Chapter

Sexual Desire, Divine Desire; Or, Queering the Beguines

Amy Hollywood

in Toward a Theology of Eros

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print January 2007 | ISBN: 9780823226351
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823236718 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5422/fso/9780823226351.003.0006

Series: Transdisciplinary Theological Colloquia

Sexual Desire, Divine Desire; Or, Queering the Beguines

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A number of literary and cultural scholars have recently turned to texts by or about women to uncover possible homoeroticism within the metaphoric structures of women's own writings or in the practices ascribed to women or female characters within male- and female-authored literary and religious documents. Karma Lochrie, for example, looks to a number of medieval devotional texts and images in which Christ's bloody side wound becomes a locus of desire. Lochrie argues that the complex interplay of gender and sexuality in medieval texts and images effectively queers simple identifications of sex, gender, and/or sexuality. Caroline Walker Bynum insists on the feminization of Christ, providing a locus for female identification with the divine as well as protecting the divine-human relationship from even metaphorical sexualization. This chapter explores the fascinatingly fluid, culturally transgressive erotic subjectivities emerging in the recorded visions of female medieval mystics Mechthild of Magdeburg, Hadewijch, and Marguerite Porete, who represent themselves, respectively, as a bride of Christ, a knight errant in love, and a female Soul seeking erotic union with a feminized divinity.

Keywords: Karma Lochrie; Mechthild of Magdeburg; Hadewijch; Marguerite Porete; mystics; gender; sexuality; homoeroticism; feminization; Christ

Chapter.  5271 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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