Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Joint Ph.D. Program in Study of Religion

First Advisor

Frank Seeburger, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Sarah Pessin

Third Advisor

Albert Hernandez


Feminine divine, Feminism, Philosophy, Religion, Julia Kristeva, Lou Andreas-Salome, Nietzsche, Rosenzweig


This study begins with a reading of Franz Rosenzweig's Star of Redemption and Friedrich Nietzsche's Thus Spoke Zarathustra in a manner that offers evidence for what I call a feminine divine. In reading the Star against Zarathustra I explore how even as Rosenzweig appears to praise Nietzsche as being emblematic of Rosenzweig's "new thinking," Rosenzweig eventually finds Nietzsche falls short, (or, in other words, Rosenzweig critiques Nietzsche in suggesting his pagan roots prevent him from ever reaching Revelation). I suggest Nietzsche's texts do indicate a type of divine inspiration, but it is one coming not from the Father God of male monotheism, but of a Mother God held latent in history and western philosophy. It is through this very defense of Nietzsche against Rosenzweig that I begin to articulate a hidden feminine divine.

Through close readings of Nietzsche's Zarathustra along with passages from Ecce Homo and Will to Power I defend Nietzsche against Rosenzweig's critique. I also refer to a text held latent in both the Star and Zarathustra, Goethe's Faust. It is through a reading of Nietzsche's Zarathustra as it embodies notions of a feminine divine in Goethe's Faust that I offer a more complex approach to a feminine divinity.

Just as I suggest the key to my defense of Nietzsche consists in my recovering in his writings of a "divine feminine," I also assert the significance in another major writer who was a contemporary of Nietzsche and Rosenzweig: Lou Andreas-Salomé. Known by some as the "mother of psychoanalysis," Andreas-Salomé offers much in a development of a feminine divine originating in Rosenzweig's and Nietzsche's texts and continuing on to writings of French psychoanalytic philosophers Julia Kristeva, Luce Irigaray, and Hélène Cixous. In short, I lay the groundwork for developing a feminist philosophy of religion from Rosenzweig's and Nietzsche's texts following through Andreas-Salomè's writing, using theorists in the French psychoanalytic tradition to move forward toward a contemporary feminist philosophy of religion that includes a feminine divine. I conclude by suggesting some practical applications of this feminist philosophy of religion that may be useful within the realm of inter-religious dialog as well as in feminist philosophy in general.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Sharon Mar Adams


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

153 p.


Philosophy, Philosophy of Religion, Theology