Reading Sex and Gender in the Secret Revelation of John
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CitationKing,Karen L. Reading Sex and Gender in the Secret Revelation of John. The Journal of Early Christian Studies 19, no.4:519-538.
AbstractThe Secret Revelation of John is replete with imagery of the divine Mother alongside the Father God and his Son Christ. It boasts of powerful female saviors—and even identifies Christ among them. Eve is not the cause of humankind’s fall, but of its redemption. The sexual intercourse of Adam and Eve marks not original sin, but a step toward salvation. Yet readers find, too,an idealized divine world in the pattern of the ancient patriarchal household,and a portrait of another female figure, Sophia, whose bold and independent action leads to a fatherless world headed by a sexually violent and deviant
bastard. The complexity of this imagery, nestled in a story that operates with oppositional strategies and parody, ensures that no single monolithic perspective on sex/gender will rule—and indeed it opens up a crack where it is possible that the wise-fool Sophia is more completely the hero of the story than one might think. This essay aims to explore the complexities of SRJ’s representation of gender and the implications of their strategic deployments.
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