Melissa Raphael

in The Oxford Handbook of Religion and Emotion

Published in print December 2007 | ISBN: 9780195170214
Published online September 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780199892150 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology


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Social class or ethnicity in a given religion, as much as gender, can be the factor which inhibits or permits the release of religious emotion. Accordingly, whether or not women and men's emotional expression is either esteemed or denigrated by their religious communities is multiply determined. This essay argues that male-dominated religions tend to regulate, transcend, and thereby “masculinize” emotion by its accommodation in the sublime: in the narrative, ritual, dogmatic, and ethical scheme articulated by, and primarily for, men. Where emotion cannot be thus accommodated, male religious discourse often reduces “natural,”, “private” emotion to a function of sexual desire. This essay also discusses subversion, power, and female religious emotion. It concludes with a brief account of the religious feminist reclamation of the spiritually and politically transformative power of religious emotion.

Keywords: gender; women; men; religious emotion; sexual desire; subversion; power

Article.  8933 words. 

Subjects: Sociology of Religion ; Religious Studies

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