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Thealogy (a neologism derived from Ancient Greek Шаблон:Lang meaning "Goddess" and Шаблон:Lang, -logy, meaning "study of") is generally understood as a discourse that reflects upon the meaning of Goddess (thea) in contrast to God (theo).<ref>Raphael, Melissa. "Thealogy." Encyclopedia of Religion. Ed. Lindsay Jones. 2nd ed. Vol. 13. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2005. 9098-9101. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 6 Dec. 2012. "In 1979 Naomi Goldenberg first used the word thealogy to denote feminist discourse on the Goddess (thea) rather than God (theo)."</ref> As such, it is the study and reflection upon the feminine divine from a feminist perspective.<ref>Шаблон:Cite book</ref>

Thealogy is distinguished from feminist theology, which is the study of God from a feminist perspective,<ref>Шаблон:Cite book</ref><ref>Шаблон:Cite journal</ref> but the two fields can be seen as related and interdependent.<ref>Шаблон:Cite journal</ref>

History of the term

Шаблон:Wiktionary The term's origin and initial use is open to debate, and the definition and scope of thealogy are currently being defined by the key scholars in the field. Often attributed to a neologism coined by Isaac Bonewits in 1974,<ref>Шаблон:Cite book</ref><ref>Шаблон:Cite book</ref> Patricia 'Iolana traces the early use of the term to 1976 crediting both Bonewits and Valerie Saiving in its initial use.<ref>Шаблон:Cite book</ref>

In the 1979 "The Changing of the Gods," Naomi Goldenberg introduces the term as a future possibility with respect to a distinct discourse, highlighting the masculine nature of theology.<ref>Шаблон:Cite book</ref> Also in 1979, in the first revised edition of "Real Magic", Bonewits defined "thealogy" in his Glossary as "Intellectual speculations concerning the nature of the Goddess and Her relations to the world in general and humans in particular; rational explanations of religious doctrines, practices and beliefs, which may or may not bear any connection to any religion as actually conceived and practiced by the majority of its members." Also in the same glossary, he defined "theology" with nearly identical words, changing the feminine pronouns with masculine pronouns appropriately.<ref>Шаблон:Cite book</ref>

Carol P. Christ used the term in "Laughter of Aphrodite" (1987), acknowledging that those who create thealogy cannot avoid being influenced by the categories and questions posed in Christian and Jewish theologies.<ref>Шаблон:Cite book</ref> She further defined thealogy in her 2002 essay, "Feminist theology as post-traditional thealogy," as "the reflection on the meaning of the Goddess".<ref>Шаблон:Cite book</ref>

In her 1989 essay "On Mirrors, Mists and Murmurs: Toward an Asian American Thealogy," Rita Nakashima Brock defined thealogy as "the work of women reflecting on their experiences of and beliefs about divine reality".<ref>Шаблон:Cite book</ref> Also in 1989, Ursula King notes thealogy's growing usage as a fundamental departure from traditional male-oriented theology, characterized by its privileging of symbols over rational explanation.<ref>Шаблон:Cite book</ref>

In 1993, Charlotte Caron's definition of thealogy as "reflection on the divine in feminine and feminist terms" appeared in "To Make and Make Again".<ref>Шаблон:Cite book</ref> By this time, the concept had gained considerable status among Goddess adherents.

Thealogy as academic discipline

Situated in relationship to the fields of theology and religious studies, thealogy is a discourse that critically engages the beliefs, wisdom, practices, questions, and values of the Goddess community, both past and present.<ref>Шаблон:Cite web</ref> Similar to theology, thealogy grapples with questions of meaning, include reflecting on the nature of the divine,<ref>Шаблон:Cite book</ref> the relationship of humanity to the environment,<ref>Шаблон:Cite book</ref> the relationship between the spiritual and sexual self,<ref>Шаблон:Cite journal</ref> and the nature of belief.<ref>Шаблон:Cite book</ref> However, in contrast to theology, which often focuses on an exclusively logical and empirical discourse, thealogy embraces a postmodern discourse of personal experience and complexity.<ref>Шаблон:Cite book</ref>

