In surveying those major works that treat the full sweep of the churchs missional self-understanding, Susan E. Smith notes that, while they help us better understand the story of Christian mission, they are less helpful in understanding womens part in that narrative. In matters of mission history, as in so many other areas, scholars have been much better at telling "his" story than "hers."
Smith tries to redress the balance with a comprehensive history of mission that highlights the critical contributions of women, as well as the theological developments that influenced their role. Beginning with an examination of the New Testament record, Smith goes on to review the long period between the apostolic church and the Second Vatican Council. Following a survey of critical developments since 1965 in both Catholic and other churches, she concludes with a magisterial chapter entitled "A Feminist Missiology for Contemporary Missionary Women."
Women in Mission is a landmark in women's religious history and essential reading for anyone engaged in historical, theological, mission, and women's studies.
Susan E. Smith is lecturer emerita in theology at the University of Auckland. Apart from her native New Zealand, she has also worked in Bangladesh, the Philippines, and Papua New Guinea. A member of the Congregation of Our Lady of the Missions, she also serves on the executive committee of the International Association for Mission Studies.