Tuesday, August 22, 2006

"Sex with God" call for papers!

It used to be that medievalists, by virtue of the religious nature of the literature they dealt with, were immune from this kind of pseudo-scholarship. But the feminists have pushed their big "bodies" into this sacred ground as well.

From: Marla Segol
Sent: Mon 8/7/2006 2:05 PMTo: CFP@english.upenn.edu

Subject: CFP: Sex with God: Monotheism and the Eroticized Framing of the Human-Divine relation (9/15/06; Kalamazoo, SMFS, 5/10/07-5/13/07)

Call for Paper Abstracts, proposal deadline: September 15

Session:Sex with God: monotheism and the eroticized framing of the human-divine relation

Sponsored by the Society for Medieval Feminist Scholarship42nd International Congress on Medieval StudiesWestern Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MIMay 10-13, 2007

This panel will explore the ways in which the human-divine relationship is imagined through the gendered, transgendered, and sexualized human body, and the cultural currents and contradictions informing this relation.Specifically, we will work to conceptualize the ways in which an eroticized framing of the human-divine relation calls attention to problems of embodiment within the Western religious traditions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) in the medieval period. These problems are based in the shared conception that human beings are created in the divine image. Earlier medieval traditions in some of these faiths attest to literal interpretations of this doctrine, so that there is clear documentary evidence of some belief that God had a body, and that this body was imagined to resemble the human body. By the high middle ages, these beliefs were strained as developing monotheistic notions of God actively disputed these earlier traditions to assert that the divine is unified, incorporeal, and radically different from and incomprehensible to human beings. This kind of philosophical monotheism worked in part to devalue the human body, and to limit its use for relation to divine. As the intellectual climate changed throughout Europe, religious devotees accepted the limitations placed on the body, but at the same time they also developed a sexualized terminology for framing the human relation to God. For this panel we are looking specifically for papers that theorize the cultural currents and contradictions embedded in the eroticized framing of human-divine relations.Papers should be 15-20 minutes in length, and might address issues such as :

The impact of rationalist philosophy in the conceptualization of embodied, eroticized religious experience

The gendered divine body and its relation to the gendered human body

Medieval monotheisms and their treatment of divine gender

The function of imaginative transgendering in eroticized conceptualization of the human-divine relation

Or others focusing on the cultural work done by eroticized human-divine relation in religious thoughtProposal abstracts should be no more than 300 words, and must bereceived by September 15th.

Please email to:Marla Segol
Or by post to:Marla SegolDepartment of Philosophy and ReligionSkidmore College815 North BroadwaySaratoga Springs, NY 12866-1632

Oh, dear, I can only wonder if and when this line of thinking will make it to my seminary at Emory. Worse, it may already be there and I just haven't been paying much attention to my alumni mail.
Come to think of it, if some at Candler Theology have gone off this deep end then they probably won't be terribly public about it. Just look at some of the nonsense the Presbyterian Church's national body has gotten into (reimagining the feminine divine, or some such). Don't get me started on that!
Yeah, it makes my head hurt to think about twisting my mind around all these concepts.
Loving God with our whole being, of course we're going to have sex with Him.
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