Grace Jantzen grew up in a Mennonite church in Waldheim, Saskatchewan (either the Mennonite Brethren church or the General Conference church), but she left the Mennonite church and spent most of her career as a feminist philosopher of religion at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom. As I write at the conclusion of my update to the GAMEO entry on philosophy, and as I argue in my dissertation “Ontologies of Violence,” Jantzen is an important but neglected voice in Mennonite-adjacent philosophical and political theology, both because her work is expressly concerned with the problem of violence and because she sympathizes with the Anabaptist peace witness. Strangely, the reception of Jantzen’s work by Mennonites has been very limited, and so in the interests of furthering the reach of her work I provide the bibliography below.
This bibliography builds upon the one included in the edited volume, Grace Jantzen: Redeeming the Present, and also includes a developing list of secondary sources. When I have been able to find them, I have included links to Jantzen’s publications so that interested readers can access them. If readers of Anabaptist Historians are aware of other scholarly works by Mennonites that engage with Jantzen’s work please let me know by email or through the comments section.
[published as Grace Dyck] “Omnipresence and Incorporeality,” Religious Studies 13.1 (1977): 85-91.
“On Worshipping an Embodied God,” Canadian Journal of Philosophy 8.3 (1978): 511-9.
“Hume on Miracles, History and Apologetics,” Christian Scholar’s Review 8.4 (1979): 318–25.
“Incarnation and Epistemology,” Theology 83.693 (1980): 170-77.
“Human Diversity and Salvation in Christ,” Religious Studies 20.4 (1983): 579-92.
“Do We Need Immortality?” Modern Theology 1.1 (1984): 33-44.
God’s World, God’s Body (Philadelphia, PA: Westminster Press, 1984).
“Human Autonomy in the Body of God,” in Alistair Kee and Eugene Long (Eds.), Being and Truth: Essays in Honour of John Macquarrie (London: SCM, 1986), 183-91.
“Conspicuous Sanctity and Religious Belief,” in W. Abraham and S. Holtzer (Eds.), The Rationality of Religious Belief: Essays in Honour of Basil Mitchell (Oxford: Blackwell, 1986), 121-40.
Julian of Norwich. Mystic and Theologian (London: SPCK; New York: Paulist; 1987, 2nd Ed. London: SPCK, 2000).
“Reply to Taliaferro” [on God’s World, God’s Body] Modern Theology 3.2 (1987): 189-192.
“Epistemology, Religious Experience, and Religious Belief,” Modern Theology, vol. 3, no. 4 (1987): 277–92.
“Review Article: Recent Writing in Spirituality,” Theology 99.743 (1988): 405-411.
“Mysticism and Experience,” Religious Studies 25.3 (1989): 295-316.
“Where Two are to Become One: Mysticism and Monism” Royal Institute of Philosophy Lectures 25 (1989): 147-66.
“The Language of Desire,” The Way (1990): 26-36.
“Could there be a Mystical Core to Religion?” Religious Studies 26 (1990): 59-71.
“Connection or Competition: Personhood and Identity in Feminist Ethics,” Studies in Christian Ethics 5.1 (1992): 1-20.
“The Legacy of Evelyn Underhill,” Feminist Theology 4 (September 1993): 79-100.
“Ethics and Energy,” Studies in Christian Ethics 7.1 (1994): 17-31.
“Feminists, Philosophers and Mystics,” Hypatia 9.4 (1994): 186-206.
Power, Gender and Christian Mysticism (Cambridge University Press, 1995).
“Healing our Brokenness: The Spirit and Creation,” in Mary Heather MacKinnon and Moni McIntyre (Eds.), Readings in Ecology and Feminist Theology (Kansas City: Sheed and Ward, 1995).
“Feminism and Flourishing: Gender and Metaphor in Theology,” Feminist Theology 10 (1995): 81-101.
“Sources of Religious Knowledge,” Literature and Theology 10.2 (1996): 91-111.
“The Gendered Politics of Flourishing and Salvation” in V. Brümmer and M. Sarot (Eds.), Happiness, Well-Being and The Meaning of Life (Kampen: Kok Pharos, 1996).
“What’s the Difference? Knowledge and Gender in (Post) Modern Philosophy of Religion,” Religious Studies 32 (1996): 431-48.
“Religion, Feminism and the Family,” in Hugh Pyper (Ed.), The Christian Family: A Concept in Crisis (Norwich: Canterbury Press, 1996), 63-84.
“Feminism and Pantheism,” The Monist 80.2 (1997): 266-85.
“Power, Gender and Ecstasy: Mysticism in Post/Modernity,” Literature and Theology 11.4 (1997): 385-402.
