Christology after Irigaray

On the basis of Irigaray's remarks about Christ (and the psychoanalytic and philosophical frameworks within which she develops them) let me, then, begin to think through aspects of Christology. The exploration, it seems to me, must cover three aspects of the person and work ofJesus Christ. Irigaray asks why, when we examine the person of Christ, 'is his sexuate incarnation denied'?51 So, first, we must begin to open up questions on the sexuality of this Son of God. Secondly, consequently, we need to examine the relation between the divine and human eros. Thirdly, on the basis of these two investigations we need to rethink the doctrines of the Trinity, ecclesiology. For any examination of Christ relates to the nature and operation of the second person of the Trinity; and any examination of the body of Christ relates to the nature and the work of the Church which, following the ascension of the historical body, becomes itself the mystical body. The development, then, of a sexuate Christology, a theology of sexual difference, has wider dogmatic implications.

In the chapter 'The Displaced Body of Jesus Christ', in my Cities of God,52 I treat more extensively both the sexuality ofJesus the Christ and the displacement that occurs in the shift from his historical body to the Church as his ecclesial and sacramental body. In the essay that follows this one I develop some of the cultural and political issues in the construction of the sexuality ofJesus the Christ. So here I wish to focus on the implications of a sexuate Christology for a soteriological economy of response that examines the operation of sexual difference. Similarly, previous essays have explored much more thoroughly the question of the relationship between divine and human eros. So only those aspects of that relationship that bear on a Christocentric account of sexual difference will be examined here — and examined with reference to the two passages from John's Gospel (of Mary's meeting with Jesus at the garden tomb and Thomas's encounter with the risen Christ) at the centre of the Christological investigations of the previous chapter.

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