Judith Plaskow is professor emerita of religious studies at Manhattan College and a Jewish feminist theologian. Plaskow received her B.A. from Clark University in 1968 and her Ph.D. from Yale in 1975. Her doctoral thesis was published as Sex, Sin, and Grace: Women’s Experience and the Theologies of Reinhold Niebuhr and Paul Tillich. She was co-chair of the fledgling Women and Religion Group of the American Academy of Religion from 1972–1974 and a member of its steering committee once it became formalized as the Women and Religion Section. Plaskow was a co-founder of the Jewish feminist group B’not Esh in 1981. She also co-founded the Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion with Elisabeth Schussler-Fiorenza, served as co-editor from 1983–1994, and is currently co-editor with Traci West.
In 1969 Plaskow married Robert Goldenberg, a rabbinics scholar. They had a son, Alexander Goldenberg, born in 1977. Plaskow came out as a lesbian and subsequently separated from Goldenberg in 1984. In 1986 Plaskow and Martha Ackelsberg, a government professor at Smith College, celebrated a commitment ceremony.
In 1979 Plaskow and Carol Christ co-edited the ground-breaking Womanspirit Rising: A Feminist Reader in Religion. Over the years this classic anthology of feminist spirituality had a wide-ranging impact on many thinkers and writers. The rapid rise and development of feminist thinking in many religious traditions led Plaskow and Christ to follow this up with Weaving the Visions: New Patterns in Feminist Spirituality in 1989. Plaskow’s seminal 1990 book, Standing Again at Sinai: Judaism from a Feminist Perspective (1990) brought twenty years of critical feminist theological reflection to the task of rethinking Judaism. In addition to these books, Plaskow published a wide range of articles in a variety of journals of theology and Jewish thinking, including a number of articles on LGBT issues. Some of these are collected in The Coming of Lilith: Essays on Feminism, Judaism, and Sexual Ethics, 1972-2003.
A long-time and highly-respected member of the American Academy of Religion, Plaskow served two terms as Associate Director (1992–1994 and 1998–1999) and in the Presidential line from 1996-2000. Dr. Plaskow has received Doctor of Humane Letters degrees from Hebrew Union College (New York campus) and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. A new book by Plaskow and Carol P. Christ, Goddess and God in the World: Conversations in Embodied Theology, is forthcoming from Fortress Press.
(This biographical statement provided by Judith Plaskow from work by Rachel Adler.)
Biography Date: February, 2015
Jewish | Author/editor | Feminism | Theology | Women and Religion