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EHE Process/Spiritual Path ,Spirituality
Record Type: Review   ID: 305

Sophia-Maria: A Holistic Vision of Creation

Schipflinger, Thomas

This painstaking compilation was initiated by an EHE—a moment of illumination that gave the author the answer to a question that dogged him when he was in Russia during World War I promoted by the fact that on Marian feast days the epistle readings were drawn for the most part from "the Wisdom Books of Holy Scripture." It dawned on him that "Mary is Wisdom’s human form; Holy Wisdom appeared on earth as Mary. With this realization the peace and joy of certainty overcame me, and with the same sense of firmness I felt the impulse to dedicate my life to Holy Wisdom, to investigate Her secret and make it known" (pp. xv-xvi). He studied theology and became a Catholic priest. In his spare time he studied the teachings and icons of Sophia throughout world history.

His "data" consist of 25 black and white and 32 color plates illustrating Sophia-Maria as well as relevant passages from the world’s wisdom literature, including science. However, in each case, Schipflinger comments in detail on the history and meaning of the painting, statue, or text. The scope of the book is awesome. Sophia in Holy Scripture is the title of Part 1. Part 2 consists of Portraits and Visions of Sophia (that is, exceptional experiences involving Sophia portrayed in art or in verbal text. Each experiencer is described, the circumstances of the vision or annunciation given, followed by the author’s commentary.) For example, this section includes Hildegard of Bingen’s conception of Holy Wisdom; Sophia and the Schekinab of the Cabala, Jacob Boehme, the visions of Anne Catherine Emmerich, and Sophia in Teilhard de Chardin, in the modern scientific theories of evolution and formative causation, and in the search for the World Soul. The third section digests the Sophia-Wisdom of the East (Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism). Part 4, Sophiology and the 21st Century, covers Sophia and the New Age; Sophia and the Hieros Gamos, or Sacred Marriage; Sophia and the Maternal Holy Spirit, and the Union Between Sophia and Mary. In an afterword, with Schipflinger’s encouragement, Robert A. Powell, founder of the Sophia Foundation of North America, presents the Sophiological perspective in Meditations on the Taoist: A Journey into Christian Hermeticism by an anonymous Russian author, and relates it to Schipflinger’s book. The concept of a Sophianic Trinity is set forth, and he interweaves it with the more traditional Holy Trinity. The rise of Christianity eclipsed the Divine Feminine that had flourished earlier. Powell notes: "Now, in the 20th century, the Divine Feminine side of existence is coming back into view again, becoming resurrected in human consciousness" (p. 402). This concept comprises both Christian and pagan visions as well as the views of the Divine feminine of the other world religions, thus universalizing the import of Schipflinger’s initiating illumination and painstaking lifelong work.

Publisher Information:York Beach, ME: Samuel Weiser, 1998. Pp. xx + 456. Bibl: 437-446; Glos: 427-436; 7 illus; Ind: 447-456; 50 photos
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