The Maternal Face of God?

Explorations in Catholic Sophiology

István Cselényi

Preface by Bishop Miklos Beer

Foreword by Michael Martin

Until relatively recently, sophiology was almost entirely ignored by Western theologians. The modern West learned about sophiology from the Russians, the influence of which is palpable in the theological aesthetics of Hans Urs von Balthasar and in the Mariology of Louis Bouyer, to name only the most obvious examples. And yet, as this book shows, sophiology is at its core a Western phenomenon—and perhaps ironically, it was originally a Protestant phenomenon, as its fountainhead is the Silesian Lutheran cobbler Jakob Boehme. Indeed, Fr. Cselényi argues that Boehme’s sophiology provides Catholic (and Orthodox) theology with a courageous and vigorous Mariology, a gift that has been for the most part left unopened.

It is only in the last decade or so that sophiology as such has been taken up with any theological gravitas in the West. Throughout his book, in addition to offering insight into the work of “canonical” sophiologists such as Boehme and the Russians, the author also investigates previously unexplored avenues of sophiological insight in ontotheology, in phenomenology, in the Fathers, and in Scholasticism.

Praise for The Maternal Face of God?

“The Maternal Face of God? could not have appeared at a more important time, as throughout its pages Fr. Cselényi makes the compelling case for a theology that articulates a clear and refreshing understanding of the relationship of the Divine Feminine to the Trinity, and an ontology that affirms the goodness of Creation.”

— MICHAEL MARTIN, author of The Submerged Reality: Sophiology and the Turn to a Poetic Metaphysics

About the Author

István Cselényi

István Cselényi, Ph.D., C.S.C., corresponding member of St. Thomas Academy, Rome, is a Byzantine Catholic priest, a professor emeritus of the Faculty of Pedagogy of Vitéz János Roman Catholic Teacher’s College, and an internationally renowned scholar, having published 12 previous monographs on theological subjects in Hungarian and Italian. The Maternal Face of God? is his first translation into English.