Josephine Butler, esoteric Christianity and the biblical motherhood of God

Styler, Rebecca (2018) Josephine Butler, esoteric Christianity and the biblical motherhood of God. Journal of Religion and Literature . ISSN 0888-3769

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Item Type:Article
Item Status:Live Archive

Abstract

This article addresses feminist campaigner and radical theologian Josephine Butler, who explored the idea of God as a mother in her late writings. For Butler, the metaphor of divine motherhood symbolised universal salvation, social transformation in the spirit of apocalyptic feminism, and divine immanence within the material and social worlds, including animal souls and inorganic phenomena. Her letters and her published works – including The Lady of Shunem and her privately printed ‘The Morning Cometh’ – are contextualised among the religious writings of Christian Theosophists such as John Pulsford, Elizabeth Charles, Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland, by whom she was influenced. As well as showing Butler to have had more unorthodox religious ideas and connections than has been recognised, the article presents a late-nineteenth-century tradition of maternal theology, based on Christian sources and scripture.

Keywords:Christian Theosophy, Feminist theology, Victorian religion, The Lady of Shunem, Elizabeth Charles, John Pulsford, Motherhood
Subjects:L Social studies > L216 Feminism
Q Linguistics, Classics and related subjects > Q320 English Literature
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V144 Modern History 1800-1899
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V600 Theology and Religious studies
Divisions:College of Arts > School of English & Journalism > School of English & Journalism (English)
ID Code:26583
Deposited On:03 Mar 2017 09:13

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