The Divine Feminine in Biblical Wisdom Literature: Selections Annotated & Explained


The pure and penetrating message of the Divine Feminine?Wisdom?can become a companion for your own spiritual journey

The first of God?s creations and God?s endless delight, Wisdom (also known as Chochma and Sophia) is the Mother of all life, the guide to right living?She is God manifest in the world you encounter moment to moment. Her teachings, embedded in the Holy Scriptures of Jews and Christians, are passionate, powerful calls to live in ...

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The Divine Feminine in Biblical Wisdom: Selections Annotated & Explained

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The pure and penetrating message of the Divine Feminine—Wisdom—can become a companion for your own spiritual journey

The first of God’s creations and God’s endless delight, Wisdom (also known as Chochma and Sophia) is the Mother of all life, the guide to right living—She is God manifest in the world you encounter moment to moment. Her teachings, embedded in the Holy Scriptures of Jews and Christians, are passionate, powerful calls to live in harmony, love with integrity and act joyously.

Through the Hebrew books of Psalms, Proverbs, Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes and Job, and the Wisdom literature books of Sirach and the Wisdom of Solomon, the Divine Femininespeaks to you directly, and Her only desire is to teach you to become wise. Rami Shapiro’s contemporary translations and powerful commentaries clarify who Wisdom is, what She teaches, and how Her words can help you live justly, wisely and with compassion. This is not a book about Wisdom but the voice of Wisdom Herself, liberating, uplifting and compelling.

Now you can experience the Divine Feminine and understand Her teachings with no previous knowledge of Wisdom literature. This SkyLight Illuminations edition presents insightful commentary that explains Sophia’s way of wisdom and illustrates the countless opportunities to experience Her creative energy through which God fashions all things.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Collects the best biblical passages affirming the Divine Feminine, translates them beautifully and gives us a careful nuanced discussion of each of them.... A fine textbook resource for courses or study groups."
Stevan Davies, author of The Gospel of Thomas: Annotated & Explained; professor of religious studies, College Misericordia

"The timeless heart of Wisdom Herself, a modern day Tao Te Ching that is accessible to any person, from any background, interested in authentic spiritual illumination. A book to treasure all the days of your life, a living teaching with the power to awaken you to clear seeing and right action."
Joan Borysenko, PhD, author of A Woman's Journey to God

“Sung with sweet authority from within the embrace of Mother Wisdom…. A luminous and deeply moving love song.”
Dr. Judith Simmer-Brown, professor of religious studies, Naropa University; author of Dakini's Warm Breath: The Feminine Principle in Tibetan Buddhism

“Unmasks the Divine Feminine…. Rami Shapiro’s selection of passages from the Wisdom literature and his personal reflections bring us face to face with the Mother of all life…. Expands our hearts and transforms the limits of our interior landscape.”
Jo-Ann Iannotti, OP, Wisdom House Retreat Center, Litchfield, Connecticut

“Rami Shapiro’s selection and elucidation of scripture is personally fearless and profoundly faithful to the truth and wisdom we all need in our lives.”
Oriah Mountain Dreamer, author of The Invitation and What We Ache For

“A book to ponder and savor…. Offers articulate, rich text that engages the reader from the first word. Will enrich your spiritual journey and inspire you to pray for the gift of Wisdom for yourself.”
Sr. Bernadette Marie Teasdale, SCL, Contemplative Outreach of Colorado

Spirituality & Health - Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

"You are intimate with Wisdom. She has known you from the beginning. You cannot hide frorn Her. On the contrary, you can take refuge in Her. This is what She offers you. You do not have to earn Her love or be other than you are. No pretense with Her; she knows you and loves you for who you are—Herself " writes Rabbi Rami Shapiro (Hasidic Tales: Annotated & Explained) in this salutary and enlightening work. These teachings of Mother Wisdorn are from the Psalms, Proverbs, Job, the Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes and the Greek texts, the Wisdom of Solomon and the Wisdom of Jesus Ben Sirach.

In both Hebrew and Greek, the original language of these texts, Chochma and Sophia are feminine nouns. "She is Mother, God's consort and bride, the Divine Feminine through which God created the wild and wonderful world"—Shapiro. As the Rev. Cynthia Bourgeault points out in the forerword, sees these teachings of the Hebrew Bible as taking their place "within the deeper Wisdom of humanity, adding their individual voices to the universal message since time immemorial: Only through the transformation of the heart can humankind arrive at a stable and enduring peace." It's also a good thing that a man has taken it upon himself to trace the comings and goings of the Divine Feminine, given the long and dark period of male chauvinism that has desperately tried to silence Mother Wisdom's anti-establishment and non-hierarchical emphases. Of course, Andrew Harvey has for years done pioneer work in proclaiming the activities of Mother in all Her forms.

