In the middle of this issue, Patricia Monaghan's poem, "The Phenomenology of Angels," speaks "in a different voice" about fleeting visions that linger in portrait-like memories that cannot capture the moment, about the luminous power of freedom and desire, and about remembrance and forgetting. The poem does not summarize so much as evoke the many interacting temporal themes in this eclectic issue. Feminist pasts, presents, and futures are (re)constructed and (re)imagined as multiple wo/men's histories and agencies are named, examined, nuanced, and championed. The issue begins with Sherin Wing's "Gendering Buddhism: The Miaoshan Legend Reconsidered." Placing the twelfth-century Chinese Buddhist legend of Miaoshan at the center of her analysis, Wing demonstrates how scholarly practices and contexts as well as presuppositions about women and gender play a role not only in the interpretation of the text but also in the reification of the place of the text in Buddhist studies and its relationship to "women's Buddhism." She thus challenges both traditional interpretations of the text as well as the androcentric and Eurocentric framing of the field of Buddhist studies and the larger discourses on gender in studies on China. She proposes that "integrating Buddhology with cultural and feminist critiques can re-position women integrally to a new historical reading of Chinese Buddhism, rather than partitioning women into a specialized analytical taxonomy" (31-32). In her article, "In the Footsteps of the Buddha? Women and the Bodhisatta Path in Theravāda Buddhism," Naomi Appleton turns our attention from the way scholarly regimes produce knowledge about the past to the way the past has lingering effects in the present. She explores the origins of the doctrine that excludes women from the bodhisatta path, arguing "despite the secondary position of the bodhisatta path in Theravāda Buddhism, the exclusion of women from it has had a serious impact on the aspirations of Buddhist women in South and Southeast Asia through to the present day" (35). Examining the bodhisatta path in the Theravāda tradition, Appleton identifies the process by which the jātaka genre develops and suggests that "the fact that the Bodhisatta always happens to be male in his jātaka stories led to the understanding that any bodhisatta must always be male" (41). However, this view emerged in a context where gender was seen as stable, and the general absence of stories about sex change suggests that gender is not seen as soteriologically relevant. Appleton concludes that the "severely restricted position that the Theravāda scholastic tradition ascribes to women" is only one of the possible interpretations of these texts. Other possibilities can be seen in the nuns in the Therīgāthā and Therīapadāna, where one can identify "a more egalitarian attitude, albeit one that existed alongside androcentric and misogynist views" (51). Contemporary Buddhist women, she says, can make their own interpretations of these sources. Women's agency and its relationship to reading and religious tradition is the central focus of Elite Ben-Yosef's "Literacy and Power: The Shiyour as a Site of Subordination and Empowerment for Chabad Women." Examining the discourses and practices of shiyour ("lesson" in Hebrew), a weekly educational gathering of Jewish women of the Orthodox Chabad community, Ben-Yosef analyzes how shiyour reinforces group identity and traditional gender hierarchy. However, Ben-Yosef also finds that "as the women accept their limited access to vernacular literacy as well as their concomitant subordinate position to males within their community, some manage to use this same literacy to create a new, 'third space' within which they assume agency and attain status and power of their own" (55). For Ben-Yosef, a strong dichotomy between agent and victim cannot account for the activities of Jewish Orthodox women. Although "men may define the outer boundaries of the community; dictate its grand ideology, rules, and procedures; and restrict women's power and access to specific literacies . . . women manage to use the literacy allowed them to transcend the limits set upon them by the patriarchy and construct a secondary, text-based ideology within which they make choices as to their behaviors" (73). The tendency to occlude women's agency—even feminist agencies—is of interest to Melissa Snarr, whose article, "Women's Working Poverty: Feminist and Religious Alliances in the Living Wage Movement," analyzes the important role of women's activism and religious and feminist organizations in the living wage movement. Snarr's work both documents the significant contribution of feminist organizations and activists in this movement and theorizes from it on the socio-political challenges facing feminist organizing. Discussing the "disproportionate presence of women organizers in the movement (particularly in religious circles)" (76), Snarr sees some parallels to the feminization of working poverty in the feminization of organizing. "The lack of structural support—health care, child care, retirement, and so on—for these women demands 