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Beauty has long posed problems for religion. While Christianity has celebrated God's incarnation in human flesh, physical beauty has nevertheless been suspect. Women in particular have been the objects of ecclesiastical suspicion with regard to their bodies and their beauty. They have been kept out of sanctuaries, denounced for their love of colorful clothing, feared as temptresses. Yet beauty has often been understood positively in feminine terms as well, not only by secular artists and philosophers but also by theologians. In this book, Susan A. Ross explores beauty "from the ground up," drawing on women's experiences of both physical beauty and deformity, the wonders of the natural world, clothes shopping, needlework, church hats, house-painting and basket-weaving. In all of these practices, women have shared their love of beauty with their families, churches, and communities, where it has been frequently trivialized as "women's work," or as simple "craft." The works of beauty that women have created over the centuries suggest that traditional aesthetic and theological categories of beauty are not only male-centered, but also falsely divide goodness and beauty. To love beauty is not to be distracted from the good, but to want to share it with the world. Women's practices of beauty show how we need not have to choose between beauty and goodness, bread and roses.
In the 2006 Madeleva Lecture in Spirituality, Boston College theologian Susan A. Ross offers a feminist theological and ethical exploration of women and beauty "from the ground up." Drawing on women's activities as sources of insight into the nature of beauty, and as inspiration for connecting beauty and goodness, Ross presents a unique, compelling, and deeply touching reflection that will nourish, challenge, and inspire anyone interested in theological aesthetics or women's issues - or, indeed, anyone who cherishes the beauty of God's creation.
Buy For the Beauty of the Earth: Women, Sacramentality, And Justice (Madeleva Lecture in Spirituality, 2006) by Susan A. Ross from our Christian Books store - isbn: 9780809144228 & 0809144220
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