The Kindness of God: Metaphor, Gender, and Religious Language

The Kindness of God: Metaphor, Gender, and Religious Language

Janet Martin Soskice

Language: English

Pages: 214


Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Fathers, sons, brothers, kings. Does the predominantly masculine symbolism of the Biblical writings exclude women or overlook the riches of their spiritual life? If Christ is 'the second Adam' and the one on whom all Christian life must be patterned, then what about Eve? This book from a leading scholar of religious language and feminism opens up the Bible's imagery for sex, gender, and kinship and does so by discussing its place in the central teachings of Christian theology: the doctrine of God and spirituality, Imago Dei and anthropology, Creation, Christology and the Cross, the Trinity, and eschatology.

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of God conquers the world . . . Who is it that conquers the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? This is the one who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ, not with the water only but with the water and the blood. 1 John 5: 1–6 The symbolism of the New Testament texts is constantly disruptive. Leviticus prohibits the eating of blood, yet the central Christian rite involves drinking blood. In Leviticus childbirth is defiling, yet John’s gospel describes God as giving birth

Study of Women in Contemporary Philosophy (Cambridge: Polity, 1991), 254. See also Taylor, Sources of the Self, passim. 14 Braidotti, Patterns of Dissonance, 11. 15 This is true of some Anglo-American critics, but also to some extent of the French philosopher Michelle Le Doeuff, for instance. 106 Trinity and the ‘Feminine Other’ modern French philosophy has been influenced in ways in which the English empiricist tradition has not, by both psychoanalysis and cultural anthropology, and

God who is One, and who perhaps has a very special friend, his messenger Jesus, who was sent to make things better for us. Secular feminism generally is not of the opinion that ‘God’ has been very good for women, but the ‘God’ one finds in their texts is a bit player who appears merely as a pretext for the authority of Man and men, the divine guarantor of the veracity of the insights of the Cartesian subject. This ‘cogito’, self-engendered through denial of the other, the external world, even his

longer version. ‘All our Lord does is right, and what he permits is worthwhile . . . all that is good is done by our Lord, and all that is evil is permitted by him’ (§35). 24 142 The Kindness of God love, or (as they sometimes seem in Augustine) obstacles to our spiritual progress. Because ‘all that is’ is good, Julian takes for granted the necessities which frame our lives—in high winds and storms boats will sink. Human beings, necessitous creatures, in the midst of crops that fail and

at one another. It is more than just exchanging pleasantries or pieces of information: ‘the most eager speaking at one another does not make a conversation (this is most clearly shown in that curious sport, aptly termed discussion, that is 24 Martin Buber, Foreword to M. Buber, Between Man and Man, trans. Ronald G. Smith (London: Kegan Paul, 1947), 13. 25 Ibid. 13–14. 170 Friendship ‘‘breaking apart’’, which is indulged in by men who are to some extent gifted with the ability to think).’26 It

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