Religious Studies and Theology, Vol 30, No 1 (2011)

Jesus Christ as Woman Wisdom? Complicating the Gender of Christ

Susanne Guenther Loewen
Issued Date: 5 Mar 2012

Abstract


Feminist philosopher Luce Irigaray’s claim that Christianity lacks a female saviour is countered by the feminist and/or postmodern theologies of Elizabeth A. Johnson, Elisabeth Schuessler Fiorenza, Graham Ward, and Gavin D’Costa, who together complicate the gender of Jesus Christ using the neglected biblical figure of Woman Wisdom. Since Woman Wisdom’s words, actions, and identity correspond to those of Jesus Christ, such imagery emphasizes that Jesus Christ is divine and therefore beyond male and female. The historical Jesus of Nazareth cannot, however, be neglected, but neither is he straightforwardly male. In feminist/gender theory terms, Jesus can be affirmed as biologically male, but not as conforming to the ‘patriarchal’ socio-cultural male gender of his context, particularly since Woman Wisdom performs many of the same actions. Finally, Jesus Christ is rendered male and female in the members of the Church, which is thus the multi-gendered Body of Christ.

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DOI: 10.1558/rsth.v30i1.71

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