Crafting Adams, chaperoning Eves
Ofulue, Nneka Ifeoma
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This dissertation examines the intersection of religion and gender in contemporary American evangelical discourses. Grounded in neo-traditionalist gender theology, the rhetoric of “biblical manhood and womanhood” is a body of discourses that arises from debates among American evangelicals over the nature of masculinity and femininity. Known as complementarians, neo-traditionalist evangelicals locate a definitive conception of manhood and womanhood in biblical text, and on that basis reassert essentialist social roles, predicated on gender differences, for contemporary audiences. This dissertation employs a rhetorical critical approach to understand the ways language is used to invest socially constructed identities with sacred meaning. Specifically, it demonstrates how proponents of complementarianism use scientific and religious authority to rehabilitate traditional gender archetypes for an emerging generation of evangelical believers.