Many conservative Christians have held up the modern "nuclear" family as the "normative, Biblical form of the family", even though, Dr. Rosemary Ruether argues, no such family can be found in either testament of the Bible. Christianity, in fact, has had an ambivalent attitude to the family. In her most recent book, Christianity and the Making of the Modern Family (Beacon Press, 2000), Dr. Ruether shows that for 1500 years, Christian leaders saw marriage as inferior to celibacy. The modern family, she says, developed among middle class Victorians in the late 19th century. She discusses how this "normative" view of the family excludes most actual families today and outlines the need for a new family policy for both the church and the state.
Rosemary Radford Ruether PhD
Rosemary Radford Ruether is a Catholic feminist theologian teaching at Garrett Theological Seminary and is a member of the Graduate Faculty of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. She is the author or editor of thirty-five books. Among these are Sexism and God-talk: Toward a Feminist Theology; Woman-Church: Theology and Practice of Feminist Liturgical Communities; Contemporary Catholicism: Crises and Challenges; Gaia and God: An Ecofeminist Theology of Earth Healing; Gender and Redemption: A Theological History. She lectures around the world and holds twelve honorary doctorates, the most recent from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland (1994) and Uppsala, Sweden (2000).