Men Imitating Women Speaking: Diotima, Monica, and Religious Discourse

By Maggie Ann Labinski.

Published by The International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society

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This paper explores the primary difficulty that religion raises for philosophy of language: How might an effable medium speak the ineffable–speak of G/god? More specifically, herein I examine one of the ways in which ancient philosophers approached this problem–i.e., by imitating women. To this end, I begin (1) by examining Socrates’ imitation of Diotima. I then (2) investigate Augustine’s turn to the imitation of Monica. I argue that by taking recourse in acts of feminine mimesis, each example presents a counter-traditional conception of the transcendent. I conclude (3) by considering the results of this unique approach for feminist philosophies of religion today.

Keywords: Philosophies of Religion, Feminist Philosophies, Religious Language, Diotima, Monica

The International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society, Volume 2, Issue 3, 2012, pp.97-105. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 257.725KB).

Maggie Ann Labinski

Dean's Fellow, Philosophy Department, Loyola University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA

I am a Dean’s Fellow at Loyola University Chicago. I completed my MA at Boston College with emphases in Medieval Philosophy and French Phenomenology. My current research interests include Augustine and Feminist Philosophies.