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Divinity, Incarnation and Intersubjectivity: On Ethical Formation and Spiritual Practice



In what sense, if any, does the dominant conception of the traditional theistic God as disembodied inform our embodied experiences? Feminist philosophers of religion have been either explicitly or implicitly preoccupied by a philosophical failure to address such questions concerning embodiment and its relationship to the divine. To redress this failure, certain feminist philosophers have sought to appropriate Luce Irigaray’s argument that embodied divinity depends upon women themselves becoming divine. This article assesses weaknesses in the Irigarayan position, notably the problematic move from a woman’s subjectivity to divinity. In the light of these weaknesses the author looks for a better alternative. Drawing on the work of feminist and non-feminist philosophers, a feminist-friendly conception of theism is sketched in terms of incarnation and intersubjectivity. Philosophical accounts of the ethical formation of gendered subjects by way of bodily practices offer new concepts for confronting and transforming the discursive tradition of philosophy of religion. With these concepts, the formation of women’s collective historical experience within a tradition mediated by philosophical texts takes on new significance for feminist philosophy of religion.