The culmination of a lifetime’s scholarly work, this pioneering study by Sister Prudence Allen traces the concept of woman in relation to man in Western thought from ancient times to the present. In her third and final volume Allen covers the years 1500–2015, continuing her chronological approach to individual authors and also offering systematic arguments to defend certain philosophical positions over against others.
Building on her work from Volumes I and II, Allen draws on four “communities of discourse”—Academic, Humanist, Religious, and Satirical—as she traces several recurring strands of sex and gender identity from the Renaissance to the present. Now complete, Allen’s magisterial study is a valuable resource for scholars and students in the fields of women’s studies, philosophy, history, theology, literary studies, and political science.
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This book is a gift to the twenty-first century, given how much confusion remains over the meaning and value of being a woman! Nowhere else can a reader find a more thorough or intellectually rigorous examination of the concept of woman, in a text seamlessly integrating philosophy, theology, and culture.
—Helen M. Alvaré, George Mason University
A masterful culmination of Sister Prudence Allen’s groundbreaking study of the concept of woman in the history of Western philosophy. This final volume is a rich, multi-layered work that explores the increasingly contentious issues of sex and gender from a wide range of illuminating perspectives. Allen continues to reward readers with the fruits of her painstaking research and insightful analysis, painting a sweeping, vivid picture of the currents and crosscurrents of arguments made by the most important (yet often unheralded) philosophers writing after 1500.
—Elizabeth R. Schiltz, University of St. Thomas School of Law
With this final piece of her magnificent three-volume work, Sr. Prudence Allen has bequeathed a masterpiece of fine historical research and deft philosophical reasoning which is both timely and timeless. Destined to be a classic in philosophical anthropology, sexual ethics, and gender studies, The Concept of Woman III is essential reading for those who wish to make their way through the crazed maze of gender politics today with the help of a solid philosophical articulation of the differences and complementarity of the sexes. Future generations will join me in praising this monumental work.
—Michele M. Schumacher, University of Fribourg
An excellent, dispassionate study of how human beings have thought about women over the centuries. Sister Prudence Allen is to be congratulated for making a serious contribution to our reflections on the concept of woman.
—Fr. Francis Martin, Dominican House of Studies, Washington, DC