Divine motherhood

“What if God is not Father but Mother, or both? What if God is not even a parental figure at all?”

Following the 2018 forum on divine fatherhood, we invited scholars from various disciplinary backgrounds, with expertise in various cultural and religious contexts, to reflect on this theme of divine motherhood. As Juliane Hammer and Vincent Lloyd describe, through the forum on divine fatherhood, “we found that there are multiple and complicated notions of fatherhood associated with the divine, as a model for domination, yes, but also as a responsibility to nurture, an obligation to question and disrupt power, and as far more than a father or not-father binary.” In this forum, we turn attention to the mothers, asking “does attending to various styles of conceptualizing and imaging divine motherhood offer a means to pivot away from domineering, patriarchal religion? Whether it is the language of divine motherhood around ecology or fairy godmothers, religious men depicted as mothers or proliferating images of the mother of God, whether it is in Hinduism or indigenous spiritual practices, attending to divine motherhood promises to refocus how we talk about religion and to do so in a way that follows a political and ethical imperative.”

Begin by reading the introduction to this forum, written by guest curators Juliane Hammer, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and editorial board member Vincent Lloyd, Villanova University.