"Wisdom is not aloof. She is a player, a dancer, a celebrator of life and the One who manifests it. She is a source of delight and delight itself. To be wise is to delight in creation," writes Shapiro. There is a playfulness to the Divine Feminine which is evident in these passages and in the author's commentaries. Here is just one line to illustrate what we mean: "Wisdom is the doing of God—a flower is not Wisdom but flowering is." Don't get caught up in trying to figure out the attributes or the whys behind the actions of the Mother. Try to attune your life to her rhythms, and you will live all your days as an adventure.

Another example of playfulness: "The sage doesn't explain why things are; the sage simply engages what is. Why is beside the point. A stranger throws a stone at your head. You duck; you don't ask why. Later you may indulge in why, but the moment itself requires action. Why does God test you? Because it is God's nature to manifest moments of giving and moments of taking away and there is nothing that you or God can do about it." Go with the flow and don't try to figure things out: that is for fools.

What devotion does Wisdom require? She wants us to put Her above having our way in everything—a hard nut to crack in and of itself. The Mother challenges us to let Her work through us, or as Shapiro puts it: "You are the breath of God. You are the way God is aware of God in the immediacy of your life. You are the way God feeds the hungry, clothes the naked, frees the wrongly imprisoned. You are the way God brings justice, mercy and humility to life. But because you want to be more, you end up being less; the way God brings honor, hate and holocaust to every corner of the globe." This is an important aspect of the Sacred Feminine, and it is our assignment as sages. One of the most exciting messages of this paperback is that there is another high and holy calling for us to consider. Sages of the world unite, there is much justice work to be done!

The MidWest Book Review

Students of the Bible who wish a survey of feminist teachings in biblical literature will find a fine survey which provides explanations of Sophia's way of wisdom in THE DIVINE FEMININE IN BIBLICAL WISDOM LITERATURE: Selections Annotated & Explained with facing-page commentary. Readers may be surprised to learn there is a feminine aspect to the Old Testament, and may not know about Wisdom Literature: Wisdom Literature combines four Hebrew books of the Old Testament with two Greek texts and provides passages which are excellent commentaries on feminine aspects of spiritual traditions.


The first of God's creations and God's endless delight, Wisdom (or Chochma, Sophia) is the Mother of all life, the guide to right living. She is God manifest in the world you encounter moment to moment. Her teachings, embedded in the Holy Scriptures of Jews and Christians, are passionate, powerful calls to live in harmony, love with integrity and act joyously.

Rabbi Rami Shapiro, one of the outstanding leaders in the field of modern spirituality brings us contemporary translations and insightful commentaries of passages from Psalms, Proverbs, Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes, Job and the Wisdom literature in the Apocrypha. Rabbi Shapiro has contributed many books to the growing literature in the area of modern spirituality—many text based—with his uniquely styled comments and personal translations. His mastery of English and Hebrew enables him to render the ancient words in ways that bring light and inspiration.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781594731099
  • Publisher: Jewish Lights Publishing
  • Publication date: 8/1/2005
  • Series: SkyLight Illuminations Series, #16
  • Edition description: ANN
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 1,557,497
  • Product dimensions: 5.58 (w) x 8.56 (h) x 0.61 (d)

Meet the Author

Rami Shapiro, a renowned teacher of spirituality across faith traditions and a noted theologian, is a popular speaker on the topics of religion, theology and spirituality. He is author of the award-winning The Sacred Art of Lovingkindness: Preparing to Practice; Recovery—The Sacred Art: The Twelve Steps as Spiritual Practice and Hasidic Tales: Annotated and Explained; among other books.

Rami Shapiro is available to speak on the following topics:

  • Writing—The Sacred Art: Beyond the Page to Spiritual Practice
  • Stop Playing God: 12 Steps as Spiritual Practice
  • Biblical Wisdom for Post-biblical Times: An Exploration of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Job
  • The Sacred Art of Lovingkindness: Cultivating Compassion in Daily Life
  • Hasidic Wisdom: An Exploration of Hasidic Storytelling, Theology and Contemplative Practice
  • Saints and Sages: Biblical Prophets, Ancient Rabbis and the Building of a Just World

Rev. Cynthia Bourgeault, PhD, is an Episcopal priest and retreat leader focusing in Christian Spirituality. She is principal teacher for the Contemplative Society in Victoria, British Columbia, and founding director of the Aspen Wisdom School in Aspen, Colorado. Her books include Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening, The Wisdom Way of Knowing, Encountering the Wisdom Jesus, Mystical Hope and Love Is Stronger than Death. She serves on the core faculty for the Spiritual Paths Foundation whose mission is to promote curiosity, respect and acceptance between people of diverse spiritual traditions.

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Cynthia Bourgeault
The Song of Songs as the Holy of Holies
God's Daughter
Wisdom as the Divine Feminine
Back to the Garden
From Eve to the Shulamite
Through My Flesh I See God
The Song of Songs as Jewish Maithuna

Chapter One
Chapter Two
Chapter Three
Chapter Four
Chapter Five
Chapter Six
Chapter Seven
Chapter Eight

The Path of Ecstasy: How to Use the Song of Songs
Notes to Front and Back Matter

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