Letty Russell, liberationist and churchwoman

A pioneer feminist theologian
Letty Mandeville Russell is being remembered as a gifted scholar and teacher, and as a pioneer in what many call the first generation of feminist theologians.

Delivering the annual Paul Tillich lecture at Harvard University in May 2006, a little more than a year before her death July 12, Russell told her audience that the role of the church is “to overcome the fear of difference and to break the bars that keep us apart.”

Russell, 77, who died at her home in Guilford, Connecticut, “pioneered feminist theology not only in theology and ethics but also in biblical studies,” said Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, a German theologian at Harvard Divinity School.

“Letty was not only a great liberation theologian but also a great churchwoman,” said Schüssler Fiorenza. “She knew how to utilize the resources of church and university for nurturing a feminist movement around the world.”

 

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