger has written extensively on liturgy and gender in the past. Her previous publications include Women's Ways of Worship (1999); Dissident Daughters: Feminist Liturgies in Global Context (2001); Fragments of Real Presence (2005); and a video documentary called Worship in Women's Hands (2007). She has also published monographs on the hymns of Charles Wesley and on the nineteenth-century Anglo-Catholic revival, and co-edited, most recently, the volume The Spirit in Worship-Worship in the Spirit (2009). Professor Berger joined the Yale faculty in 2007, after teaching at Duke Divinity School. She has been a visiting professor at the Universities of Mainz, Münster, Berlin, and Uppsala. An active Roman Catholic, she received the distinguished Herbert Haag Prize for Freedom in the Church in 2003.
Reviews: 'In this challenging and convincing new study, Teresa Berger uses the lens of gender analysis to take a fresh look at the writing of liturgical history. With scholarly insight, she demonstrates how gender has shaped liturgy’s past and continues to influence its celebration today. An indispensable resource for students of Christian worship and gender studies alike.'
Simon Jones, Merton College, Oxford, UK
'In this excellent study Teresa Berger offers a challenging and intriguing correction to the ways in which the study of liturgical history has ignored the reality of gender differences in the shaping of, and the being shaped by, Christian liturgies past and present. From the gendered limitations of sacred spaces, to ignored Eucharistic imagery, to the sacramental impediments of bodily flows, and to gendered-troubled leadership, Berger "lifts the veil" and allows us to see with new eyes and new appreciation what was there all the time in the tradition - a renewed appreciation for the saints. What a great text this will be to use in courses in liturgical history.'
Maxwell Johnson, University of Notre Dame, USA
'The author […] gives a broad and deep analysis of the way gender influenced liturgical practice in the first centuries of Christianity… makes the important step of addressing how the past affects the present, noting contemporary issues, questions and developments.' Magistra
‘Berger has presented a convincing case for re-reading our familiar sources with the veil of gender removed…’ Church Times
'This review can only be an incomplete reflection of a rich and panoramic history… the case histories are compelling and every page is rich in footnote references. The bibliography is extensive. It is a work to be studied at leisure, leaving the reader with an enhanced awareness and a responsibility to pursue future developments.' Women, Word, Spirit
'In lifting a veil on a largely overlooked aspect of the past, Berger shows how gender continues to be of fundamental significance in the evolution of liturgical practice and tradition. Gender attentiveness is rightly becoming a fundamental tool in many areas of inquiry, and Berger’s rigorous methodology and insightful analysis offer a useful template, not only in this area, her most recent research project, but in any exploration of the history of the worshipping community.' Modern Believing
'The key conviction is that gender differences were profoundly significant in the liturgical life and practice of the past, and that the use of gender-analytical tools enables a fresh approach to liturgical history. This succinct and comprehensive review of the development of this field gives way to a survey of the development of gender history and its interpretative strategies.' Journal of Theological Studies
'In this innovative, fascinating, and formidably scholarly book, Berger fruitfully problematizes dominant historiographies of Christian liturgy. This meticulously researched study challenges both the habitual gender oblivion of much modern liturgical scholarship and the earlier feminist methodology with its tendencies of injudicious gender essentialism… This volume is enthusiastically recommended for scholars, graduate students, institutional church hierarchies, and all restless liturgical minds.' Religious Studies Review
'Teresa Berger could easily qualify as the most highly respected feminist scholar of liturgical history… The present volume both opens up little-examined aspects of worship and worship practices to well-informed scrutiny, and illustrates the development of Berger’s own thought in the direction of greater fluidity and inclusiveness… she organizes her presentation clearly and systematically, clarifying theory with telling and colourful examples such that the average educated reader is unlikely to be frightened off.' Questions Liturgiques
'… Gender Differences and the Making of Liturgical History charts a course for future scholarship across historical and theological disciplines… [it] has potential to generate gender attentive readings of liturgy for years to come, making the monograph at hand merely the first course in what promises to become a protracted banquet of liturgical discourse.' Theology and Sexuality
'… Berger, Professor of Liturgical Studies at Yale Divinity School, offers a coherent, well sourced (including a complete scripture index) book written in an engaging style that even those of us (like this reviewer) who are not specialized in the field can understand the scholarly and theological problem she addresses and the argument she makes.'
Catholic Books Review
'This may be a superb book for graduate classes, but it is also a scholar's book for scholars-enticing us to more research and reflection in order to engage with integrity the fundamental liturgical act of "narrating the past".'
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