“Devenir Divin(e)s: La Raison, et les Buts d’une Philosophie Feministe de la Religion,” in Elisabeth Hartlieb and Charlotte Methuen (Eds.), Sources and Resources of Feminist Theologies (Kampen: Matthias-Grünewald Verlag, 1997), 96-125.
“Equal to Whom? Luce Irigaray,” in Graham Ward (Ed.) The Postmodern God (Oxford, Blackwell, 1997), 198-214.
“Disrupting the Sacred: Religion and Gender in the City,” in Kathleen O’Grady, Ann L. Gilroy, and Jeanette Gray (Eds.), Bodies, Lives, Voices: Gender in Theology (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1998), 72–92.
Becoming Divine: Towards a Feminist Philosophy of Religion (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1998).
“Necrophilia and Natality: What does it mean to be religious?” The Scottish Journal of Religious Studies 19.1 (1998): 101-21.
“Reflections on the Looking Glass: Religion, Culture and Gender in the Academy,” John Rylands Bulletin 80.3 (1998): 273-94.
“Nativity and Natality,” in George J. Brooke (Ed.), The Birth of Jesus: Biblical and Theological Reflections (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 2000), 111-121.
“Canonized for Love: Pleasure and Death in Modernity,” in Lisa Isherwood (Ed.), The Good News of the Body: Sexual Theology and Feminism (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 2000), 185-204.
“Flourishing: Towards an Ethic of Natality,” Feminist Theory 2.2 (2001): 219-232.
“What Price Neutrality? A Reply to Paul Helm,” Religious Studies 37.1 (2001): 87-92.
“On Changing the Imaginary,” in Graham Ward (Ed.), The Blackwell Companion to Postmodern Theology (Oxford: Blackwell, 2001), 280-293.
“Feminist Philosophy of Religion: Open Discussion with Pamela Anderson,” Feminist Theology 26 (2001): 102-109.
“Before the Rooster Crows: The Betrayal of Knowledge in Modernity,” Literature and Theology 15.1 (2001): 1-24.
“Roots of Violence, Seeds of Peace” Conrad Grebel Review 20.2 (Spring 2002)
“A Reconfiguration of Desire: Reading Medieval Mystics in Postmodernity,” Women’s Philosophy Review 29 (2002): 23-45.
“Beauty for Ashes: Notes on the Displacement of Beauty” Literature and Theology 16.4 (2002): 427-49.
“Barely by a Breath: Irigaray on Rethinking Religion,” in John Caputo (Ed.), The Religious: Blackwell Readings in Continental Philosophy (Oxford: Blackwell, 2002), 227-240.
“Birth and the Powers of Horror: Julia Kristeva on Gender, Religion and Death,” in Phillip Goodchild (ed.), Rethinking Philosophy of Religion: Approaches From Continental Philosophy (New York: Fordham University Press, 2002).
“Contours of a Queer Theology,” Literature and Theology 15.3 (2001): 276-285; reprinted in Janet Martin Soskice and Diana Lipton (Eds), Feminism and Theology: Oxford Readings in Feminism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003).
“The Horizon of Natality: Gadamer, Heidegger and the Limits of Existence,” in Lorraine Code (ed.), Feminist Interpretations of Hans-Georg Gadamer (University Park, PA: Penn State University Press, 2003), 285-306.
“Eros and the Abyss: Reading Medieval Mystics in Postmodernity,” Literature and Theology 17.3 (2003): 244-264.
“Death, then, how could I yield to it? Kristeva’s mortal visions,” in M. Joy, K. O’Grady and J. L. Poxon (Eds), Religion in French Feminist Thought. London: Routledge, 2003.
Foundations of Violence: Death and the Displacement of Beauty, Volume 1. London: Routledge, 2004.
“Choose Life! Early Quaker women and violence in modernity,” Quaker Studies 9 (2005): 137-155.
“Thanatos and the Passion for Transformation,” Temenos 42.1 (2006): 73-92.
“On Philosophers (Not) Reading History: Narrative and Utopia,” in Kevin Vanhoozer and Martin Warner (Eds), Transcending Boundaries in Philosophy and Theology: Reason, Meaning and Experience. Routledge: London, 2007.
“The Womb and the Tomb: health and flourishing in medieval mystical literature” in Wounds that Heal: Theology, Imagination and Health. Jonathan Baxter (Ed.). London: SPCK, 2007.
Violence to Eternity: Death and the Displacement of Beauty, Volume 2 (Eds.) Jeremy Carrette and Morny Joy. London: Routledge, 2008.
A Place of Springs: Death and the Displacement of Beauty, Volume 3 (Eds.) Jeremy Carrette and Morny Joy. London: Routledge, 2009.
