We are deeply saddened to share that Dr. Rosemary Radford Ruether, beloved Pacific School of Religion (PSR) and Graduate Theological Union (GTU) teacher, feminist scholar, author, and activist, passed away on Sunday, May 22nd, 2022 at 85. Ruether was among the founding mothers of feminist theology but advocated for justice for all, including people of color, the poor, oppressed people the world over, and the Earth.
Ruether’s feminist theological work was deeply influenced by her time working with civil rights activists in Mississippi and Washington D.C. where she also taught at the historically Black Howard University School of Religion for 10 years.
A life-long Catholic, Ruether sought to amplify the voices of women throughout Christian history and challenged current Catholic Church teachings around, abortion, contraception, the all-male priesthood, and climate change.
While at PSR Ruether undertook a major research project that informed a significant re-write of her landmark 1983 book, Sexism and God-Talk: A Feminist Theology, reflecting her evolving views. The result, Goddesses and the Divine Feminine: A Western Religious History was published in 2005, her final year in Berkeley.
Ruether also spoke at the very first Center for LGBTQ and Gender Studies in Religion (CLGS) Lavender Lunch in September 2000, just after arriving at PSR, to discuss her newly published book, Christianity and the Making of the Modern Family.
“From the very beginning, PSR students, and especially women, were drawn to Dr. Ruether’s energy and electrified by her groundbreaking work in the field of ecofeminism.” — Bernard Schlager, Ph.D., Executive Director of CLGS
In addition to teaching at PSR and the GTU, where she was a Carpenter Professor of Feminist Theology, Ruether also taught at Howard University, was a visiting Professor of Religion and Feminist Theology at Claremont School of Theology and Claremont Graduate University, and was a Georgia Harkness Professor of Applied Theology at the Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary.
Ruether’s scholarship was immense and wide-ranging. She produced countless articles and dozens of books including, Gaia and God: An Ecofeminist Theology of Earth Healing, Women-Church: Theology and Practice of Feminist Liturgical Communities, Mary: The Feminine Face of the Church and America, Amerikka: Elect Nation and Imperial Violence.
“Dr. Ruether’s courageous voice remains vital in our day. As we grieve her passing, we are grateful for the way she will live on not only for her contributions to scholarship but also for the thousands of lives she touched through teaching and activism — many of them here at PSR.” — PSR president Rev. David Vásquez-Levy
Read more about Dr. Ruether’s life
Rosemary Radford Ruether was a groundbreaking feminist theologian and global sister – National Catholic Reporter