Divine Flesh, Embodied Word
Divine Flesh, Embodied Word
Incarnation as a Hermeneutical Key to a Feminist Theologian's Reading of Luce Irigaray's Work
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Table of Contents - 7 Acknowledgements - 12 Acknowledgements 2005 - 14 Introduction - 16 I. Incarnation: the Word becomes flesh - 29 1. The order of discourse is built upon matricide - 32 A specific order of the city is established through matricide - 33 The constitution of the masculine subject is founded upon matricide - 42 2. 'And the Word became flesh': salvation or matricide? - 54 The Prologue to the Gospel of John - 56 The Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed - 67 The Eucharist: this is my body, this is my blood - 71 3. Becoming woman, becoming 'hysteric': the genesis of female embodied subjectivity - 83 The order of discourse eradicates difference - 84 Becoming woman, becoming hysteric - 93 II. Incarnation: the flesh becomes Word - 109 4. The flesh: maternal, sensible, tangible and libidinal matter - 117 The flesh: blood, flesh, material elements - 119 Being is rooted in the flesh - 134 5. Morphology: corporeal, imaginary, linguistic differences between the sexes - 137 Morphology: the form of the flesh - 139 Morphology: the parameter to the formation of identity - 143 Discovering the morphology of the female sex. - 152 The morphology of language - 164 6. God-She: the horizon or 'objective' of a gender and the object of communication - 171 'God': the emblem of a 'house-of-language' - 173 7. God: mirror of woman - 190 Women need a Speculum Mundi to become - 193 Inventing an identity: giving oneself images - 203 Identity and becoming - 208 III. Incarnation: fruit of the encounter with the other - 218 8. The dialectical structure of the relation to the other - 224 The recognition of the alterity of the other - 225 From God as the transcendent Other to the transcendence of the other: Luce Irigaray's critique of God - 227 The recognition of the other is the labour of the negative - 242 The dialectical movement between self and other, between inner and outer - 251 Incarnation: the fruit of the encounter with the other - 255 9. Incarnation: the fruit of the encounter of female subject with the horizon of her gender - 258 The transcendence of the horizon of the female gender - 259 Luce Irigaray looks at art. - 270 The construction of a horizon: aesthetic practice and theory ánd the recources of this construction - 280 10. Incarnation: the fruit of the encounter of female subject with the other: man or woman - 293 The love of and for the other of different sex - 294 Love of the other, woman - 321 The fecundity of the love of the other - 333 Epilogue - 344 Speaking and thinking 'God': the dialectics between flesh and Word. - 344 The Flesh: living and productive matter - 346 The flesh as living matter - 346 The flesh is productive matter: the significance of a philosophy of sexual difference - 349 A post-theistic understanding of 'God - 358 The function of 'God' in a post-theistic discourse - 361 'God': the symbol of the transcendence of the horizon of a gender - 366 The dialectical relation of flesh and Word - 369 The dialectics between 'God' and the divine and the tension between eros and thanatos - 370 The divine: creative ánd disruptive force - 374 Bibliography - 380 Book and articles by Luce Irigaray, used in this book - 380 Books and articles by other authors - 382 Index - 396

Anne-Claire Mulder

Divine Flesh, Embodied Word

Incarnation as a Hermeneutical Key to a Feminist Theologian's Reading of Luce Irigaray's Work

What has Luce Irigaray’s statement that women need a God to do with her thoughts on the relation between body and mind, or the sensible and the intelligible?

Using the theological notion ‘incarnation’ as a hermeneutical key, Anne-Claire Mulder brings together and illuminates the interrelations between these different themes in Luce Irigaray’s work. Seesawing between Luce Irigaray’s critique of philosophical discourse and her constructive philosophy, Mulder elucidates Irigaray’s thoughts on the relations between ‘becoming woman’ and ‘becoming divine’. She shows that Luce Irigaray’s restaging of the relation between the sensible and the intelligible, between flesh and Word, is key to her reinterpretation of the relation between woman and God. In and through her interpretation of Luce Irigaray’s thoughts on the flesh she argues that the relation between flesh and Word must be seen as a dialectical one, instead of as a dualistic relation. This means that ‘incarnation’ is no longer seen as a one-way process of Word becoming flesh, but as a continuing process of flesh becoming word and word becoming flesh. For all images and thoughts – including those of ‘God’ – are produced by the flesh, divine in its creativity inexhaustibility, in response to the touch of the other. And these images, thoughts, words in turn become embodied, by touching and moving the flesh of the subject.

Anne-Claire Mulder

Anne-Claire Mulder (theologian) defended this thesis in 2000 at the University of Amsterdam. She has published texts in Paragraph (2002/3) and in Welt gestalten im ausgehenden Patriarchat edited by Maria Moser and Ina Praetorius (2003). She is co-editor – with Kune Biezeveld – of Towards a Different Transcendence. Feminist Findings on Subjectivity, Religion and Values, (Oxford/Bern, 2001). She is currently university teacher for Women’s studies theology at the Theological University of Kampen.