"the first part"
"Theophrastus" has been conversing with several of us about some of the terms used by the "Christian Godde Project" and particularly about the new English proper nouns, Godde and Christa. He has said (in the context of one conversation in particular) the following:
By supporting her translation, you are indicating that you are comfortable with "Godde" having a gender. The only debate is does "Godde" have a penis or a vagina?And
And, Suzanne, if you so easily favor making arbitrary changes to language, what do you think about her use of the word "Christa"?And
The "God of the Philosophers" (e.g. Maimonides, Aquinas, Averroes) is impassible and non-anthropomorphic. Shawna [Atteberry, one of the team members of the Project] teaches idolatry.And
Note also that her translation is called The Divine Feminine Version (which even in its title assigns a gender to "Godde") and her trinity is "The Mother, The Christa, and the Divine Feminine Spirit."
"the second part"
What should be very obvious to all of us is that Theophrastus was one of Aristotle's disciples. The blogger who has used his name as his very own nom de guerre has subtitled his blog, "What I've learned from Aristotle." So when we think about Theophrastus and then Aristotle, we have to keep in mind the language and the people and the correspondences and how these fly with our help into various directions.
To help us with this is one of the world's best philosophers, Catherine Z. Elgin. She has said this helpful thing:
This quotation is from Elgin's books, Nelson Goodman's Theory of Symbols and its Applications and Between the Absolute and the Arbitrary, but I once quoted her here just to make the points she's making. Now I'm making the points that proper nouns in English are useful for us. The blogger Theophrastus could have never named himself as he's done without this ridiculous transliteration Aristotle, which the real Aristotle would have called absolutely bar-bar-ic, except he would have used the term, βαρβαρισμός·Aristotle, of course, was not named "Aristotle"; the name he went by had a different pronunciation and a different spelling. So the claim that our use continues the chain that began with his being baptized "Aristotle" needs refinement. Then there is the worry that chains that originate in a single stipulation may later diverge. In that case a term has two different reference classes despite its link to a single introducing event.... Ambiguity occurs because correction... allows for alternative continuations of the causal chain.... Each continues the chain, but the two uses of the word... are not coextensive. Nor do we always succeed in referring to what our predecessors did, even when we intend to do so.
What Elgin has written a couple of places about the name Aristotle, and how we use it (incorrectly, barbarously) with precision, is exactly what Adele Berlin has said about the name Abraham. Let's just recall that in Hebrew this name means "father." Yes, it means more than that. And we read his story, that narrative about him, in Genesis to get all of that. Is that all we get? Even if we only read Genesis and only read it in Hebrew, is that all we get? No. And then there's this other thing to consider, like one spouse has to consider the other. For better or for worse, we get "Abraham" in translation. And then we really do get less. And then we get more. Residue! But enough of this nonsense. Let's listen again to Adele Berlin:
Above all we must keep in mind that narrative is a form of representation. Abraham in Genesis is not a real person any more than the painting of an apple is real fruit.I once tried to picture, to represent all of that, here. But, to be absolutely accurate and not to mis-quote or to mis-represent anything, let me point you to her book where you can best find, exactly, what Adele Berlin has said in the precise context in which she said it: the book Poetics and Interpretation of Biblical Narrative. After all, "Above all we must" is such a really absolute statement.
This might prepare us, finally, after all, to consider "God." Is it a gender-less representation in narrative? Does God "have" gender?
Does God have "hardness"? Now, I'm thinking about the Mohs hardness scale, which we all learned as children. In the Bible God is a "rock."
Does God have "wings"? Does God make a "shadow"? These are biblical re-presentations.
Are these idols?
And what is "narrative" after all?
Well, what if my body is sexed female? What is narrative then?
And what if my body sexed female is also raced Jewish? What is narrative then?
And what if my body, because it is sexed female and is raced Jewish, finds itself behind electrified fences? What is narrative then?
And then where would "God" be?
These are some questions asked and answered by Olga Lengyel, Lucie Adelsberger, Bertha Ferderber-Salz and Sara Nomberg-Przytyk. God in Auschwitz-Birkenau, they tell Melissa Raphael, a narrative writer, has a female face. This is what they've lived, where they've been, who they've seen. But all we have to go on, to believe them, is this book, these words, that representation, called The Female Face of God in Auschwitz: A Jewish Feminist Theology of the Holocaust.
We could call it idolatrous, if our own language and representations are other-wise. Or we might just listen.