In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with Godde,
and the Word was Godde.
She was in the beginning with Godde.
All things were made through her.
Without her nothing was made that has been made.
In her was life,
and the life was the light of women and men. . . .
She was in the world,
and the world was made through her,
but the world didn’t recognize her.
She came to her own,
and those who were her own didn’t welcome her.
But as many as welcomed her,
to them she gave the right to become Godde’s children
(to those who trust in her name: who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the
flesh, nor of the will of a man, but of Godde). (John 1: 1-4, 10-13, Divine Feminine Version)
The Prologue to the Gospel of John takes on new life through this new translation.
Because of striking parallels between the Prologue to the Gospel of John and biblical passages referring to Wisdom, the Prologue can also be translated with “Wisdom-Word” or “Wisdom” (Sophia).
In the beginning was Wisdom, and Wisdom was with God, and Wisdom was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by her; and without her was not anything made that was made. In her was life, and the life was the light of the world. . . .
She was in the world, and the world was made by her, and the world knew her not. She came to her own and her own did not receive her. But as many as received her, to them she gave the power to become God’s children, even to those who believe on her name, who were born not of blood, nor the will of the flesh, but of God. And Wisdom was made flesh and dwelled among us, and we beheld her glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Sovereign, full of grace and truth. (John 1:1-4, 10-14)
The Divine Feminine Version (DFV) of the New Testament is a much-needed version among the myriad Bible versions with exclusively male references to the Divine. It is a generous free gift from the editors who have worked on this version for five years.
Congregations who are striving toward more inclusive worship will welcome this new version. Their worship leaders may use inclusive, gender-balanced language in sermons, litanies, and hymns. But they have few options for inclusive scripture readings. The predominantly masculine divine language in these readings then strikes a discord with the rest of the service.
There are two gender-neutral versions of the Bible on the market: The Inclusive Bible, a translation by the Priests for Equality, and The New Testament and Psalms: An Inclusive Version, a modification of the New Revised Standard Version. These versions are better than those that use exclusively masculine references to Deity, but they do not reclaim biblical female divine language to balance the male divine language so prevalent in most faith communities and the wider culture.
Until recently, congregations have had nowhere to turn for gender-balanced scripture readings. Now we can go to the Divine Feminine Version (DFV) of the New Testament. By including female language for the Divine, the DFV affirms the sacred value of females who continue to suffer from violence, abuse, and discrimination throughout the world. The DFV contributes to a theological foundation for gender equality, social justice, and peace.
It is wonderful indeed to see “Mother,” “She,” and other female references to Godde included in this new translation. The word “Godde” combines the words “God” and “Goddess,” the translators explain. “The word ‘God,’ because of its long history of association with an exclusively masculine image of the Divine, implies to many people a masculine way of conceiving the Christian God, and ‘Goddess’ is a word that Christians have not traditionally embraced. The term ‘Godde’ seeks the middle ground between ‘God’ and ‘Goddess,’ combining a feminine-type ending with the traditionally masculine-type word. It’s intended as a more gender-inclusive term, something broader than both ‘God’ and ‘Goddess’ and yet transcending both as a term that points beyond itself to a divine reality that we can grasp only by metaphor. This term serves as a constant reminder that the Godde of whom we speak is not the ancient man with the white beard so quickly recognizable as a traditional Christian stereotype.”
In this article, published in Christian Feminism Today, one of the co-editors of the DFV, Mark Mattison, introduces this new version of the New Testament.
She lives! Wisdom lives and works in the world through this Divine Feminine Version of the New Testament. I pray that the Divine Feminine Version of the New Testament will help expand our experience of the Creator of all females and males in Her/His own image and that it will contribute to gender equality, social justice, and peace in the world.
The editors also graciously gave me this Christ-Sophia Version of the DFV. This version replaces references to “Christ” with “Christ-Sophia,” acknowledging the strong biblical and historical connection between Jesus Christ and Wisdom (Sophia in the Greek New Testament).
Co-editors of the Divine Feminine Version (DFV) of the New Testament:
Mark M. Mattison is a writer, independent scholar, and aspiring mystic. His passions in biblical theology include the third quest for the historical Jesus, the new perspective on Paul, and feminist, liberationist, and postcolonial readings of Scripture. He is the author of “Because of the Angels”: Head Coverings and Women in 1 Corinthians 11:2016 and 14:34, 35 and The Gospel of Mary: A Fresh Translation and Holistic Approach. In addition, Mark is one of the people featured in She Lives! Sophia Wisdom Works in the World.
Rev. Shawna R. B. Atteberry is an author, preacher, theologian, and speaker who writes, dreams, and talks about women in the Bible and feminist theology. In her spare time she writes urban fantasy. She is the author of What You Didn’t Learn in Sunday School: Women Who Didn’t Shut Up & Sit Down. In addition, Shawna’s poem “In the Beginning” and her sermon “Blowing Where She Wills” are published in She Lives! Sophia Wisdom Works in the World.
Other contributors to the Divine Feminine Version (DFV of the New Testament:
Dr. Laura M. Grimes, Julie Sweeney, and Timothy Victor