Date of Award
University Scholars Director
Dr. Christine Chaney
First Advisor/Committee Member
Dr. Jennifer Maier
Second Advisor/Committee Member
Dr. Yelena Bailey
erotic devotional poetry, Rilke, binary, Neoplatonism, Protestant, St. Augustine
A genre best known for its appearance in Eastern religions, erotic devotional poetry uses sensual imagery to access an experience of the divine. Historically, many Christian traditions, excluding the mystical ones, have pushed back against such literature, seeing it as an impure model that degrades divinity by association with the physical, especially in the specific physical ritual of sex. This stance is a hallmark of Protestant Christianity. The idea of a dichotomy and hierarchy between soul and body, though, comes not from theology but from the introduction theologians made between Western philosophy, particularly Platonic Dualism, and Christianity, which was then solidified by Enlightenment ideals. My project identifies the theological and philosophical basis for erotic devotional poems and looks to the way that they, particularly in the writing of Rainer Maria Rilke, have resisted the intrusion of neoplatonism upon spiritual practice.
Pruis, Sarah M., "Erotic Devotional Poetry: Resisting Neoplatonism in Protestant Christianity" (2019). Honors Projects. 109.
Christianity Commons, English Language and Literature Commons, European History Commons, Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Commons, History of Christianity Commons, Intellectual History Commons, Liturgy and Worship Commons, Philosophy Commons, Practical Theology Commons, Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion Commons, Theory and Criticism Commons