Irigaray’s Madonna

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Journal Article

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Kelso, J. (2015). Irigaray’s Madonna. Feminist Theology, 23(2), 171-185.

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Copyright © The Author 2015

2015 HERDC submission




In this essay, I argue that Luce Irigaray’s recent, seemingly esoteric readings of the Madonna, actually provide us with a constructive, perhaps even politically progressive, interpretive mode for engaging with the religious texts and figures of our tradition as women. As such, I argue that through her own specific interpretive practice Irigaray provides us with a new image of Mary, and this new Madonna figures the very interrelational interpretive practice that Irigaray believes essential when it comes to our engagements with the (religious) texts of our tradition. Irigaray’s Madonna is an ethical listener, interpreter and exchanger of ‘sacred’ discourse and it is this aspect of Mary that warrants our allegiance. To imitate Mary is to practice reading, listening, and interpreting in the feminine, practices that can aid us in our ‘becoming spiritual’, which in Irigarayan terms is another way of saying ‘becoming woman’.

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