Gender as a divine attribute

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It is standard within the Christian tradition to characterize God in predominantly masculine terms. Let ‘traditionalism’ refer to the view that this pattern of characterization is theologically mandatory. In this article, I seek to undercut the main motivations for traditionalism by showing that it is not more accurate to characterize God as masculine rather than feminine (or vice versa). The novelty of my argument lies in the fact that it presupposes neither theological anti-realism nor a robust doctrine of divine transcendence, but instead rests heavy theoretical weight on the imago Dei doctrine and the method of perfect-being theology. The article closes by examining the implications of the article's main argument for the moral and liturgical propriety of characterizing God in predominantly masculine terms.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-115
Number of pages19
JournalReligious Studies
Issue number1
Early online date5 Feb 2015
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2016


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