cover image Women and the Gender of God

Women and the Gender of God

Amy Peeler. Eerdmans, $24.99 trade paper (286p) ISBN 978-0-8028-7909-7

Peeler (You Are My Son), professor of New Testament theology at Wheaton College, delivers a thoughtful exploration of the complex ways Christian scripture genders God. Peeler argues that a close reading of the Bible emphasizing the relationships between God, Mary, and Jesus “resist[s] any portrayal of a sexualized male deity.” The author contends that God is not exclusively masculine, noting that the Holy Spirit’s “linguistic representation is feminine in Hebrew” and that God causes Mary’s pregnancy without intercourse. God values the feminine, Peeler suggests, as demonstrated by God entrusting Mary to tell God’s story in her ministry and by the incarnation’s “radical affirmation concerning the female body’s proximity to holiness.” The author points out the complex gender dynamics of the gospels’ depiction of Jesus and calls Jesus “unlike any other naturally conceived male” because Jesus was birthed from a woman without contribution from a man. Peeler’s close reading of the New Testament and finely tuned theological arguments are excitingly unconventional. Additionally, the author’s assertion of what could be understood as the gender fluidity of God and Jesus will stimulate scholars at the intersection of Christian theology and queer theory. This deeply nuanced study finds fresh meaning in the incarnation. (Oct.)