I will proceed to compare them with the undeniably female imagery of the Maid of Heaven, as the Holy Spirit is often described in the Bahá'í writings.
I will attempt to evaluate how much the gender ascribed to an allegorical religious symbol affects the position of women in religion and society.
Abstract: This article discusses the argument advanced by some feminist theologians that a male representation of God reinforces patriarchy and the oppressesion of women.
In particular, it considers Mary Daly's statement that "if God is male then the male is God," in the light of the female imagery of the Holy Spirit in the Bahá'í Writings.
It concludes by suggesting that the Bahá'í principle of the equality of men and women is independent of, and unrelated to, references to the Holy Maiden.
Many Christian and post-Christian feminist theologians wrestle with the "maleness" of the Christian God.
They pose the question, "Can a male saviour save women?
" and declare, "If God is male, then the male is God." Whilst the genders of the "Father" and "Son" of the Christian trinity are clearly defined, the "Holy Spirit's" gender seems rather more ambiguous.
Consequently, some feminists have attempted to feminise it in an attempt to add a female dimension to the trinity.
In this paper, I will examine the first part of Mary Daly's statement that "God is male" in the light of both historical evidence for a female Holy Spirit, particularly in early Syriac writings, and contemporary feminist arguments for and against a female Holy Spirit.
The main symbol of the Holy Spirit is a dove, but other symbols are used, notably fire, water, oil and air.