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Durham e-Theses
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"Gender in British Behmenist thought"

Gibbons, Brian John (1993) "Gender in British Behmenist thought". Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



In the early modern period, women were commonly regarded as unruly and morally suspect beings. During the period, however, there was a revision in the moral status of women. Behmenism is representative of the process whereby women were raised to the status of morally elevating beings. In Jacob Boehme's theosophy, both the godhead and prelapsarian man have a feminine element, the Virgin Sophia; women are a sort of fallen counterpart to Sophia. The emphasis of early Behmenists, such as John Pordage, was on Sophia's passivity and chastity. Some Behmenists, notably Richard Roach, advanced the notion of women’s special eschatological role, based on their relationship to Sophia. Others, such as William Law, were more conservative in their attitude to women. By the mid- eighteenth century, Behmenism as a movement disappears, but traces of Boehme's thought can still be found in several writers of the period. By this time, there is less emphasis on both chastity and the other-worldly feminine principle. Relationships between the sexes tend to be regarded as sacramental, and women are seen as performing a morally elevating role in life.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Date:1993
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:16 Nov 2012 10:56

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