Monday, April 30, 2018

One of my interests is how do we provide resources that combine traditional scholarship with the more innovative, challenging scholarship, often provoked by the liberation movements. So when I saw the book called The Hebrew Bible: Feminist and Intersectional Perspectives, edited by Gale. A. Yee, I was interested. My interest was heightened when I saw that the fourth section of the book was written by the Rev. Dr. Judy Fentress-William and the Rev. Dr. Melody D. Knowles. They had contributed a substantial essay called "Affirming and Contradicting Gender Stereotypes". The chapter starts with female protagonists - Ruth and Esther, then we move to women and sexuality, with particular focus on Song of Songs and Ben Sira, then we have the wisdom books - Proverbs, Job, Wisdom of Solomon, this is followed by the Psalms, and then the chapter concludes with Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, and 1-2 Maccabees. It is an impressive chapter: touching on so much of the Hebrew Bible.

In a world where patriarchy continues to damage so many lives of women, this book is a refreshing critique and journey into the ways in which the Biblical witness sees women. The reader becomes conscious of a set of questions that are often totally ignored or, at least, not given major consideration. This essay by Judy and Melody opens a door into vitally important questions.

I finished reading this essay with a sense of gratitude. I am grateful that this essay has been written; I am also grateful that this Seminary has two dynamic and important scholars asking and exploring these questions. Thank you Judy and Melody.

The Very Rev. Ian S. Markham, Ph.D.
Dean and President
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