'sacrifices' for organizing low-wage workers. Moreover, this lack of structural support for women in organizing (many of whom see this as their 'ministry') both forecloses opportunities for vocational development and burns women out at crucial times in their career" (76). Calling for theo-ethical reflection on sacrifice for the cause, Snarr calls for new approaches to feminist funding, religious and non-profit institutional relationships for sustaining organizers, and models for developing activists' long-term vocational agency. Recognizing, building, and sustaining feminist work over time are central themes of the roundtable discussion entitled, "Celebrating Feminist Work by Knowing It." The lead-in piece, by Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, reflects on the occasion of the ninetieth birthday of Catharina Halkes to analyze the celebration of feminist birthdays as a public political action and investment in the future. "While memorials are important," she argues, "birthday celebrations are even more so, . . . because birthdays of feminists are milestones not only in the life of the wo/man whose birthday we celebrate but also for the feminist movement she has shaped. Celebrations like this are necessary to show that the feminist struggle for justice and well-being is still alive and ongoing" (97). Approaching feminist birthdays structurally rather than individualistically, Schüssler Fiorenza identifies several challenges to the invention and maintenance of a feminist intellectual tradition and proposes four of their contributions: (1) crediting feminist the*logical ideas and intellectual contributions to keep them from being forgotten or co-opted; (2) facilitating cross-generational links without perpetuating the problematics around the framework of "motherhood"; (3) highlighting the tenuous institutional standing of feminist studies in religion and raising for reflection the place of feminist work in relationship to academic disciplines and religious institutions; and (4) sending a message of public respect for wo/men's scholarly contributions to counter the "great man syndrome" so prevalent in academy and society. Schüssler Fiorenza challenges feminists to think of the celebration of a whole range of feminist birthdays as "revolutionary public acts" (105). The diversity of the roundtable responses attests to the multifaceted nature of this deceptively simple topic. Marguerite Rigoglioso unfolds a vision of the psychospiritual space and practices—relational and scholarly—in which feminists might be the change we want to see. Nancy Pineda-Madrid enacts birthday celebrations of the Mirabel sisters, Adelina "Nina" Otero Warren, and Lola Rodríguez de Tió as part of a revolutionary historiography that restores these Latina foremothers to feminist history. Maaike de Haardt, one of the organizers of the Halkes celebration, reflects on the current institutional challenges of building a feminist intellectual tradition as well as the changed landscape of feminist locations in relation to religion in Europe. Aysha Hidayatullah traces the burgeoning field of Muslim feminist theology and its current challenge to move forward while recognizing and honoring its pathbreaking scholars. Finally, Nami Kim explores the filiative and affiliative aspects of feminist relationships and explores how "birthdays can bring feminists together transgenerationally, transracially, and transnationally beyond the confines of identity politics without necessarily undermining or overstressing the particularity of feminist lifework that is uplifted as part of a feminist history of struggle" (124). To start such a process, JFSR invites young feminists to team up with pathmaker scholars for discussing their life and work or to team up with pathmaker activists to do "oral history" in order to document their work. This issue of JFSR ends where we began this introduction, with poetic and analytical reflections on fleeting time, and the interrelations of past, present, and future. In Cutting Edges, pathmaker Goddess feminist scholar Carol P. Christ looks back to Valerie Saiving's challenge that "our inability to accept death as a part of life is rooted in the notion that the enduring self is the primary locus of value" (132). The essay, entitled, "The Last Dualism: Life and Death in Goddess Feminist Thealogy," explores this notion of the enduring self as a legacy of patriarchal thinking and shares the author's reflections on symbols of life and death, death rituals, and rituals of giving and receiving in ancient and contemporary Crete. Self-involved and egocentric modern culture cannot easily affirm a notion of death as providing space for other life. In conclusion, Christ proposes that "celebrating ancestor connection and remembering the language of the Goddess can help us overcome the dualism of life and death" (132). We thank these scholars for their rich and varied contributions to this issue, all of which—with their critical attention to the past and future—point to the challenges for enacting the feminist here and now.
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