God and the Goddesses: Vision, Poetry, and Belief in the Middle Ages

Etukansi
University of Pennsylvania Press, 14.1.2016 - 464 sivua

Contrary to popular belief, the medieval religious imagination did not restrict itself to masculine images of God but envisaged the divine in multiple forms. In fact, the God of medieval Christendom was the Father of only one Son but many daughters—including Lady Philosophy, Lady Love, Dame Nature, and Eternal Wisdom. God and the Goddesses is a study in medieval imaginative theology, examining the numerous daughters of God who appear in allegorical poems, theological fictions, and the visions of holy women. We have tended to understand these deities as mere personifications and poetic figures, but that, Barbara Newman contends, is a mistake. These goddesses are neither pagan survivals nor versions of the Great Goddess constructed in archetypal psychology, but distinctive creations of the Christian imagination. As emanations of the Divine, mediators between God and the cosmos, embodied universals, and ravishing objects of identification and desire, medieval goddesses transformed and deepened Christendom's concept of God, introducing religious possibilities beyond the ambit of scholastic theology and bringing them to vibrant imaginative life.

Building a bridge between secular and religious conceptions of allegorized female power, Newman advances such questions as whether medieval writers believed in their goddesses and, if so, in what manner. She investigates whether the personifications encountered in poetic fictions can be distinguished from those that appear in religious visions and questions how medieval writers reconcile their statements about the multiple daughters of God with orthodox devotion to the Son of God. Furthermore, she examines why forms of feminine God-talk that strike many Christians today as subversive or heretical did not threaten medieval churchmen.

Weaving together such disparate texts as the writings of Latin and vernacular poets, medieval schoolmen, liturgists, and male and female mystics and visionaries, God and the Goddesses is a direct challenge to modern theologians to reconsider the role of goddesses in the Christian tradition.

 

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Sisältö

God and the Goddesses
1
St Francis and Lady Poverty
3
The Soul and Lady Love
10
The Servant and Eternal Wisdom
12
Will and Lady Holy Church
14
Christine and the Female Trinity
19
Vision Imagination and Belief
24
Why Goddesses?
35
The Thirteenth Century
151
Hadewijchs Stanzaic Poems
169
Dante Beatrice and lamor che move il sole
181
Sapientia The Goddess Incarnate
190
Poised Between Christ and Mary
194
Henry Suso and His Legacy
206
Julian of Norwich
222
The Alchemical Virgin
234

Natura I Nature and Natures God
51
Bernard Silvestriss Cosmographia
55
De planctu Naturae
66
Anticlaudianus
73
Nature or Natures God?
86
Natura II Goddess of the Normative
90
Ganymede and Helen and Natures Grammar
91
From Alan of Lille to Jean de Meun
97
Chaucers Parlement of Fowles
111
Christines Revisionist Myths
115
Nature Nurture Silence
122
The Realm of the Natural
134
Love Divine All Loves Excelling
138
The Twelfth Century
140
Maria Holy Trinity as Holy Family
245
The Trinity as a Family
247
The Marian Trinity in Art
254
The Lability of Female Roles
273
The Invention of the Holy Family
283
Goddesses and the One God
291
Imaginative Theology
294
The Gender of God and the Limits of Intolerance
304
Medieval Christianity as an Inclusive Monotheism
317
List of Abbreviations
329
Notes
331
Works Cited
409
Index
437
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Barbara Newman is Professor of English and Religion at Northwestern University and author of From Virile Woman to WomanChrist, also available from the University of Pennsylvania Press.

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