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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Important book, 3 Jun. 2009
This review is from: Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement (Hardcover)
We all know that Christian fundamentalism is patriarchal and, in general, opposed to feminism. However, Kathryn Joyce shows us that this is no mere defensive strategy against the corrosive effects of secularism and modernity. The "patriarchay movement" rather seeks to reclaim America for Christianity, as homemaker mothers produce "quiverfulls" of culture warrior children, and girls and boys learn to take on gender roles (submission and leadership, respectively) with military-like discipline for the greater good.

Joyce explores both the ideological underpinnings of the movement and the human interest side of the story, as she attends various events and meets both with women who belong to the movement, and those who have left it. She avoids writing polemically, but as she unpacks the logic of the movement's ideology, examines the attitudes of its leaders, and - inevitably - recounts some of the undoubtedly abusive and destructive situations that have arisen, a picture emerges that is not attractive. Tellingly, Doug Phillips responded to the book's publication with complaints about Joyce's background and motives, but without any corrective points to make whatsoever.

The book is divided into three sections, dealing with the three roles the movement sees for women - as wives, as mothers, and as daughters. We find that the movement is far from monolithic - some members draw on the Reformed tradition and look to the "theonomy" devised by Rousas Rushdoony, others see the need for women to accept their God-ordained role as a matter of neo-Pentecostal spiritual warfare. We meet men who have a "200 Year Plan" for their families, using Excel spreadsheets to plot thousands of as-yet imagined descendants (this seems to me more like Chinese ancestor-veneration than historic Christianity), and women who understand "submission" to their husbands as a form of liberation, even when they express private disagreement with them. There are also some eccentric characters covered - such as Charles Provan, who also promoted, and then rejected, Holocaust revisionism - and a brief comparative foray into ultra-Orthodox Jewish patriarchy, where brides-to-be take the contraceptive pill to avoid menstruation on the wedding night and not long after are dispensed fertility drugs by rabbis. The patriarchy movement, Joyce explains, has is making global links: particularly in Poland, and even, in some cases, with Muslims - whose higher birth-rates are also often seen as a cause for alarm by Christian conservatives.

Unfortunately, there are no footnotes or bibliography, but the book is obviously very well researched and Joyce shows an easy familiarity with the nuances of the movement. It's both a substantial contribution and a great read
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, 8 July 2014
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Fascinating book especially as someone with no personal connections to the movement, but who is interested in that mindset.
Four stars instead of five, because the information is slightly too dense, though all of it is interesting.
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Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement
Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement by Kathryn Joyce (Hardcover - 31 May 2009)
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