Fortress Press

Crossing the Divide: Luther, Feminism, and the Cross

Crossing the Divide

Luther, Feminism, and the Cross

Deanna A. Thompson (Author)


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Over the last two decades, traditional formulations of the idea of atonement have come under heavy attack from feminist theologians and others. They argue that the traditional view valorizes suffering and encourages people to acquiesce in needless self-sacrificing, that it is unseemly to think of God as demanding suffering of his son, and that the theology of the cross needs to be rethought in light of the whole life, ministry, and resurrection of Jesus.

Equally committed to the insights of the theology of the cross and feminist theology, Deanna Thompson takes up these contentious issues here in a creative and nuanced way. Her work emerges from direct engagement with Martin Luther and the Heidelberg Disputation as well as with the architects of reformist feminism. She finds surprising common ground on issues of suffering, abuse, atonement, reform, ethics, and the import of Jesus, and her book culminates in a constructive and promising feminist theology of the cross.
  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • ISBN 9780800636388
  • Format Paperback
  • Dimensions 5.5 x 8.5
  • Pages 200
  • Publication Date May 12, 2004


"Combining the best of Luther scholoarship with engaged folksy wisdom, Deanna Thompson takes us to the heart of Martin Luther's theology — the cross — where we discover, surprisingly, a savior who speaks powerfully to women today. Crafted by a theologian whose sharpness of mind is matched by the eloquence of her pen, the effect is stunning"
— Serene Jones, Yale Divinity School

"Deanna Thompson's book is a valuable contribution to the growing literature of dialogue between Luther's theologia crucis and Christian feminism. Though entirely sympathetic with feminist critiques of much cross-centered theology and piety, the author feels that feminists can find in the Luther who opposes all triumphalist religion an unexpected ally."
— Douglas John Hall, C.M., Emeritus, McGill University, Montreal

Table of Contents



  1. Claiming the Cross

  2. The Stirring of Luther's Theological Imagination
    New Language for a New Vision
    Stepping Out as a Theologian of the Cross
  3. The Walls Come Tumbling Down

  4. Sounding the Trumpets
    A Political Theology of the Cross?
    Freedom, Bondage, and the Will
  5. Down to the Very Depths

  6. Christ Is Really Here
    Defense and Disobedience
    Promising Christ

  7. Feminists Interrogate Luther

  8. Feminist Reform and Revolt
    Interrogating Sin
    Interrogating the Male Savior
    Interrogating Atonement
  9. On Becoming a Feminist Theologian of the Cross

  10. Describing the Human Condition
    Calling Victims and Oppressors What They Are
    Embodying Christ: Friendships as Christian Vocation