Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Lucan Feminism

Following up on Jean's comment viz a viz the feminine and visual. See here.

She is summarizing the work of Leonard Shlain--whom I highly regard. My fincee is currently reading and enthralled with Shalin's latest: Sex,Time, and Power: How Women's Sexuality Shaped Human Evolution.

The point Jean makes is from his other book Alphabet and the Goddess which explores image versus text (feminine versus masculine). Image goes with feminine, for the feminine wants to be seen (good sides and bad sides to that tendency as you can "see" from anorexia/teen mags). She had raised that point in regards to Islam vs. Christianity and within Christianity immediately the thought was of Mary/Goddess veneration.

But there is another instance within Christianity--that of Jesus as portrayed in the Gospel of Luke.

The Gospel of Luke stresses seeing. Jesus in his first public teaching reads from the Torah Scroll, sits down, and "the eyes of everyone were upon him." Jesus says that comes to bring recovery of sight to the blind. The women at the crucifixion, watch him die in agony.

And this Jesus, the Gospel of Luke's Jesus, is the most feminine of the four gospels. Luke's is the gospel of mercy. Luke's Jesus says on the cross--Father forgive them they know not what they do.

He is always eating and feasting--relationsihp (feminine)--in this Gospel. Luke also has its prominence in the infancy narratives on Mary not Joseph (as in Matthew's Gospel). Mary sings the Magnificat: My song proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my savior.

And Luke's Jesus qua the feminine is about destroying the barriers and embracing to the death. Luke's Jesus declares a year of favor from the Lord, eats with sinners and tax collectors, breaks religious cutoms and laws, heals and forgives.

The Parable of the Prodigal Son is alone found in Luke's Gospel. The paradigmatic story of forgiveness and the mercy of God. The greatest sin for Luke is self-righteousness. As Jesus says "Those who are sick have no need of a Physician, but the sick do. I came not to call the righteous but sinners."

In the Prodigal Son, while the Father who "sees" his lost son from afar runs to greet him, kills the fatted calf, while his elder brother (the good religious one) becomes stubborn and righteous. He will not celebrate, he will not forgive his brother; he wants attainment and reward. The Feminine tells us none of these will be granted.

In fact Luke's Jesus balances mercy (feminine) and justice (masculine) in an amazing way. His mercy to the poor and his call, out of his experience of their misery, to release prisoners and declare a jubilee.


At 11:26 PM, Blogger Jean said...

I also have to wonder if the Gospels, as well as the Old Testament are more feminine in nature simply due to their storytelling basis. Stories, although not as powerful as an actual representative image in front of our eye, can create images in the mind, while we are reading them. Stories also bring out a relational component (another feminine trait,) insofar as it is natural to "relate" to characters when we hear tale of them, or read about them. The Koran, I believe, while claimed to be the direct revelation of God, is more strictly logos in form and text, therefore more purely masculine. Correct me if I'm wrong on that, but I don't think there's much in the way of storytelling going on in the Koran.


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