Helleman, Wendy Elgersma

Wendy E. Helleman, currently a Visiting Professor in the Department of Philosophy at St. Augustine University of Tanzania, has taught at the University of Toronto (Classics), and cross-culturally in the Philippines, Russia, and Nigeria.

Feminine Personification of Wisdom: A Study of Homer’s penelope, Cappadocian macrina, Boethius’ philosophia and Dante’s beatrice
2009 0-7734-4666-4
This study examines the attribution of abstract values to women by analyzing four characters spanning literary genres and more that 2000 years. Penelope, Macrina, Philosophia, and Beatrice are connected by their contribution to the theme of wisdom through their use of reason against passion. Feminine personification of reason and wisdom makes its own contribution as antidote to traditional understanding of "feminine" as "emotional" or "irrational".

Solovyov’s Sophia as a Nineteenth-Century Russian Appropriation of Dante’s Beatrice
2011 0-7734-1471-1
This study argues for a broadened approach in understanding Solovyov's Sophia, reading her against the background of Dante's presentation of Beatrice. It re-examines a reading of Sophia by early 20th century Russian symbolists, who conflated her figure with those of Beatrice and the Virgin Mary, as representatives of the archetypal feminine. Our work finds this symbolist approach to be a mis-reading of Solovyov, for this approach show clears participation in romanticism, particularly on the theme of love and androgyny, and in aesthetics. For him, romanticism also meant rejection of personification. For romantics the lady, as object of love, is historical, or literal. Symbolists, on the other hand, apprecicated symbols and (allegorical) personification. Even so, in practice, Solovyov accepted personification of Sophia, as an implementation of the Theurgical task of incarnation of the divine in mortal, bodily reality.