With Eyes of Flesh by
Publication Date: 2008-08-01
Carole Fontaine, well known among biblical scholars for her feminist studies in the biblical wisdom traditions and the ancient Near East, is also a human rights and interfaith activist working on issues of violence against Muslim women in the Middle East and Southern Asia and a board member of many agencies such as the International Network for the Rights of Female Victims of Violence in Pakistan, and the Women's Forum against Fundamentalism in Iran. In this collection of her essays, mostly previously unpublished, she brings together these two concerns, distilling from the scriptures of Judaism, Christianity and Islam valuable insights into current questions of human rights. Unlike many writers, Fontaine recognizes the critical role of gender in the fundamental concept of the 'Other', so determinative for our view of humanity. In our days, Fontaine argues, human rights issues have taken on a new dimension in political discourse about war, peace and terror, where often an appeal is made to religious and scriptural justifications for the violation or preservation of rights. Fontaine urges attention to the priority of the sufferer in adjudicating meaning, and turns to the 'little texts' of daily ethics rather than grand theological abstractions in order to place 'scriptures' in meaningful conversation with the concrete realities of our world.