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God and the Goddesses: Vision, Poetry, and…
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God and the Goddesses: Vision, Poetry, and Belief in the Middle Ages (The… (vuoden 2005 painos)

– tekijä: Barbara Newman (Tekijä)

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
351549,405-2
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.… (lisätietoja)
Jäsen:erj-rnc
Teoksen nimi:God and the Goddesses: Vision, Poetry, and Belief in the Middle Ages (The Middle Ages Series)
Kirjailijat:Barbara Newman (Tekijä)
Info:University of Pennsylvania Press (2005), Edition: F First Edition Used, 464 pages
Kokoelmat:Oma kirjasto
Arvio (tähdet):
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God and the Goddesses: Vision, Poetry, and Belief in the Middle Ages (tekijä: Barbara Newman)

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Barbara Newman coins a new genre label in the final chapter of God and the Goddesses, partly in order to justify the joint treatment of the rather heterogeneous literature that she has surveyed here: imaginative theology. What these particular works have in common, beyond their high-medieval origins, is the presence of feminine divine figures in Christian settings. She pulls together a wide (though not exhaustive, she hastens to observe) variety of texts featuring Dame Kind (Nature), Caritas (Love), Sophia (Wisdom), and Mary (daughter, mother, and bride of God). To the extent that these figures have been objects of modern scholarship, their theological significance has often been lightened by regarding them as allegorical personifications, and by a retrojection of post-Tridentine theology that is in fact more self-conscious about gender issues than were the perspectives of medieval thinkers, who were quite capable of using the term "goddess" and/or "daughter of god" in reference to the chief figures of this study.

While this book discusses theology, and may have theological consequences for some readers, its methods are primarily those of literary analysis and art history, and its motives those of comparative religion and historical inquiry. Newman writes: "For our subject is not simply 'goddesses' but 'God and the goddesses,' with an emphasis on the links between medieval Christendom's 'real' God and the figures of female sacrality that surrounded his throne" (49).

A crucial issue in this study is the relationship between visionary states and literary composition. Noting the inadequacy of medievalist Dinzelbacher's discrete categories of "experiential" and "literary" visions, Newman proposes instead a distinction between the epiphanic and heuristic functions that may be present in any visionary text. This approach helpfully accommodates the actual overlap between visionary categories, as well as promoting a sage agnosticism regarding the mental and compositional processes of visionary authors.

Beyond the scholarly intentions and arguments of this book, its particular literary cases often spoke to me in my own mystical and magical situation. In particular, Lavision-Christine, a text with which I'd been unfamiliar, presents a celestial couple consisting of the masculine Chaos and an unnamed "crowned shade in the form of a woman," who together are responsible for the world of the visionary (120). The general review of the Sophia current was helpful to me, and motivated me to a rereading of Ecclesiasticus. I was already acquainted with Aurora Consurgens of course, but the treatment here of feminine figures in alchemy really whetted my appetite for the contemporaneous Buch der Heiligen Dreifaltigkeit. Alas, Newman notes that the only available edition of this one is "far from satisfactory" (386). Perhaps most valuable to me were the materials regarding the incorporation of Mary with the Holy Trinity into a sort of familial tetrad.

There is no automatic correspondence between the medieval promotion of the goddesses treated here and any sort of feminism, as Newman observes. In one register, these figures are goddesses to the extent that they are not women; they transcend the human condition and are set over its important functions. Nor did the presence of these goddesses in any given discourse tend to provoke claims or findings of heresy. The goddesses of medieval Christianity represent, in Newman's words, "a current of piety that was unofficial, but by no means marginal; undogmatic, but hardly unorthodox" (50).
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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia (2)

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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