Jesus Christ as Woman Wisdom: Feminist Wisdom Christology, Mystery, and Christ's Body
Loewen, M. Susanne Guenther
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This thesis explores Wisdom Christology, the association of Jesus Christ and the mysterious and neglected biblical figure of Woman Wisdom. Because the descriptions of her bear a striking resemblance to the portrayal of Jesus Christ, I argue that they can be seen as two names for the same figure: Christ-Wisdom. This link between Jesus Christ and Woman Wisdom has some interesting repercussions in Christology. Firstly, it emphasizes the mysteriousness of Jesus Christ, preventing the illusion that Jesus Christ can be fully understood. In fact, the incarnation is a deepening of the mystery of God, meaning that theological language must rely on paradox and metaphor to describe the indescribable. I argue that the name Jesus Christ is inclusive, wide enough to hold many names, including that of Woman Wisdom, which he sanctifies so they become appropriate names for the divine. Secondly, the association of Jesus Christ with Woman Wisdom affects the gender of Jesus Christ. Throughout Christian history, there has been a gender fluidity in depictions of Jesus Christ, something legitimated by his full divinity. This does not mean his historical life as a male human being can be ignored, but although he was of the male sex, he arguably did not strictly adhere to socio-cultural gender expectations. Likewise, in Woman Wisdom, Jesus Christ provides an alternative, atypical way of being female. This relativizes the gender of Christ-Wisdom, pointing beyond it to the radical solidarity of the divine with all humanity in the incarnation. Thirdly, to view Christ as Wisdom changes the way gender is understood within the Church, the Body of Christ. If the Church is the representative of Christ-Wisdom, it is therefore a multi-gendered body in which Jesus Christ takes on male and female embodiment. In contrast to gendered ethical models, the Church thus has one ethical example in Christ-Wisdom, which all follow. Because of the various gifts of the Spirit, diversity remains, but is transformed so that differences, including gender, do not limit or determine the roles of believers in the Church, but remain part of the richness of the one Body under its one Head, Christ-Wisdom.