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  • Writer's pictureMichael Martin

Repairing the World, Sophia, and Those Knuckleheads in Rome

from Kieslowski's 'Dekalog V'

Sophiology, certainly as I conceive it, is, if nothing else, a way of being dedicated to the idea of tikkun olam. Tikkun olam, “repairing the world,” an idea originating in Judaism, at least as far as Sophiology is concerned, begins with learning to see the glory that shines through the world. The light of the First Day, created before the Sun and the Moon, still illumines the universe. I have to remind myself of this—daily—as I watch the theme and variation on neurosis and pathology that cycles through our information and social media.

I’m sure the Catholic knuckleheads who threw those images of a pregnant woman (I can’t say if they were pagan idols or indigenous statues of the Virgin Mary—check with John Calvin for clarification) were sure they were repairing the world. I suppose in the sense of a Gnostic disdain for sexuality and repugnance at the idea of procreation they were. I have not been following the developments at the Synod (unfortunately I have become unrepentantly jaded when it comes to Church politics), but I do know that I was disturbed by seeing someone (I’m assuming they consider themselves “pro-life”) destroy images of a pregnant woman. These guys were not repairing the world. They were desecrating it.

In regards to this “cleansing of the temple,” I couldn’t help but think of Margaret Barker’s claim that once upon a time during First Temple Judaism, King Josiah likewise removed images of a lady, the Lady Wisdom, from the Temple, thinking, as his 21st century counterparts, that she was an “abomination.” Protestant reformers of the 16th century did very much the same with images of the Virgin Mary. The human is a pathological race.

Nevertheless, I am hopeful. I am hopeful, first of all, that the world will be repaired and that returning the feminine to her rightful place in Christian understanding and practice will be central to that tikkun. I am struck over and over while reading Barker’s excavation of Judeo-Christian history and scripture that so much of what she says is in congruence with the great figures of Sophiology—Jacob Boehme, Jane Lead and John Pordage, Novalis, Goethe, Solovyov, Florensky, and Bulgakov—about the return of Sophia from exile. Revelation also speaks to this: “and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, so that there she can be nourished for one thousand two hundred sixty days” (12:6). She went into the wilderness to flee the dragon. It is up to us to call her back. We are in the grip of Babylon. We need to learn again how to see the glory of the Lord.

Michael's latest books are an edition of The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz and Transfiguration: Notes toward a Radical Catholic Reimagination of Everything. He can be reached at See also The Center for Sophiological Studies' available courses.

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