J.K. Gayle has several posts up concerning some book about what we didn’t we in Sunday school.
What is interesting is that Gayle uses Jewish and non-Christian sources, and their reception of the Christian canon for a discussion of gender.
On one comment, I did catch Gayle defending Christian orthodoxy, so I think we can throw out that postmodern, emergent label [imposed upon JK by that guy who is now #2 who is not to be named] :
And since you bring up non-Christian Bible translator Robert Alter, let me now bring up non-Christian and Jewish New Testament translator Willis Barnstone. Barnstone has this for Matthew’s Greek (for further comparison):
“The child engendered in her came from the holy spirit.”
“Washing them in the name of the father and the son And the holy spirit.”
Just to be clear, and absolutely accurate, I don’t think Matthew intended for his readers to think that Mary was pregnant from or through or by anyone or anything other than “the Divine Spirit” or “the Holy Spirit” or “the holy spirit.” Atteberry and Smith and their translation teams with Barnstone all have their English agree here with Matthew’s Greek.
So what of using Godde instead of God or Goddess?
For this, enter Suzanne:
I understand two things. Shawn is using Godde to show that God transcends gender. She is also using the feminine pronoun in the same way that masculine pronouns has been used for millenia by others who claim that God transcends gender.
It is possible that Shawn is not aware that the “e” ending on Godde suggests that it is a feminine word rather than one which transcends gender. But that is an artefact of Indo-European lingistics and does not invalidate her assertion that Godde transcends gender.
The problem with gender for Christians is not only one of biblical interpretation or translation, (or are they the same?), but I think it has to do with struggling to reconcile God’s transcendence of gender with a God who forever enfolded Godself in the flesh of a Jewish rabbinical day-laboring male. One can take the Christian platonist approach of the Alexandrians (Athanasius and Clement, I will admit) who have what Joerg Rieger called in his Christ and Empire, space-suit Christologies, as if the Word of God was some alien invading the planet. Perhaps one can see a connection between the teaching of theosis and alienness, or being the Other?
I think this is why I find value in the doctrine of the Trinity, and the traditional co-equality of the persons within the Goddehead. YHWH has parental qualities of both mothers and fathers, Christ is the embodied Word and Sophia of God according to Scripture and the early church writers, and the Holy Spirit can be used both in gender neutral, masculine, and feminine terms, as the Spirit dwells in both men and women making Godde all the more immanently transcendent.
- Happy Mother’s Day, YHWH!: the Motherhood of God (politicaljesus.com)
- The Trinitarian Ethics of Minister Julia J. A. Foote (politicaljesus.com)