Marcella Althaus-Reid

I caught up late on the sad new that Marcella Althaus-Reid, Professor of Contextual Theology at New College, Edinburgh, died at the end of February.

Reading the tributes left by students, colleagues and friends, one thing stood out - Marcella's constant support - academically and personally - for all those trying to make their own unique way in the world.

I had read Marcella's work on indecent theology, studied at ISEDET where she also studied, and discovered many mutual friends before I met her in January 2007. We met in her offices overlooking the foreboding front quadrant of New College. I had found her abundance of theological ideas at times difficult to grasp. Moreover, her willingness to sub/vert, per/vert, long-established theological dogma was both thrilling and disturbing. I was expecting to be overawed by such a formidable intellect.

I was not prepared for this petite chic woman, a red shawl swept across her shoulders, a warm welcome and attentive ear.

I only met Marcella once but I was delighted to have done so. Her fierce critique and bound-less creativity will continue to inspire me.

God, she wrote, will always escape our ideologies. God is not bound by our morality. Indeed, we would find God indecent, queer, clandestine, unlawful. God the boundary-crosser, the transgressor, the cross-dresser, the whore. A God who loves without censor, without purpose, without limits, without end.


david a holgate said…
Thank you for this notice. I had not heard either and am puzzled that I cannot locate any obituaries in the broadsheet press. She was after all the first woman to hold a professorial chair in Divinity at the University of Edinburgh, as Larry Hurtado said out at her funeral. Perhaps that is what happens when you insist on identifying with the marginalised?
Rachel said…
Yes, I was surprised that I hadn't heard about her death sooner. It seems to have only been covered in the Scottish papers. Like you say, her appointment was an important milestone for women theologians.
Jane R said…
WATER (the Women's Alliance for Theology, Ethics, and Ritual) sent out a notice to its members within a day or two of MAR's death. That's how many of us in the U.S. and other places (WATER's list goes to folks in Australia and Argentina and Chile and a few other places) heard about it.

The general press did cover Nancy Eiesland's death amazingly well. (She was the author of The Disabled God.) Big story in the NY Times. I was surprised that it was so thoughtful and well-informed.
Rachel said…
Hi Jane - thanks for your comment. Yes, I also saw good press coverage (from the US) of Nancy Eiesland's death.