Friday, November 19, 2004

The Christian Socrates is Female

Just for the record, here is further evidence to counter the assertion that Christianity is a male-dominated religion (should you need some... many here do).

At the fountainheads of both the Western and Eastern streams of Christianity, it needs be admitted, stand men. Augustine for the West, and the Cappadocian Fathers for the East. But while it is common knowledge that behind Augustine stood Monica (his mom) who "prayed him into the kingdom," as some like to put it; not as much is known about the parallel phenomenon in the East.

Yet, behind the intellectual powerhouse of the Cappadocians (who essentially wrote the Nicene Creed) there also stands a woman, Macrina - the sister of Basil and Gregory of Nyssa. In Nyssa's On the Soul and the Resurrection, which is the Christian answer answer to Plato's Phaedo, not only is Macrina, like Monica, revealed to be the spiritual force behind these very well educated men, but she's shown to be clearly smarter than them.

In the Phaedo, Socrates pontificates about death before he drinks the Hemlock. In On the Soul , Socrates has been replaced not by one of the Cappadocian fathers, but by, you guessed it, Macrina. She also pontificates about death, but rather than the separation of the soul from the body, posits their ultimate reunification in the physical resurrection, contra the Platonic tradition.

Now, could someone please go tell this to The Guerilla Girls?