I have great respect for Dr. Hahn, and I know him to be a man of great personal zeal and piety. I owe him a great debt for leading me back into the arms of Mater Ecclesia. However, even back then I saw his doctrine of a maternal Holy Spirit as dubious, a belief that has only intensified in the past three years if reflection. I pointed out then that Dr. Hahn's assertions had very scarce patristic support - he quotes an obscure Syriac called Narsai, a poem of Ephrem, and a saying of Aphraahat the Sage. These are hardly the type of sources to build a case upon!
However, in the past few weeks I surprisingly came upon many more patristic references to the Holy Spirit as female. Looks like Dr. Hahn was right after all that a lot of persons in the ancient Church believed this proposition of the Spirit's femininity. The only problem was they were all gnostic heretics, at least the ones I came across; I admit there could be others I don't know about who support Hahn's view. If so, I should like to see them.
In the Gospel of the Egyptians, a gnostic-Coptic work written in the 2nd century, God is referred to as the Father, the Son and "the Mother, the virginal Barbelon."
Another contemporary gnostic work, the Trimorphic Pretennoia, we find a reference to "the Father, the Mother and the Son."
In the Apocryphon of John, a 2nd century gnostic work referred to by St. Irenaeus, a mystical voice announces to John the Disciple: "I am the one who is with you always. I am the Father; I am the Mother; I am the Son."
The famous Gospel of Philip presents Christ as conceived by a union between the Father and the Spirit who is both Virgin and Mother. The author sees the spirit as essentially female (perhaps following on the fact that the Hebrew word ruah (spirit) is feminine) and attempts to rebuff the orthodox position by saying: "Some said, 'Mary conceived by the Holy Spirit.' These are in error. They do not know what they are saying. When did a woman ever conceive by a woman?"
In the Gospel of the Hebrews, Jesus speaks of "my Mother, the Holy Spirit."
In the Gospel of Thomas Jesus contrasts His earthly mother and father, Joseph and Mary, with His heavenly Father and His "divine" Mother, the Holy Spirit. Jesus is made to say that whoever becomes a Christian gains both a Father and a Mother, who is the Spirit.
When we see how many early heretical writings saw the Holy Spirit as a feminine mother, we should not be surprised that Dr. Hahn can muster up so little genuine patristic support for his ideas. The fact that heretics believe something does not mean it is wrong ipso facto, but if a whole bunch of heretics profess something and none of the legitimate Church Fathers do, it ought to give you pause.
I know it has been several years since Dr. Hahn made his remarks about the Holy Spirit. Perhaps he has modified his positions since, or clarified them; if anyone knows and can tell me, I would be grateful. In the meantime, I think we should continue to reject this idea of a maternal Spirit as dangerous and smacking of heresy until we get a better clarification from Dr. Hahn. While I don't want to condemn something outright that I don't understand, I also want to be wary of anything attempting to inject femininity into the Godhead.