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feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

January-05-10

Feminist Theologian Mary Daly Dies

Radical lesbian feminist theologian Mary Daly died at age 81 on January 3rd. Daly is also known as a philosopher and academic who taught at Boston College for 33 years. She held separate doctorate degrees in English, philosophy, and religion and was widely published. Her books include The Church and the Second Sex, Beyond God the Father: Toward a Philosophy of Women's Liberation, and Pure Lust: Elemental Feminist Philosophy.

Daly's tenure at Boston College was tumultuous at times. Publication of her book The Church and the Second Sex in 1968 caused the college to briefly fire her from her position, but according the the National Catholic Reporter, she was eventually granted tenure "as a result of support from the (then all-male) student body and the general public." Daly also agreed to retire after a 1998 lawsuit with the college after she refused to let two male students into one of her classes.

According to Mary E. Hunt, co-founder and co-director of the Women's Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual (WATER), announced Daly's death in a bulletin from the Feminist Studies in Religion bulletin and said, "Her contributions to feminist theology, philosophy, and theory were many, unique, and if I may say so, world-changing. She created intellectual space; she set the bar high. Even those who disagreed with her are in her debt for the challenges she offered...She always advised women to throw our lives as far as they would go. I can say without fear of exaggeration that she lived that way herself."

According to the National Catholic Reporter, Daly once wrote, "There are and will be those who think I have gone overboard. Let them rest assured that this assessment is correct, probably beyond their wildest imagination, and that I will continue to do so."

Media Resources: Feminist Studies in Religion Bulletin 1/3/10; National Catholic Reporter 1/4/10; Boston College 2/15/01; Who2 Profile of Mary Daly


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