Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 10 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses how convictions about gender and sexuality (both at the divine and at the social level) have been instrumental to the ways early Christians addressed the divine Sophia myth. Strongly gendered and idealized already in the Hebrew Bible, the personified feminine Sophia undergoes a process of masculinization and further idealization in Jewish writings of the Second Temple Period. Somewhat paradoxically, this appears to culminate in her (almost) complete effacement from the New Testament or her replacement with the masculine Logos. Yet in Christian gnostic writings of the second century, Sophia returns with a vengeance: more feminine than ever, by now she is both more powerful than the God of the Hebrew Bible and no longer idealized as an unequivocally positive figure. It is argued that with a careful application of feminist critique, a more thorough understanding of the Sophia myth and its possible theological implications can be reached.

Keywords: Sophia, New Testament, Second Temple Judaism, Gnosticism, Christianity, gender, sexuality, feminist criticism

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.