The Christian Goddess: Archetype and Theology in the Fantasies of George MacDonald ePub (Adobe DRM) download by Bonnie Gaarden

The Christian Goddess: Archetype and Theology in the Fantasies of George MacDonald

Fairleigh Dickinson University Press
Publication date: April 2011
ISBN: 9781611470093
Digital Book format: ePub (Adobe DRM)

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The Christian Goddess: Archetype and Theology in the Fantasies of George MacDonald examines the British Victorian writer's employment of female figures to represent Deity. Such symbolism is extremely unusual for a Christian author of this period andanticipates the efforts of many modern theologians to develop an image of God as Mother. Bonnie Gaarden reads the goddess-figures in MacDonald's fantasies as both archetypes of the collective unconscious and as emblems articulating MacDonald's unique Christian theology, which is Trinitarian, Neo-Platonic, mystical, and universalist. The goddesses become the central figures around which the author develops her interpretations of MacDonald's adult fantasy-novels, his children's books, and some of his fairytales. These readings discover MacDonald's ideas about God and the nature of good and evil, models of spiritual and psychological development that foreshadow the theories of Carl Jung and Erich Neumann, and acerbic commentary on the values and customs ofVictorian society and religion. According to The Christian Goddess, MacDonald's Romantic belief in God's self-revelation in Nature led him to create Nature-mothers (such as the Green Lady in "The Golden Key" and Lilith's Eve) which evoke both the Great Mother archetype described by Erich Neumann and the modern neopagan Great Mother as developed in the works of James Frazer, Robert Graves, and Marija Gimbutas. MacDonald dramatized his view of evil and its cure in the title character of Lilith, a Terrible Mother archetype historically embodied in the Hindu goddess Kali. MacDonald's notion of the world as Keat's "vale of Soulmaking," also elaborated by religious philosopher John Hick, is conveyed by Magic Cauldron archetypes in "The Wise Woman," "The Gray Wolf," and Lilith. Muse-figures in Phantastes and At the Back of the North Wind express MacDonald's conviction that a "right imagination" is the voice of God, while Divine Children in "The Wise Woman" and "The Golden Key" communicate his belief that "true childhood" is the Divine nature. The great-grandmother in the Princess books, a personification of the multidimensional activity of Divine Wisdom, springs from the Judeo-Christian Sophia and the classical Athena, while Kore
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