Ian Shelton

Title: Deep in the Thicket: The Quest for the Feminised Soul in Contemporary Recontextualizations of St John of the Cross.

My research developed out of a recent MA dissertation at Sarum College, Salisbury, where I’d been introduced to a novel hermeneutical interpretation of St John of the Cross’s Dark Night of the Soul as “impasse”, by an American Carmelite Sister, Constance FitzGerald. In another paper FitzGerald considers how the permeating sense of wisdom in many of St John’s texts, and particularly his Spiritual Canticle might be examined through the lens of “Sophia”. I will look at a critical use of this term by contemporary feminist theologians, and how – away from the convent – this might have value, especially for women in marginal situations. I see in recent work by Sarah Coakley interesting avenues to explore how contemplative practice might be both liberating and transformative, a new constructive theology for our times.

Supervisors: Dr Karen O’Donnell and Dr Jenny Leith