For anybody who wonders what feminist theologians do all day: well, sometimes, they scribble out stuff like this. The following is extracted from Sarah Coakley’s fantastic ‘Powers and Submissions: Spirituality, Philosophy and Gender,’ p.128.
The gender fluidity that Gregory [of Nyssa – one of the ‘Cappadocian church fathers’] charts at the human level of transformation finds also its metaphysical counterpart, secondly, in God. Whilst Sophia (Christ) is being actively courted by the soul, she is described as a ‘manly woman’; but when the soul adopts the darkened epistemological state of active receptivity, Christ becomes the bridegroom seeking her. A further complication arises when we add the fully trinitarian picture of incorporation that tends to emerge in fits and starts in the Commentary on the Song of Songs. In the seventh Homily the bridegroom’s mother is aligned with God the Father: Gregory explains that the names ‘father’ and ‘mother’ are effectively the same in meaning, granted that we know that there is really ‘neither male nor female’ (see Gal. 3:28) in Go. In the fifteenth Homily the Holy Spirit is perceived as a dove who is also the mother of the bride. In all these transferences and reversals, the message Gregory evidently wishes to convey is that gender stereotypes must be reversed, undermined, and transcended if the soul is to advance to supreme intimacy with the trinitarian God; and that the language of sexuality and gender, far from being an optional aside or mere rhetorical flourish in the process, is somehow necessary and intrinsic to the epistemological deepening that Gregory seeks to describe.
Can I get an ‘amen’ or even a ‘hell to the yes’ for that?