Flesh Made Word: Medieval Women Mystics, Writing, and the Incarnation

Flesh Made Word: Medieval Women Mystics, Writing, and the Incarnation

by Emily A. Holmes


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For most of Christian history, the incarnation designated Christ as God made man. The obvious connection between God and the male body too often excluded women and the female body. In Flesh Made Word, Emily A. Holmes displays how medieval women writers expanded traditional theology through the incarnational practice of writing. Holmes draws inspiration for feminist theology from the writings of these medieval women mystics as well as French feminist philosophers of écriture féminine . The female body is then prioritized in feminist Christology, rather than circumvented. Flesh Made Word is a fresh, inclusive theology of the incarnation.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781602587533
Publisher: Baylor University Press
Publication date: 11/01/2013
Pages: 246
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Emily A. Holmes is Associate Professor, Department of Religion and Philosophy at Christian Brothers University and coauthor of Women, Writing, Theology: Transforming a Tradition of Exclusion. She lives in Memphis, Tennessee.

Table of Contents



Introduction, The Problem of Incarnation

1 Attending to Word and Flesh, An Inclusive Incarnation

2 Hadewijch of Brabant and the Mother of Love

3 Angela of Foligno Writing the Body of Christ

4 Writing Annihilation with Marguerite Porete

5 Transcendence Incarnate, Apophatic Bodies and the Apophatic Christ



What People are Saying About This

M. Shawn Copeland

Flesh Made Word brings medieval mystical writers and postmodern theorists into dialogue in order to demonstrate their relevance for a contemporary feminist theology and a theology of the incarnation. This is an engaging and elegant work of history and theology.

Ellen T. Armour

In clear and graceful prose, Holmes guides contemporary readers through the various ways that certain medieval women we’ve come to call ‘mystics’ gave textual flesh to divine love. She offers us resources for writing new incarnations of the theological for our own time and place. A rich mix of theory and practice, language and what exceeds it, the historical and the contemporary.

Kate Ott

It is a rare achievement for a text to embody what the author describes in theory. In Flesh Made Word, Emily Holmes joins medieval mystics Hadewijch, Angela, and Porete in writing as a practice of incarnation. Her engagement of feminist theorists, feminist and womanist theologians, and queer scholars is thorough, creative, and transformative. Each theoretically rich turn is grounded in the social impact of theologies of incarnation for her medieval subjects as well as contemporary ethical and spiritual practices.

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