Could a woman become a gnostic? Clement of Alexandria on femininity and masculinity of human soul
Eastern Theological Journal 8 (2022) 2, 165-180
Introduction; Clement’s respect for women, femininity and marriage; Divine femininity; Femininity of the human soul; He who does not become feminine does not grow into a man; Conclusion
In the works of Clement of Alexandria we can find various and seemingly contradictory statements about womanhood and femininity. What does this patristic author mean when he speaks, on the one hand, of the natural subordination and inferiority of woman to man in all areas of life and of the possible perfection of woman through her transformation into man, and, on the other hand, says that man is to imitate God’s femininity? What does Clement understand by the femininity and masculinity of the human soul, and in what sense does he consider the human soul to be genderneutral? According to Clement’s theology, is the human soul a bride? And if so, who is her bridegroom? These are the questions that this article attempts to answer.