• Sexually Transforming Salvation: a Reading of Luce Irigaray's Insistence on Sexual Difference

      Olthuis, James H.; VanderBerg, Natasja; Institute for Christian Studies (Institute for Christian Studies, 2005-12)
      This thesis suggests that Luce Irigaray's recent focus on spirituality in 'Luce Irigaray: key writings' makes explicit themes already suggested by her career-long insistence on the importance of sexual difference. It traces Irigaray's imagination of a dynamic, life-giving duality of sexual difference, suggesting that Irigaray's sexual difference displaces western philosophy's division between the natural and the spiritual; the earth and the sky; and mortals and the divine. In Irigaray's philosophy, cultivating sexual difference between men and women is the key to relinking the natural and the spiritual. This thesis calls this re-linking a religious task.Within this broad project, emphasis is placed on Irigaray's insistence that in order for sexual difference to be our redemption, women need to attend to creating a spiritual world appropriate to our own natural world. Indispensable to this project is the cultivation of a genealogy of mother-daughter relationships. This thesis explores this theme in Irigaray by discussing Drucilla Cornell's book, 'Legacies of dignity: between women and generations', as an Irigarayan genealogical exercise.This thesis also explores Irigaray's demand that western culture rethink its understanding of God. She suggests that we cultivate a sense of the divine as 'sensibly transcendent.' In order to highlight the distinction between Irigaray's divine and a monotheistic, transcendent God, this thesis turns to Patricia Huntington's article 'Contra Irigaray: the couple is not the middle term of the ethical whole.'The concluding chapter explores Irigaray's reworked notions of incarnation and salvation.Throughout these explorations, this thesis holds that Irigaray's re-integration of the natural and the spiritual will promote more ethical living -- with others, our selves, the earth and the divine.