Alison Downie

Defense Date


Graduation Date

Spring 2009


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name





McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Committee Chair

Anne Clifford

Committee Member

Maureen O'Brien

Committee Member

Jean Donovan


Rita Nakashima Brock, Elizabeth A. Johnson, feminist theology, soteriology, relational ontology, communities


Rita Nakashima Brock's Journeys by Heart: A Christology of Erotic Power and Elizabeth A. Johnson's Friends of God and Prophets: A Feminist Theological Reading of the Communion of Saints offer resources for reflecting upon what redemptive community is, how it functions, and how women, in particular, experience redemption.

With deep roots in Trinitarian creation theology and a strong trunk of feminist theological anthropology, the branches of Christian feminist reconstructionist theology produce rich soteriological fruits. Without rootedness in creation theology, theological anthropology is anthropocentric, not sufficiently holistic or ecologically aware. Similarly, without development of a feminist theological anthropology, soteriology inevitably reflects the distortions of patriarchal perspectives embedded in anthropological themes intertwined with soteriology, such as the imago dei, sin, and grace.

Rita Nakashima Brock's Journeys by Heart understands both woundedness and healing as relational phenomena. Her interpersonal and process orientation can benefit from dialogue with systematic categories. Her analysis of heart and the relational power of Eros to heal have deep resonance with the systematic theological categories of imago dei and pnuematology. Elizabeth A. Johnson's Friends of God and Prophets reconstructs the symbol of the communion of saints for a contemporary North American faith. In her hands, this symbol functions as an inclusive, relational, dynamic image of redeeming community, offering a Christian symbol and language for a reality not limited to one faith.

Despite the differences between Brock and Johnson, in these particular texts, each of them offer evocative insight and language which can dialogue together in the ongoing task of articulating what the word "redemption" means in the particularities of women's lives and in theological discourse.