Gender and the Divine Presence: An Examination of the Shekinah, the Holy Spirit, and Lady Wisdom
This thesis addresses the question of whether or not a connection might exist between the femaleness of God and the presence of God. The Shekinah, the Holy Spirit, and Lady Wisdom have been chosen as the subjects of this research in that they each denote depictions of God as female as well as God active among humankind. Primary texts include the Protestant canon, the Apocrypha, and Targumic literature. Each of these texts is examined by the methodologies of historical and feminist criticism in order to draw conclusions regarding gender and the divine presence. Having studied both the grammatical gender and imagery surrounding each of these three, that a connection does indeed exist between God as female and God as active in the world is certain. However, this connection is not an exclusive one. A balance exists between female and male imagery for God, including how God interacts with the creation. This has various theological and sociological implications. This conclusion is a call for believers to embrace the Trinitarian God as both equally female and male in teaching, preaching, prayer, etc. Other ramifications include embracing the wealth of imagery for God offered by the Old Testament and introducing feminine pronouns for God in addition to the predominant masculine.