For thirteen years, the Clarissan Juana de la Cruz (1481 – 1534) gave public “sermones” during which Christ’s voice was reported to issue from her rapt body, expanding on the biblical record and describing festivities in heaven that feature considerable fluidity in gender and sexuality. Ecclesiastical support for a Castilian woman preacher during the early decades of the Inquisition is even more surprising, since Juana claimed that she experienced a sex change before birth. Although Juana identified publicly as a nun and therefore as female, such rubrics as trans or intersex can help parse the nuances of the distinctive narratives on which Juana rested her authority. In turn, contemporary terminology can aid in identifying certain subcategories within the celestial gender performances in Juana’s visions, such that analysis of trans, bigender, or genderqueer representations of Jesus, Mary, and the angels permits connections between different sermons that together shed light on Juana’s original theological interventions.
At the Limits of (Trans) Gender: Jesus, Mary, and the Angels in the Visionary Sermons of Juana de la Cruz (1481–1534)
Jessica A. Boon; At the Limits of (Trans) Gender: Jesus, Mary, and the Angels in the Visionary Sermons of Juana de la Cruz (1481–1534). Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 1 May 2018; 48 (2): 261–300. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10829636-4402227
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