article: fundamentalism, biblical interpretation, feminism, and gay rights at bible and interpretation

David A.J. Richards

David A.J. Richards, the Edwin D. Webb Professor of Law at New York University School of Law

There is an article at Bible and Interpretation entitled, “Against Fundamentalism in Christian Bible Interpretation: The Biblical Case for Feminism and Gay Rights,” that is worth a read. David A. J. Richards, the Edwin D. Webb Professor of Law at New York University argues:

What is astonishing about all the forms of American fundamentalism—new natural law, Protestant fundamentalism, and Mormonism—is that their hostility to feminism and gay rights rests on a reading of ostensibly Christian texts that pays little or no attention to the life and teaching of the historical Jesus.

The article concludes:

What they fail to see is how the alternative anti-patriarchal reading of Christianity I propose clarifies what Jesus thought were the difficulties for us of an ethics of love under patriarchy and why he expressed these difficulties through the command to love even our enemies under the terms of a patriarchal culture that made such love unspeakable, indeed unnatural. The familiar King James version translation of Matt. 5:48 is: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Bible, Matt., 1998, 8). Jesus models our love for one another (including loving even our enemies) on God’s love for us, as relationally responsive and responsible persons and as equals. If so, the deepest impulses within Christianity call for a love only possible for us as equals in responsible relationship, the basis for what is distinctive in contemporary feminism and gay/lesbian rights.

Give it a read.

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