This course focuses on the role of women in five of the world’s major religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. It examines the traditional theological principles and the practical laws that have directly impacted, for better or for worse, upon the lives of women within these religious traditions. It also explores historical and contemporary challenges to doctrines and practices that are seen to undermine women’s equality and freedom. Key themes include: femininity and divinity; historical founders’ attitudes to women; key scriptural texts and their interpretation; life-cycle rituals; marriage and divorce; sex and procreation; clothing and social freedom; worship and purity; leadership and authority.
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