Monday, January 08, 2007

Thealogy

“My theology, or rather thealogy, reflections on the meaning of Goddess, is rooted in my experience. Two intuitions nourish this thealogy. The first is that the earth is holy and our true home. The second is that women’s experience, like all human experience, is a source of insight about the divine.” (Carol Christ)

Thealogy is a neologism coined from the Greek work for goddess, thea, and the common suffix logos, which is Greek for study. (The Wikipedia entry attributes the first usage of thealogy to Isaac Bonewits in 1974. In Laughter of Aphrodite, Carol Christ attributes the coinage to Naomi Goldenberg.) Whereas theology is the study of god (theos + logos), thealogy is the study of the Goddess. The definition of thealogy I use is “the feminist study of the female divine.” The word feminist indicates the transformative nature of studying the Goddess; thealogians aren’t merely applying the methods of traditional theology but are developing new methods suitable to their study.

I’m a theory-head. I love theory not for its own sake, but for its ability to illuminate experience. I received an MA in philosophy eight years ago as part of a Ph.D. program; I’ve taught philosophy and feminist theory to college students. But whereas theory is heady and intellectual, the study of the Goddess, I believe, calls us to something more. We’re called to use not only, or even primarily, our intellects, but also our bodies, emotions, intuition, and non-verbal communication. How do we seek Mystery? How do we report back on our experiences? What does it mean to study the Goddess?

On Mondays, the moon’s day, this space will be devoted to discussions of thealogy.

4 comments:

rose said...

I look forward to reading your thoughts. I'm starting a thealogy series myself this new year.

Sojourner said...

Your explanation of what thealogy is and why it more than just theory struck a cord with me. To be honest, I've never really paid the word much attention, but I am starting to consider it in a whole new light due to your post.

I look forward to your series as you explore different questions within thealogy.

Inanna said...

Thank you both. Sojourner, that is quite a compliment. I blush.

Morgaine said...

Great idea - I'm looking forward to your discussions.