Apophasis and Ecstasy, at the Limits of Gender

Please join the Department of Rhetoric for

Apophasis and Ecstasy, At the Limits of Gender

a lecture by
Amy Hollywood

Elizabeth H. Monrad Professor of Christian Studies, Harvard Divinity School

Monday, December 10, 2012
3:00 to 5:00 pm
370 Dwinelle

Introduction by Niklaus Largier (German and Comparative Literature)

Christian women write, and they write about religion. This might seem unexceptional, yet the fact that women have written over the course of the history of Christianity is surprising given the restrictions on women’s education and religious authority that emerge as early as the 1st century and continue to play a role in Christianity today. As if to harness the possibilities engendered by women’s writing, modern scholarship repeatedly describes women’s theological production as differing in significant ways from men’s. Why? What’s at stake in insisting on these differences? How might we complicate a distinction that associates erotic/affective forms of mysticism with women and speculative/intellective forms of mysticism with men? And how do texts by medieval women, particularly those of the thirteenth century Dutch-speaking beguine, Hadewijch, both exemplify and resist such categorizations?

Amy Hollywood is Elizabeth H. Monrad Professor of Christian Studies at Harvard Divinity School. She is the author of The Soul as Virgin Wife: Mechthild of Magdeburg, Marguerite Porete, and Meister Eckhart (University of Notre Dame Press, 1995), which received the Otto Grundler Prize for the best book in medieval studies from the International Congress of Medieval Studies;Sensible Ecstasy: Mysticism, Sexual Difference, and the Demands of History (University of Chicago Press, 2002); and, forthcoming from Columbia University Press, Acute Melancholia and Other Essays. She is also the co-editor, with Patricia Beckman, of The Cambridge Companion to Christian Mysticism (2012). Professor Hollywood’s current work explores the place of the mystical, often redescribed as enthusiasm, within modern philosophy, theology, and poetry.

Lights refreshments will be served.

Co-sponsored by the Townsend Center for the Humanities