Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


This study provides a comparative analysis of the work of Roman Catholic feminist theologian Elizabeth Johnson and that of Jewish feminist theologian Judith Plaskow, who have both sought to reconstruct the Imago Dei (“image of God”) within their respective traditions. By way of this analysis, it makes a methodological and a substantive contribution. Methodologically, it expands on Elizabeth Schüssler-Fiorenza’s feminist critical approach to reading Scripture by relating it to Francis Clooney’s comparative theological approach to reading texts in religious traditions other than one’s own. Although there have been attempts at comparisons of various religious traditions from a feminist perspective, this study seeks explicitly to attend to a feminist reading of biblical texts in a fashion—following Clooney—that makes the very enactment of a comparative reading of two traditions the mode for attending to the disclosure of truth. Substantively, it expands our understanding of the Imago Dei by setting in constructive dialogue Johnson’s practices for understanding God’s incomprehensibility in her rethinking of God as Sophia (as a corrective to a tradition that emphasizes male-oriented ‘doctrines’) and Plaskow’s practices for understanding God’s immanence in her rethinking of God within the context of relationships (as a corrective to a tradition that emphasizes the interpretation of the ‘law’).” Throughout, the dissertation argues that such iii a feminist and comparative approach contributes to a richer and more robust understanding of the biblical theme of the Imago Dei, one that not only expands our understanding of God but also contributes to a more just and humane vision of humanity