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The Maternal Face of God?

The Maternal Face of God?

Explorations in Catholic Sophiology

By István Cselényi

234 pp

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About the Book

As generally conceived, God has a masculine character, as do also the three Persons of the Holy Trinity—Father, Son, Holy Spirit. But already in the Old Testament we find feminine aspects of the Divinity in the concept of the Hokhmah-Sophia—“I am the mother of fair love” (Sirach 24:24)—and the Ruach—“The Ruach Yahweh was floating over the waters” (Genesis 1:2). Further, we find between these two a mutuality, even identity, in the Holy Spirit understood as “The Spirit of Wisdom” (Deut. 3:1). This Holy Spirit has feminine aspects also in the New Testament, as seen in such significant signs as, for instance, at the Baptism in the Jordan, where the dove (peristera, columba) is a symbol of maternity, and in John 3:6, where it is made clear that the new, divine life in humankind is delivered by the Holy Spirit: “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” The Spirit bears us anew, and in this function may be understood as Mother. It is to the recovery of this maternal image of the Spirit that Prof. Cselényi dedicates this book.


“The Maternal Face of God? could not have appeared at a more important time, as throughout its pages Fr. Cselényi makes the compelling case for a theology that articulates a clear and refreshing understanding of the relationship of the Divine Feminine to the Trinity, and an ontology that affirms the goodness of Creation.”


author of The Submerged Reality: Sophiology and the Turn to a Poetic Metaphysics

About the Author

István Cselényi, Ph.D., C.S.C., corresponding member of St. Thomas Academy, Rome, is a Byzantine Catholic priest, a professor emeritus of the Faculty of Pedagogy of Vitéz János Roman Catholic Teacher’s College, and an internationally renowned scholar, having published 12 previous monographs on theological subjects in Hungarian and Italian. The Maternal Face of God? is his first translation into English.

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