Count Zinzendorf came to the aid of the Moravian Brethren. He held that the Holy Spirit was matriarchal. Are there any teachings of this perspective in early church history?

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    I think this is pretty interesting because in a musical about the Bible I saw a few years ago, which was very reverent and well done called "In the Garden" the Holy Spirit was acted by a woman and the visuals that that inspired made perfect sense. In the Catholic Church we usually refer to the Holy Spirit as He, but in this sense a woman as the Holy Spirit seemed the better fit for the role. – Peter Turner Jun 18 '13 at 22:22
  • People might be interested in this: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender_of_the_Holy_Spirit – DJClayworth Jun 19 '13 at 15:12
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    Matriarchal is more like motherly. Essentially Jesus is the eternal Son conceived by the will of God the Father born of the Holy Spirit. Eternal is the key, contingencies that are not time bound. – Rick Jun 19 '13 at 21:51
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    The title asks one question, the body asks a different question. That qualifies as "unclear what you're asking." – Lee Woofenden Jan 24 '17 at 5:37
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    @KorvinStarmast It looks like Caleb was returning the question to something more like what the OP originally asked. I've made further edits to bring it, I think, even closer to the OP's original intent. Now that I've looked at the edit train, it's clear that the contradictory title and body were not in the OP's original question, but were the result of edits made by others over time. – Lee Woofenden Jan 24 '17 at 20:02

You might want to look at my article from several years ago The Motherhood of the Holy Spirit in the 18th century Brudergemeine in Church History.

Zinzendorf claimed that there was precedent for this in early Christian theology, especially Ephraim. Trudy Beyark just published a book on the feminine side of God which looks at feminine language in many Christian traditions, including Catholicism.

  • Just read your article, thank you for answering my question! – Rick Jun 21 '13 at 16:41
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    Welcome to the site. Have you checked out our tour page yet? While I appreciate the addition to the conversation here I think you've failed to address the root of this question: are there any early church teachings from this perspective? – Caleb Jun 29 '13 at 15:17

The theory of Matriarchal Holy Spirit is a Gnostic Heresy. It doesn't have anything to do with the scriptures.

Jesus addresses the Holy Spirit by the masculine gender in the following verses of John 14:26

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

And also in John 15

John 15:26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me.

Those who believe in a Matriarchal Holy Spirit are simply alluding to the fact that many in this world tends to understand God by things of the world that are clearly visible. They believe that since the human family on earth comprises of a husband, wife, and son, the family in heaven too should comprise of God the Father, the Holy Spirit as Mother, and Jesus as the Son.

Also remember the present day proponents of the idea of a Matriarchal Holy Spirit are some of the feminist groups and not any seriously religious groups.

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    Perhaps a linguistic expert could shed light here. The word translated above as "he" is "autos", a Greek neuter noun. Further any reference to Holy Spirit by Christ would have been rendered from Hebrew, which "Spirit" in Hebrew is a feminine noun. – Rick Jun 19 '13 at 11:14
  • Ruwach is the Hebrew word for Spirit (blueletterbible.org) – Rick Jun 19 '13 at 16:05
  • A correction, the word translated above as "he" is "ekeinos", a Greek pronoun meaning “he, she, it” not “autos”. – Rick Sep 18 '13 at 16:08
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    Identifying that this was taught by the Gnostic's and identified as a heresy is useful, but this answer has really skirted the issue that was actually asked about. A defense of orthodox teaching is not required or even desirable on this question, just a run down of what groups have accepted this teaching and their relation to other churches. – Caleb Jan 24 '17 at 7:15
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    Other than mentioning Gnosticism, this simply doesn't answer the question asked. Instead, it argues against the subject matter of the question. – Lee Woofenden Jan 26 '17 at 3:45

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