Grace Jantzen: Redeeming the Present. Ed. Elaine L. Graham. Surrey: Ashgate, 2009.
Pamela Sue Anderson, “Forever Natal: In Death as in Life” [Review of Forever Fluid: A Reading of Luce Irigaray’s Elemental Passions by Hanneke Canters and Grace M. Jantzen] Literature and Theology 21.2 (June 2007): 227-231.
Jeremy Carrette, “Bringing Philosophy to Life: A Review Article in Memory of Grace M. Jantzen (1948-2006) Literature and Theology 20.3 (September 2006): 321-325.
Morny Joy, “Violence, Vulnerability, Precariousness, and their Contemporary Modifications” Sophia 59 (2020): 19-30.
Alison Stone, Being Born: Birth and Philosophy. London: Oxford University Press, 2019.
Janet Trisk, “Springs of Newness and Beauty: Grace Jantzen and the Search for God” Scriptura 98 (2008): 194-203.
Mennonite Sources citing Jantzen (In-Progress)
Jeff Gundy, “Bad Mennonites, Raspberry Migrations, and Usable Narratives: Grace Jantzen, Julia Kasdorf, and Sofia Samatar” Mennonite Quarterly Review 92.3 (2018): 423-437.
Jeff Gundy, “Doubt, Defiance, and Desire” Conrad Grebel Review 33.3 (Fall 2015).
Thanks for this Max! I am embarrassed to say I have not been at all acquainted with the writing of Grace Jantzen. I see from your bibliography that she wrote in the 1980s, questioning whether a doctrine of afterlife was an essential element of Christian faith. That is right when I was doing my own work in Mennonite theology (published as Theology in Postliberal Perspective, and a second edition as Reflecting on Faith in a Post-Christian Time) in which I also not only strongly suggested that the doctrine was not essential, but even outlined some of the many ways our clinging to a self projected into immortality skews our psychology and emotions, and leads us to encounter those who might disagree with us as ‘mortal threats’ (iow, it can negatively impact our ability to maintain a pacifist logic in our political world.) It would have been good to have another Mennonite-adjacent voice to lean on in those days. Thanks again! Dan Liechty
I cannot believe that I never came across Grace Jantzen while at the University of Winnipeg and Manitoba studying gender and Mennonites in the late 1990s! Thank you for posting this! It is intriguing to me that she wrote about Mysticism. I have been interested in the mystics for years but only recently have I been exploring them in more depth. I would like to read her book about Julian of Norwich. Thanks for the detailed bibliography.
Thanks for this, Max! I appreciate the citations. I also wrote about Jantzen in several chapters of my book Songs from an Empty Cage: Poetry, Mystery, Anabaptism, and Peace, available from Cascadia. I agree that she’s an important writer and thinker; she certainly helped me see how power and gender have worked in Christianity in fresh ways. Jeff Gundy
Thanks Max! “Power, Gender and Christian Mysticism” was required reading for a doctoral level course on spirituality at Toronto School of Theology. I had no idea Janzen had published so much material. I highly recommend the book!
A bit of biographical information on Grace Jantzen. As she was the sister of Alvina Block, wife of a former MB leader, one could presume that Grace grew up in the Mennonite Brethren Church in Saskatchewan. Alvina was an avid student as well, attaining a doctorate in history when in her 70s – a thesis critiquing Mennonite missions to NA indigenous people. Her husband was Isaak Block, who pastored a Mennonite congregation in Ontario, taught at the Mennonite Brethren Bible College, and after abrupt dismissal, pastored the (GC) Sargent Avenue Mennonite Church in Winnipeg (where I met and appreciated Alvina and Isaak). I recall Alvina mentioning her academically accomplished sister teaching and writing in England. Alvina and Isaak were prophetic as well as pastoral voices in both conferences.
Thanks so much for your comments everyone! It’s great to hear that Jantzen’s work is still being read (Andy) and written on (Jeff), and sad to hear about how her work could have been more widely engaged with (Tina and Dan). Thanks so much, Peter, for the biographical details. If you know any more about her life I would be happy to email a bit about it 🙂
I first came across Grace Jantzen’s work in the mid-1980s. I was thoroughly impressed by her book God’s World, God’s Body and I wrote a review of it for Process Studies 16/1 (1987), pp. 61-63. When I sent the review to Prof. Jantzen, I received a lovely reply indicating her awareness of some of the parallels between her views and those of process theology. In her later work, Becoming Divine, she mentions process thought, but keeps it at arm’s length for reasons which seemed unsatisfactory to me, but which may have merits that escape me. I do wish I could have known this remarkable woman. Many thanks for the bibliography.