Title page for ETD etd-09302009-020010
|Type of Document
||Goodloe, Amy Townsend
||My lover, my god : the role of gender in the mystical theology of The Cloud of Unknowing
||Master of Arts
|Richey, Esther G.
|Colaianne, Anthony J.
|Date of Defense
The fourteenth-century mystical text, The Cloud of
Unknowing, has received much scholarly attention through the
years, yet scholars rarely take notice of the role of gender
in the Cloud-author's theology. The text may be written by
a male priest to a presumably male novice, but we can in no
way infer from these details that the text is thereby
masculine. Quite the contrary, it is the purpose of this
thesis to demonstrate that the Cloud-author rather openly
locates his text on the feminine pole of the
masculine/feminine binary system, and that he does so in
order to define his approach to contemplation over and
against those approaches considered dominant at the time.
Rather than emphasizing reason and intellect as the
primary means of achieving knowledge of the divine, the
Cloud-author stresses the superiority of the will as the
faculty in and through which divine union occurs, and he
teaches that love alone makes this union possible. Because
the faculty of will has long been associated with the
feminine end of the binary, and reason, language, and
intellect with the masculine end, the author of The Cloud of
Unknowing thus not only privileges a feminine position but
actively discounts traditionally masculine ways of knowing.
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