“Grammatical nonsense but evidence of the theological desire to defeminize the Divine.”- Lucy Reid
"Rooted in the Hebrew Scriptures and flourishing in a patriarchal culture, Christianity developed its own negative attitudes towards women and the old religion of the Goddess. At times subtle, at other times brutal, the movement was away from partnership and towards hierarchy, from feminine images of the Divine to strictly masculine ones. Despite Jesus' radical inclusion of women as friends and disciples and his refusal to treat them as second-rate, sinfully sexual, or stupid, his followers quickly established as orthodox an all-male priesthood, a masculine Trinity, and a theologically expressed aversion to women...
And in Syria, where for four hundred years the word Holy Spirit was ruha, a feminine word derived from the Hebrew ruach, and where the Holy Spirit was described as Mother, complementing the parental imagery of Father and Son in the Trinity, the association of feminine language with heresy led authors to assign masculine gender to the word—grammatical nonsense but evidence of the theological desire to defeminize the Divine.”
Lucy Reid, She Changes Everything
Continuum, 2005, pages 32-33
"Fortunately, contemporary feminist scholarship provides a way to resolve Jung's difficulties and simultaneously deepen his basic insights. The feminine Wisdom or Shekinah the Old Testament says was with God from the beginning, feminist scholars point out, functions like the Holy Spirit or Paraclete of the New Testament, shares its symbolism of the dove, and is specifically referred to as God's 'holy spirit from above' in Wisdom 9:17-18.
Neglecting the similarity of Wisdom to the Paraclete did not of course begin with Jung. It began with those early Christians who sought to give intellectual respectability to Hebraic-Christian myth by reformulating it in terms of Hellenistic philosophy. The actual denigration of Wisdom, however, commenced before Christianity with Philo-Judaeus and other Alexandrian thinkers who, bowing to the era's intellectual fashions, concluded that feminine attributes lessened God. God's dignity, these philosophers insisted, required him to be all male no less than all good and powerful.
Anxious to protect the masculinity of their God, the church fathers declined to meld the Judaic wisdom figure with its natural successor, the Paraclete, which would have made one member of the Godhead feminine.”
James P. Driscoll, The unfolding God of Jung and Milton
University Press of Kentucky, 1992, p. 88
Note: If by 'gender' is meant grammatical gender, the gender of 'Holy Spirit' varies according to the language used. Thus the grammatical gender of the word 'Spirit' is masculine in Latin (Spiritus) and in Latin-derived languages such as English (Spirit) or German (Geist). In the Semitic languages such as Hebrew (Ruah), Arabic (Ruh, Rooh, Ruh-ul-Qudus), Aramaic (Ruha, Ruho) and its descendant Syriac (Ruha), it is feminine. In Greek it is neuter (Pneuma). When grammatical gender in a particular language is confused with physical gender, the Holy Spirit is thought of, within that language, as male, female or neither.
Disclaimer: Our material may be copied, printed and distributed by referring to this site. This site also contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the education and research provisions of "fair use" in an effort to advance freedom of inquiry for a better understanding of religious, spiritual and inter-faith issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than "fair use" you must request permission from the copyright owner.