Feminist Theology 27 (2):126-140 (2019)

The Spiral Staircase, Karen Armstrong’s self-narrative, shows the limitations of theological or religious reflections within a specific religious community. Leaving the Sisters of Charity for a tumultuous academic life, historian of religion Karen Armstrong lives a wrenching ontological dislocation that originates in her undiagnosed epilepsy and negative body experiences. Using semiotician Algirdas Greimas’s ‘Semiotic Square’ as an interpretive strategy, the unresolved tensions and contradictions exposed in the deep narrative structure of this non-traditional conversion memoir are resolved by ‘compassion’ at the manifest level. Armstrong’s experiences, both in and out of the convent, will inform her academic study and lead her to compassionate solidarity with the marginalized. Armstrong’s memoir reveals various internal and external forces that shape an individual woman’s way of being in the world, and that inform her investigation of multiple faith practices and beliefs. In a time of mass refugee migration and ‘homelessness’, the one woman, the one ‘other’, matters in how one thinks about the body and about God.
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DOI 10.1177/0966735018814677
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References found in this work BETA

What is a Woman?: And Other Essays.Toril Moi - 1999 - Oxford University Press.
On Female Body Experience: "Throwing Like a Girl" and Other Essays.Iris Marion Young - 1990 - International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics 1 (1):178-181.

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