This is an abbreviated version of an essay submitted in April 2014 in fulfilment of the requirements for the graduate seminar at the Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies, University College, University of Toronto. Written for a non-Orthodox audience immersed in the canon of academic queer literature, it attempts to convey something of Orthodox anthropology and spirituality in a key comprehensible to them.
Queer theory and Orthodox theological anthropology share a surprising number of insights into the human condition in general and the ambiguities of human sexuality in particular. This is not to deny the vast epistemic differences between them—their paradigms of knowledge production and their determinants of what even counts as “knowledge”—or the gulf that often separates the conclusions reached by each in its respective domain. Yet they struggle to make sense of the same existential dilemma, mount similar critiques of the world-as-it-is, and ground their motifs in a vision of transfigured futurity for the human person and the human collective.
With this essay I begin to explore some of the terrains of possible thematic convergence between queer theory and Orthodox theology. Along the way, I attempt to develop a common lexicon by means of which theorists operating from two widely disparate epistemological bases might engage fruitfully in a dialogue of mutual charity, to the reciprocal benefit of each. Queer theory, in its way, has as much to offer Orthodox theology as vice versa. The present essay embodies a call, as it were, to contemplate a metaphysical basis for the future direction of queer theory, one that both transcends the exigencies of immanent political expediency and recovers the legitimacy of modes of knowing informed by a long lineage of communitarian spiritual intuition. Read More