Friendship, Faith and Feminism
How Ursula King taught me all I really need to know about being a good theologian
Tina Beattie weaves together a personal account of her own intellectual development during her years of being a student and close friend of Ursula King, with a celebration of Ursulaâ€™s scholarship, life and example, and with a searching exploration of their different approaches to questions of gender, spirituality and postmodernity. Tina positions Ursula as one of the last generation of great European Catholic intellectuals, but also as a pioneer in new approaches to the study of religions and in the fields of feminist theology and gender studies. She considers her wide-ranging interests in spirituality and feminist theology, comparative studies of religion, the life and works of Teilhard de Chardin, the study of Hinduism, and the relationship between science and religion. She describes how she first met Ursula when she was a mature student at the University of Bristol, and how her own intellectual development began to diverge from Ursulaâ€™s early influence by way of the â€˜linguistic turnâ€™ and a shift to deconstructive and psychoanalytic approaches to language and knowledge. She compares Ursulaâ€™s optimistic and progressive account of postmodernity with her own darker and more sceptical approach, observing that these differences represent fundamental issues across the terrain of postmodern scholarship. Situating herself as a postmodern theologian intrigued by the subterranean effects of desire on human knowing and acting, and Ursula as a thinker who exemplifies the progressive vision of liberal modernity in her optimistic account of the potential of postmodernity, she offers both a loving tribute to a cherished friend and mentor, and a searching critique of contemporary intellectual life and its discontents.