Spiritual Tasks for Our Times
Which spiritual tasks suit our era ? Not to sacrifice people to the God of religion, but rather to the divine becoming of women, of men, and their relationships. Rather than preferring individual values, to concern oneself with an ethics which increases the possibility of inhabiting the world, and cohabiting, while respecting the differences among individuals and cultures. Not making transcendence an enemy of nature, but rooting it in the reality of the natural world, corporeal and cosmic. To modify community life into a multitude of couples who never reduce the other, nor themselves, to an abstract identity subject to potentially totalitarian universal laws. To live the relationship to the other's connection to the mysterious, before projecting it onto a distant Absolute.
The Spiritual and Religious Dimension in Luce Irigaray
As a way of conceiving of the religious and spiritual dimension, Luce Irigaray turns to feminine genealogies and her experience of yoga. On the cultural side, feminine genealogies allow Irigaray to return in time to the discovery of our feminine representations. We shall see two examples : the myths of Demeter and of the Virgin Mary. On a more sensory plane, yoga permits a more direct access to the tangible dimension of spirituality. These two undertakings permitted Irigaray to relate spirituality to sexual difference, and to show how our sexual identity influences our relationship to the transcendent.
The Question of God in the Works of Luce Irigaray
References to God, the divine and mythological personalities are found throughout the works of Luce Irigaray. As well as specific concepts and images, she analyzes the connection between these and the language of desire and of the Other. Irigaray's references in the greater part of this essay &endash; which we shall also discuss &endash; are Derrida, Lacan and Lévinas. It will also be necessary to place her works within the context of the development of French religious philosophy since 1930 and, in particular, to highlight the impact on her work of thinkers such as Hegel and Heidegger. First, I shall trace the development of her ideas by highlighting the concept of the Other. Then, I shall examine the influence of the constructions of God and of the divine on certain of Irigaray's perspectives, notably those examining the need for women to affirm their status and identity as being other, and to express their own desires.
Some Elements of the Medieval Feminist Mysticism of the XIIth
and XIIIth Centuries, in Light of Luce Irigaray's Thought
This article, which is devoted to the feminist mysticism of the Middle Ages, is inspired by Luce Irigaray's concept of " place ". More precisely, it tries to show that this medieval religious experience is part of a process of searching for identity, putting into play women's desire to access an aspect of themselves not recognized by their culture. More particularly, though not exclusively, it examines the status of noblewomen who engaged in a great number of these mystical types of experience, on the fringes of the society in which they lived.
Luce Irigaray, Feminism, and the Divine : Taking the Risk of Inclusion
Women are multiply excluded in modern societies. One important exclusion is the exclusion of women from the divine. Present in Genesis, formalised in the Roman Catholic tradition by the refusal to ordain women, the exclusion of women from the sacred finds an echo in many feminists' refusal to treat spiritual questions. Luce Irigaray is a notable exception ; in her work, spirituality is constantly present. This essay follows the development of the spiritual question in Irigaray's work and opens a dialogue between the XXth century French philosopher and XIVth century English mystic Julian of Norwich. The images of a plural divine that these two women construct bring us new answers to the question of women's relationship to the divine.
The reception of Luce Irigaray's Divine Feminine in North America.
A Québécois Point of View
This article is concerned with the reception of Luce Irigaray's works in North America, and with the inner workings of the feminist Christian movement, especially since the beginning of the 1980's. This movement is distinguished by the perspective of " women's ekklèsia ", an action which envisions the creation of communities of disciples as equals, women and men, in all aspects of the sacred. Its compatibility with the feminism of difference, developed by L. Irigaray, has already been stated and explicated by Christian feminists in the United States. It is interesting to note that in Québec, Christian feminists refer equally to the American theology of " women's ekklèsia " and the works of Irigaray, not perceiving any conflict in so doing. In order to elucidate the position of Christian feminism in Québec, I put forth the hypothesis that feminist theories are first treated as strategic dialogues in view of modifying subjectivities, as in the construction of moveable places, which may belong to various epistemologies.
Irigaray and Isasi-Diaz : The Link Between Two Spiritual Universes
&endash; or the Convergence of Differences
This article endeavors to establish a commonality between two spheres of spirituality, that of Luce Irigaray and Hispano-American theologian, Ada-Maria Isasi-Diaz, with respect to the " coming together of difference " and with reference to the difference of emergence of each author. In the case of Irigaray, it is in the framework of the duality of the sexes, their alliance, that she proposes a plan of mixedness : to bring that about, women must themselves become " divine ", spiritually speaking that is to say. In the case of Isasi-Diaz, the state of being of " mixed heritage " inspires her vision of interaction between particularities, among Hispanic women themselves and within a context of social and cultural marginalisation, where popular religion is the venue for a relationship to the divine and within a quest for survival and liberation.
The Daughters of Émerentienne : the Mother-Daughter Relationship
as Divine Space in the Works of Luce Irigaray
An analysis of the mosaic covering the ceiling of the Basilica at Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré follows up on Luce Irigiray's affirmation of the pertinence of displaying images of Mary and Anne in an intentional practice of creating a space for women's being. This analysis attests to the ambiguity of this iconography ; the presence of elements liable to contribute to the search for women's own divinity embedded in a patriarchal vision in which the son usurps women's relation to their origins, to desire and to the divine. The disappointment provoked by this analysis opens another door, the possibility of conceiving of Irigaray's work as the fruit of healing talk through which a blessing which overcomes a curse allows the accomplishment of women's identity in and for itself.
Alexandra David-Néel's " Divine Becoming "
The model proposed by Irigaray for the " Divine Becoming " of women implies a feminine God who allows women access to an unlimited horizon beyond the limited universe of their life ; to connect with the divine in the same way as man to his God. Using this model, we wish to examine the writings of Alexandra David-Néel, French Orientalist and Buddhist, whose original works marked the beginning of the XXth century. On the one hand, we wish to examine the structure of the interiority, and the relation to the divine, of this woman who dares to remain poised between the enunciation of the Asian religious universe and ritualized gesture. On the other hand, we shall question ourselves as to the possibilities and limitations of the interpretation of the feminine divine suggested by Irigaray's model, as well as by her experience of the Oriental universe, in light of David-Néel's works.
Was Jesus Tried by the Sanhedrin ?
Jesus' appearance before Jewish authorities has long been debated. Was there really a trial or was it just a simple interrogation ? This is the question this article attempts to answer by dealing with some of the difficulties arising from Gospel accounts of the Jewish trial of Jesus, with the question regarding the juridicial competence of the sanhedrin and with the historical circumstances surrounding the formation of the Passion narratives. A hypothesis outlining the events following Jesus' arrest is finally put forth.
How do we Learn to Create a History of Religion?
The Example of Herodotus
This article proposes to see Herodotus of Halicarnassus (Vth century bce) not only as the " Father of History " but also as one of the distant ancestors of the religious sciences. A good part of its subject matter comes from the three affirmations at the beginning of his Historiai : " Herodotus of Halicarnassus presents herein the results of his enquiries, to ensure that time does not obliterate the works of men, and so that the great feats of the Greeks, and of the non-Greeks, are not forgotten ; and in particular he explains what brought these two peoples into conflict. "