Biblical Scholar April DeConick Explains How the Mother God and the Female Holy Spirit Got Spayed
Is God gendered as a male in the Bible? How could Scripture, the Word of God to so many Christians, be the product of patriarchy and its over-sexed values that are grounded in the perpetuation of male domination and the degradation of the female? How could Jesus be portrayed as someone who valued God as a male spiritual being? With these challenging questions, April DeConick begins her Biblical Views column in the September/October 2012 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review, exploring the possibility of misogyny in the Bible.
To begin with, humans—whether ancient or modern—think within gender categories. In much of the ancient world, the female body was considered subhuman, imperfect. According to April DeConick, the Bible came into being within a cultural matrix where the female body was, by definition, substandard and dehumanized. Although ancient Israelites worshiped a Mother God and some early Christians believed in a female Holy Spirit, the dehumanization of the female body affected virtually every storyline of the Bible and affected the way in which the ancient people created their theologies and engaged in worship. Once the Church defined the doctrine of the trinity as consubstantial, there couldn’t be a female Holy Spirit as substantial s a male Father and Son.
To read more from April DeConick about the female Holy Spirit and possible instances of misogyny in the Bible, see her Biblical Views column, “How the Mother God Got Spayed,” in the September/October 2012 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review.
Biblical studies professor April DeConick believes that some scholars may be too quick to apologize for misogyny in the Bible because of a religious belief in the sacred nature of the Bible. In fact, the Israelites worshiped a Mother God as well as a Father God, and some early Christians believed in a female Holy Spirit. But because the female body was considered imperfect in the ancient world, April DeConick says, it affected the theologies, worship and sacred texts that came out of that world.
This article first appeared in Bible History Daily on August 31, 2012.
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