Early women’s spirituality thealogian Carol Christ passed away last week. Carol Christ critiqued Western philosophy, particularly Platonic philosophy, as going wayward from a primary mistake: denial of the primacy of the body, “the locus of changing life.”
From She Who Changes:
…Plato draws a sharp contrast between the time-bound world we inhabit and the eternal. Change is what separates our world from the eternal. In our world, things come into being or pass away. In our world, things are born, grow, and die. In the phase of growth, things increase or become more than they were. That which is perfect cannot change; otherwise it could become than less of itself, but this was thought to be impossible, as that which is perfect cannot become more perfect or less perfect. Plato asserts that in order to be free from change, the eternal must exist alone with itself, because relationships inevitably involve change and dependence. The highest Good or, as theologians understood Plato, God, therefore must be free of change, and therefore he must exist alone–that is, free of relationships that could cause him to become more or less perfect than he already is. For this God there is no change and no touch.
Carol Christ’s essay, Reading Plato’s Allegory of the Cave as Matricide and Theacide got to the heart of the misogyny embedded in Platonic philosophy.
In light of this, it seems certain that Plato did not “just happen” to choose a cave as the location of his “prison.” Like the Genesis story in the Bible, his was a “tale with a point of view.” The point of view Plato was challenging was the view that this world is our true home, that we should enjoy life in the body, and that we should honor the mothers and the Mother who have have given us life.
A lover of Greek culture and herstory, Carol Christ spent many years on the islands of Lesbos and Crete, conducting guided tours for spiritual feminists.
A biography of Carol Christ’s life can be found here, along with information about a virtual memorial service to be held December 20, 2021.