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An Ecofeminist Perspective on Ash Wednesday and Lent

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Sylvia S. Sweeney

An Ecofeminist Perspective on Ash Wednesday and Lent develops a conversation between classical historical Lenten practices and contemporary Christian ecofeminism. Building on David Tracy’s definition of a religious classic, it includes a historical examination of the development of Lent and the Ash Wednesday rites beginning from wellsprings in the early church traditions of penance, catechumenal preparation, and asceticism through medieval and reformation expressions of the rite to their twentieth-century Episcopal iteration in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer. In the discussion of ecofeminism, women’s death experiences and current ecofeminist writings are used to develop an ecofeminist hermeneutic of mortality.