Dorothee Solle's political theology of God: Liberation, feminism, mysticism

Nancy Marian Hawkins, Fordham University

Abstract

German political theology developed in the 1960's during a period of intense secularization for Western culture and religion. At this time the population of Europe was still adjusting to the devastation of World War II and the horrible reality of the Holocaust. Political theologians came to realize that it was essential to wrestle with the many questions of meaning being raised by the new post-war generation, especially the question of suffering. One political theologian who struggles with the problem of how to fashion a theology of God for the post-Auschwitz generation is Dorothee Sölle Early on in her theological career Sölle realized that the traditional image of God presented by classical theism is inadequate in the face of the massive public suffering of our century. Sölle fashions a specific critique of an omnipotent God who is utterly self-sufficient, unchanging, and incapable of suffering. ^ Sölle critiques the manner by which classical theism portrays God. She does so by exploring suffering in the post-Holocaust era, by mounting a feminist critique of patriarchal God-language, and by appropriating mystical theology. This dissertation argues that these three significant elements form the essence of Sölle's theology Sölle's particular combination of suffering, feminism, and mysticism theology of God its distinctive place in theological discourse. ^ With regard to suffering, Sölle asks how human pain can become God's pain and how God's pain is expressed in human pain. She believes that the Jewish concept of the shekinah, along with the crucified Jesus presents an immanent God who is with human beings in their suffering. Being a feminist theologian, Sölle seeks to liberate the symbol of God from patriarchal God-language which serve to support the claims of classical theism. Through the avenue of mysticism Sölle continues her political critique of the attribute of God's omnipotence. Mystical theology, especially the Sermons of Meister Eckhart, offer natural and poetic language with which to name God. This dissertation demonstrates that the elements of suffering, feminism, and mysticism function in unison to support Sölle's critique of a God who is all-powerful, impassable, and immutable. ^

Subject Area

Theology

Recommended Citation

Nancy Marian Hawkins, "Dorothee Solle's political theology of God: Liberation, feminism, mysticism" (January 1, 1999). ETD Collection for Fordham University. Paper AAI9926900.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI9926900

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