The earliest Christians – all of whom were Jews – spoke of the Holy Spirit as a feminine figure.
The present article discusses the main proof texts, ranging from the ‘Gospel according to the
Hebrews’ to a number of testimonies from the second century. The ancient tradition was,
in particular, kept alive in East and West Syria, up to and including the fourth century Makarios
and/or Symeon, who even influenced ‘modern’ Protestants such as John Wesley and the
Moravian leader Count von Zinzendorf. It is concluded that, in the image of the Holy Spirit as
woman and mother, one may attain a better appreciation of the fullness of the Divine.
This research is part of the
project, ‘Augustine and
directed by Prof. Dr Johannes
van Oort, Professor
of Church History and Church
Polity, Faculty of Theology,
University of Pretoria.