This title shows how the 'female' was systematically erased from the Christian tradition and explores surprising early Christian attitudes to sex, sin and women. In "Holy Misogyny", bible scholar April DeConick wants real answers to the questions that are rarely whispered from the pulpits of the contemporary Christian churches. Why is God male? Why are women associated with sin? Why can't women be priests? Drawing on her extensive knowledge of the early Christian literature, she seeks to understand the conflicts over sex and gender in the early church - what they were and what was at stake. She explains how these ancient conflicts have shaped contemporary Christianity and its promotion of male exclusivity and superiority in terms of God, church leadership, and the bed. DeConick's detective work uncovers old aspects of Christianity before later doctrines and dogmas were imposed upon the churches, and the earlier teachings about the female were distorted. "Holy Misogyny" shows how the female was systematically erased from the Christian tradition, and why.
She concludes that the distortion and erasure of the female is the result of ancient misogyny made divine writ, a holy misogyny that remains with us today.
April D. DeConick is the Isla Carroll and Percy E. Turner Professor of Biblical Studies in the Department of Religious Studies at Rice University (Houston, Texas). She specializes in early Christian history and theology, noncanonical Gospels, and gnostic and mystical traditions. Her books include Seek to See Him: Ascent and Vision Mysticism in the Gospel of Thomas (1996); Voices of the Mystics: Early Christian Discourse in the Gospels of John and Thomas and Other Ancient Christian Literature (Sheffield Academic, 2001); Recovering the Original Gospel of Thomas: A History of the Gospel and Its Growth (T. & T. Clark, 2005); and The Original Gospel of Thomas in Translation, with Commentary and New English Translation of the Complete Gospel (T. & T. Clark, 2006) and The Thirteenth Apostle: what the Gospel of Judas really says (Continuum, 2007). She has also edited the collection of papers, Paradise Now: Essays on Early Jewish and Christian Mysticism (SBL, 2006).
Introduction A Lady God?; Chapter 1 Where did God the Mother Go?; The Jewish Spirit; The Angel Sophia; A Hebrew Goddess; The Recovery of God's Wife; Chapter 2 Why was the Spirit Neutered?; Introducing Jesus' True Mother; Carried up Mount Tabor; In the Name of the Mother Spirit; Born from the Womb of Water; Milking the Breasts of God; The Mother's Erasure; God's Gender Crisis; Chapter 3 Did Jesus Think Sex is a Sin?; A Double Message; Sex Limits; Sex according to Jesus; A Women's Advocate; Chapter 4 Did Paul Hate Women?; The burgeoning of chastity; To veil or not to veil; Vanishing women. Chapter 5 Is Marriage a Sin?; Rereading Genesis; The Devil made me do it; In defiance of the Creator; It's the end of the world; Chapter 6 Is Marriage Salvation?; Sacred Sex; The Law is a joke; Soul Collectors; Chapter 7 Once a Woman, Always a Woman?; The Church is a household; Brides of Christ; The Devil's Gateway; Chapter 8 How do we Solve a Problem Like Maria?; Mary caught in the crossfire; The Male Mary; The Sexual Mary; The Apostolic Mary; Chapter 9 Because the Bible Tells Us So?; Further Reading; Notes.