The term suggests a feminist approach to theism and the context of God and gender within Paganism, Neopaganism, Goddess Spirituality and various nature-based religions. However, thealogy can be described as religiously pluralistic, as thealogians come from various religious backgrounds that are often hybrid in nature. In addition to Pagans, Neopagans, and Goddess-centred faith traditions, they are also Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim, Quakers, etc. or define themselves as Spiritual Feminists.<ref>Raphael, Melissa. "Thealogy." Encyclopedia of Religion. Ed. Lindsay Jones. 2nd ed. Vol. 13. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2005. 9098-9101. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 6 Dec. 2012. "There are those on the gynocentric or woman-centered left of Jewish and Christian feminism who would want to term themselves theo/alogians because they find the vestiges of the Goddess or "God-She" within their own traditions as Hochmah, Shekhinah, Sophia, and other "female faces" of the divine."</ref> As such, the term thealogy has also been used by feminists within mainstream monotheistic religions describe in more detail the feminine aspect of a monotheistic deity or trinity, such as God/dess Herself, or the Heavenly Mother of the Latter Day Saint movement.

In 2000, Melissa Raphael wrote the text Introducing Thealogy: Discourse on the Goddess for the series Introductions in Feminist Theology. Written for an academic audience, it purports to introduce the main elements of thealogy within the context of Goddess feminism. She situates thealogy as a discourse that can be engaged with by Goddess feminists—those who are feminist adherents of the Goddess who may have left their church, synagogue, or mosque—or those who may still belong to their originally established religion.<ref>Шаблон:Cite book</ref> In the book, Raphael contrasts thealogy from the Goddess movement.<ref>Шаблон:Cite book</ref> In 2007, Paul Reid-Bowen wrote the text "Goddess as Nature: Towards a Philosophical Thealogy", which can be regarded as another systematic approach to thealogy, but which integrates philosophical discourse.<ref>Шаблон:Cite book</ref>

In the past decade, other thealogians like Patricia 'Iolana and D'vorah Grenn have generated discourses that bridge thealogy with other academic disciplines. 'Iolana's Jungian thealogy bridges analytical psychology with thealogy, and Grenn's metaformic thealogy is a bridge between matriarchal studies and thealogy.<ref>Шаблон:Cite web</ref>

Contemporary Thealogians include Carol P. Christ, Melissa Raphael, Asphodel Long, Beverly Clack, Charlotte Caron, Naomi Goldenberg, Paul Reid-Bowen, Rita Nakashima Brock, and Patricia 'Iolana.

Criticisms of thealogy

At least one Christian theologist dismisses thealogy as the creation of a new deity made up by radical feminists.<ref>Шаблон:Cite journal</ref> Paul Reid-Bowen and Chaone Mallory point out that essentialism is a problematic slippery slope when Goddess feminists argue that women are inherently better than men or inherently closer to the Goddess.<ref>Шаблон:Cite book</ref><ref>Шаблон:Cite journal</ref> In his book Goddess Unmasked: The Rise of Neopagan Feminist Spirituality, Philip G. Davis levies a number of criticisms against the Goddess movement, including logical fallacies, hypocrisies, and essentialism.<ref>Шаблон:Cite book</ref>

Thealogy has also been criticized for its objection to empiricism and reason.<ref>Шаблон:Cite book</ref> In this critique, thealogy is seen as flawed by rejecting a purely empirical worldview for a purely relativistic one.<ref>Шаблон:Cite book</ref> Meanwhile, scholars like Harding<ref>Шаблон:Cite book</ref> and Haraway<ref>Шаблон:Cite book</ref> seek a middle ground of feminist empiricism.

See also



Further reading

  • Goldenberg, Naomi (1990) Returning Words to Flesh: Feminism, Psychoanalysis, and the Resurrection of the Body. Boston: Beacon Press.
  • Miller, David L. (1974) The New Polytheism: Rebirth of the Gods and Goddesses. New York: Harper & Row.
  • Raphael, Melissa (1997) ‘Thealogy, Redemption and the Call of the Wild’ from Feminist Theology: The Journal of the Britain and Ireland School of Feminist Theology No. 15, May 1997 Lisa Isherwood, et al. (eds) (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press) p. 55-72.

Шаблон:Feminist theory