Professor's Book Celebrates Feminine Characteristics of GodMay 21, 2012

Let’s step back in time 15 years, when Daniel Stramara Jr., Ph.D., began his career at Rockhurst University. With his passion for writing, teaching and theology, Stramara knew he had found the right place to work.

A year before arriving, he had begun working on a project that would eventually lead to the publishing of his second book, Praying – with the Saints – to God Our Mother. From 1996 to June 2011, Stramara worked to compile this comprehensive prayer book that is unlike any other.

The book, which serves as a prayer and meditation guide, celebrates the feminine characteristics of God by uncovering a treasury of texts that have been overlooked for centuries. All of the ancient texts within the book are accompanied by psalms and a biblical passage that tie into each text’s specific message.

“It became a giant tapestry, woven together with different components working simultaneously,” said Stramara, professor and department chair of theology and religious studies. “The purpose of the book is to enable one to experience and appreciate, in a prayerful and meditative manner, various feminine aspects of God.”

While the book focuses on the feminine characteristics of God, Stramara says that it is not intended to be exclusive.

“It showcases how many figures in the church’s history felt quite at ease moving back and forth between masculine and feminine imagery. The book is not an either-or argument, but rather provides the other side of the story so readers can observe the full scope of how God is described throughout Christian history.”

Stramara has pulled together a diverse collection of more than 400 texts from every century that support the view of God as a mother, sister or, in some cases, wife.

“I wanted to make it clear that the idea of God as a mother is not outside the Catholic church’s tradition,” he said. “To do this well, I’ve only referenced works of recognized, authoritative figures in the church.”

The book includes at least one quote from all 33 Doctors of the Church – the highest authoritative level of teachers in the Catholic Church – as well as five ecumenical councils and 71 saints, many of whom are popes. Texts were translated by Stramara from a number of ancient and modern languages, including French, Italian, German, Greek, Hebrew, Syriac, Latin and others.

“English translations of the Bible don’t always bring out the intended deeper meaning,” said Stramara. “Because of this, the true meanings can be lost. When writing this book, I looked at the original texts to find the root of each word, giving readers a chance to fully grasp the original meanings.”

Designed as a prayer book, each passage fits with a particular feast day.

To learn more about this book or Stramara’s first book, God’s Timetable: The Book of Revelation and Feast of Seven Weeks, visit the publisher’s webpage.

Stramara earned his Ph.D. in historical theology from Saint Louis University, his master of arts in French from the Université de Strasbourg in France, and his bachelor of arts in scripture and French from Messiah College in Grantham, Penn.

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