Thealogy

related topics
{theory, work, human}
{god, call, give}
{woman, child, man}
{language, word, form}
{work, book, publish}
{specie, animal, plant}
{area, part, region}
{school, student, university}
{village, small, smallsup}

Thealogy (a neologism coined by Isaac Bonewits in 1974) is a discourse that reflects upon the meaning of Goddess and Her relationship to life forms. It is a discourse that critically engages the past and contemporary Goddess community's beliefs, wisdom, embodied practices, questions, and values. The term suggests a feminist approach to theism and the context of God and gender within the context of Neopaganism. "Thealogy" increasingly appeared in feminist literature associated with the Neopagan Goddess movement during the 1980s to 1990s, perhaps coined independently of Bonewits, as Naomi Goldenberg is often credited with first using the term in 1979 in her book Changing of the Gods. However, thealogy is more accurately religiously pluralistic as thealogians come from various religious backgrounds that are often hybrid in nature. In addition to Neopagans, they are also Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim, Quakers, etc. or define themselves as Spiritual Feminists. As such, the term thealogy has also been used by feminists within mainstream monotheistic religions to label their efforts to describe in more detail the feminine aspect of a monotheistic deity or trinity, such as God/dess Herself, Sophia of Eastern Orthodoxy or the Heavenly Mother of the Latter Day Saint movement.

Contents

Terminology

In "The Druid Chronicles (Evolved)", privately published in 1976, Isaac Bonewits used "thealogian" to refer to a Wiccan author (Aidan Kelly, aka "C. Taliesin Edwards", who may have given him the term or vice versa). "The Druid Chronicles (Evolved)" represented a three-year project starting in 1974 and finished (published) in 1976. The article referred to within "The Druid Chronicles (Evolved)" is dated to the summer of 1976. Moreover, this is almost certainly not the first usage; the context of "thealogian" appears in a work by C. Taliesin Edwards, "Essays towards a Metathealogy of the Goddess" [stress added]. There is, however, a possibility that Bonewits altered the name of the work to fit with his terminology. Kelley himself has said to Bonewits that he can't remember which of the two of them said "thealogy" to the other first.

In "The Changing of the Gods" 1979:96, Naomi Goldenberg introduces the term as a future possibility with respect to a distinct discourse, highlighting the masculinist nature of theology.

Also in 1979, in the first revised edition of "Real Magic", Bonewits defined "thealogy" in his Glossary as: "Intellectual speculations concerning the nature of the Goddess and Her relations to the world in general and humans in particular; rational explanations of religious doctrines, practices and beliefs, which may or may not bear any connection to any religion as actually conceived and practiced by the majority of its members." Also in the same glossary, he defined "theology" with nearly identical words, changing the pronouns appropriately.

In 1989 Ursula King notes thealogy's growing usage as a fundamental departure from traditional male-oriented theology, characterized by its privileging of symbols over rational explanation. She chronicles that:

Full article ▸

related documents
Psychic
Id, ego, and super-ego
Consensus reality
Psychokinesis
Extrasensory perception
Alvin Plantinga
Ontology (information science)
Ethnography
Begging the question
Expert
Essentialism
Gestalt psychology
Literary criticism
Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus
Oral tradition
Derek Parfit
The Book of Healing
Jeremy Bentham
Liar paradox
Dystopia
Hypothesis
Naturalistic fallacy
Abstraction
Operational definition
The Mismeasure of Man
Omnipotence
Willard Van Orman Quine
Knowledge Management
Prejudice
Stanley Fish