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Theological Breadth, Interconnection, Tradition, and Gender: Hildegard,
Hadewijch, and Julian Today

F. Gerald Downing

As women theologians, especially, have made clear, we and our world are complex. We need theology which relates that complexity coherently to God. In that regard there is something to be learned from medieval theological reflections, which are often much more comprehensive than we may imagine or than our modern specialists may suggest. Heirs to a classical educational syllabus, writers in the Midddle Ages instinctively interconnected and enriched their Godward thinking with their understanding of language, symbolism, society, the physical world, philosophy, ethics, personal being, aesthetics, and more. This is especially true of the three women discussed in the article, all of whom, judged by these criteria, wrote more effectively than even Anselm or Aquinas. Here, then, we have resources and encouragement for a more engaged, more immediate, and more widely "in touch" shared response to God in Christ in the power of the Spirit.

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