Winter 2003
Volume 7 Number 2

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Anglican Scholar Illuminates Doctrine of the Trinity in Light of Gender

Sarah Coakley, a priest in the Church of England’s Diocese of Oxford and a professor at Harvard University Divinity School, gave the annual Stone Lectures (the oldest lectureship at PTS, established in 1871) this fall on the topic “God, Sexuality, and the Self: A Theology of the Trinity.” She described the theme of her lectures as “the messy entanglement of sexual desire and the desire for God.”

Sarah Coakley, Stone lecturer

She considered what she called “neglected perspectives” in her look at the foundations of the central Christian doctrine of the Trinity: “social and political factors, psychological desires, ritual accompaniments, and visual and imaginative assessments.” Using field work, textual analysis, and iconographic investigation, she brought to light “lost fragments” of a systematic understanding of the Trinity that address sexuality, gender, and power, and that posit, based on the contemplative tradition, a “vulnerability that evokes divine power not as violence, but in a way that does not obliterate the personal power sought by women, but sustains it.”

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last updated 01/12/04