CFP: Sex with God: Monotheism and the Eroticized Framing of the Human-Divine relation (9/15/06; Kalamazoo, SMFS, 5/10/07-5/13/0

full name / name of organization: 
Marla Segol
contact email: 

Call for Paper Abstracts, proposal deadline: September 15

Sex with God: monotheism and the eroticized framing of the human-
divine relation
Sponsored by the Society for Medieval Feminist Scholarship
42nd International Congress on Medieval Studies
Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI
May 10-13, 2007

Sex with God: monotheism and the eroticized framing of the human-
divine relation (9/15/06; Kalamazoo, SMFS, 5/10/07-5/13/07)
This panel will explore the ways in which the human-divine
relationship is imagined through the gendered, transgendered, and
sexualized human body, and the cultural currents and contradictions
informing this relation.

Specifically, we will work to conceptualize the ways in which an
eroticized framing of the human-divine relation calls attention to
problems of embodiment within the Western religious traditions
(Judaism, Christianity, Islam) in the medieval period. These
problems are based in the shared conception that human beings are
created in the divine image. Earlier medieval traditions in some of
these faiths attest to literal interpretations of this doctrine, so
that there is clear documentary evidence of some belief that God had
a body, and that this body was imagined to resemble the human body.
By the high middle ages, these beliefs were strained as developing
monotheistic notions of God actively disputed these earlier
traditions to assert that the divine is unified, incorporeal, and
radically different from and incomprehensible to human beings. This
kind of philosophical monotheism worked in part to devalue the human
body, and to limit its use for relation to divine. As the
intellectual climate changed throughout Europe, religious devotees
accepted the limitations placed on the body, but at the same time
they also developed a sexualized terminology for framing the human
relation to God. For this panel we are looking specifically for
papers that theorize the cultural currents and contradictions
embedded in the eroticized framing of human-divine relations.

Papers should be 15-20 minutes in length, and might address issues
such as :

The impact of rationalist philosophy in the conceptualization of
embodied, eroticized religious experience

The gendered divine body and its relation to the gendered human body

Medieval monotheisms and their treatment of divine gender

The function of imaginative transgendering in eroticized
conceptualization of the human-divine relation

Or others focusing on the cultural work done by eroticized human-
divine relation in religious thought

Proposal abstracts should be no more than 300 words, and must be
received by September 15th. Please email to:

Marla Segol:

Or by post to:
Marla Segol
Department of Philosophy and Religion
Skidmore College
815 North Broadway
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866-1632

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Received on Fri Aug 11 2006 - 15:27:56 EDT