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Presiding Like a Woman: Menstruating at the Altar

Jagger, Sharon (2022) Presiding Like a Woman: Menstruating at the Altar. In: Cocksworth, Ashley, Starr, Rachel and Burns, Stephen, (eds.) From the Shores of Silence. 1st ed. London, SCM (In Press)

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Abstract

Signs and symbols of the eucharist (or communion) hold within them powers of representation that help shape constructions of masculinity and femininity. In this chapter, I draw on my research with women priests in the Church of England to explore the meaning accrued by women's bodies at the altar, particularly when they menstruate. The menstrual taboo remains potent in the ritual context and I examine the implications for ordained women, who are, I argue, liminal entities. I also explore the subversive somatic theological thinking of women priests who attempt to make deep connections between the ritual of the eucharist and their own biology. Using Nicola Slee's work 'Presiding Like a Woman' as a springboard, I identify the institutional and theological resistances to women's bodies at the altar and conclude that until there is radical deconstruction of the priesthood and of Christian signs and symbols, women priests will be framed as differently human.

Item Type: Book Section
Status: In Press
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BR Christianity
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BT Doctrinal Theology
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BV Practical Theology
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BV Practical Theology > BV659-683 Ministry. Clergy. Religious vocations
School/Department: School of Humanities
URI: http://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/5824

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