The Feminine Genius of Catholic Theology introduces Catholic doctrine through the crucible of the women mystics’ reception of the gospel. The work of the great women theologians of the Church’s second millennium has too often been neglected—or relegated to the category of “mysticism”—in textbooks on Catholic doctrine. This is a shame, because their work shows the interior conjunction of liturgical experience, scriptural exegesis, philosophical reflection, and doctrinal and creedal formulation.
Women theologians in this book include Catherine of Siena, Teresa of Avila, Therese of Lisieux, Simone Weil and others. Drawing on their work, Matthew Levering presents the tenets of Catholic faith in a clear and accessible manner, useful for introductory courses as well as for students and scholars interested in the contributions of women to Catholic theology.
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Explore the Works of St. Teresa of Avila for more writings from a female theologian and Doctor of the Church.
“Since the starting point of Catholic theology is not pure rationality but faith in Jesus Christ, crucified and risen from the dead, saints are the true theologians. Their lives reveal that they have grasped the mystery of salvation. If anyone can introduce Catholic theology, surely they can. With the saints, we must become ‘feminine’ or receptive in relation to God rather than imagining ourselves to be self-sufficient.” (Page 2)
“As creatures on a journey, we cannot remain stable. God’s providence ensures that the universe in general and all his human creatures receive what is needed for the journey to the new creation.” (Page 48)
“When God loves rational creatures into existence, he does so with the end or goal of supremely sharing his beatitude with us through deification.” (Page 17)
“All bodies will be beautiful, but beauty will be measured primarily in spiritual terms. Our risen bodies will be translucent to our souls, and the spiritual health of our souls will appear through our bodies. The bodies that have brightness will be those of the saints. While the saints will shine with spiritual beauty, the damned will have dull bodies that will lack inner illumination.” (Page 136)
“‘The ‘I am’ means: I live, I know, I will, I love—and all this not in the manner of a successive or coordinated series of temporal acts, but in the perfect unity of the eternally one divine act in which all the diverse significations of act—actual being, living presence, perfect being, intellectual striving, free activity—absolutely coincide.’” (Page 22)
The ‘feminine genius’ is a popular phrase in theological parlance but it is rarely given much content. Matthew Levering has managed not only to give it content, but to explain the basic themes in Catholic theology with reference to the contributions of great female saints and theologians. The Feminine Genius of Catholic Theology should be on the reading lists of all Catholic schools and Liberal Arts Colleges.
—Tracey Rowland, dean, John Paul II Institute, Melbourne, Australia
[Levering] knows his sources really well, and shows real skill in laying out their ideas . . . he has produced a book on the ‘feminine genius’ of Catholic women, and it is nice to have their contribution to theology acknowledged so generously.