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19 - Creation and Gender

A Theological Appraisal

from Part III - Engagements

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 July 2022

Alexander J. B. Hampton
Affiliation:
University of Toronto
Douglas Hedley
Affiliation:
University of Cambridge
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Summary

By distancing creation from nature Christianity rejected freer notions of nature as pagan or pantheist, while imposing a gender hierarchy that rivaled in orthodox fixity creation-from-nothing. Despite the advance of scientific rationalism, Enlightenment culture did not overthrow Christian gender hierarchy. While the ecofeminist movement seized on the liberation of women to bring about ecological change, its agenda stagnated when its activism decreased. Applying a critical-theological reading, this article sees gender hierarchy as subtly read into the Christian exegesis of Genesis rather than flowing from biblical revelation. Acknowledging our current culture as interreligious, it points to two movements forwards, pertaining to gender and creation. First, by locating gender roles in the Trinity, we can loosen the ties with creation and link them to the issue of difference. Second, based on the medieval theological parallelism of nature and scripture one can argue that, in an era where scriptural literacy has lost much of its force, nature can assume a prophetic role. This allows us to reconceive the nature complex insofar as it calls not only for the unity of all creatures as well as of all genders, but ultimately also for the unity of creation with the Creator, what Eriugena called, the unity of all natures.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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