The books of Esther, Ruth, the Song of Songs, Susannah, and Judith are exceptional and exciting. These books with women protagonists came to life within a strong patriarchal culture with strong gender stereotypes and multiple barriers to women. They are well known for their powerful narrative art and imagination. Are the woman protagonists in these books, feminist heroines or patriarchally idealised stooges? Or are they protest and subversive literature? These books will be introduced in this unit; the stories contained in these books are retold and analysed in their allusive complexity. We will attend to issues of identity, gender, sexuality, beauty, power, solidarity/partnership, widowhood, their representation in the visual arts, the function of these books and their contemporary relevance.
Describe the contents of these books
Introduce these books and the historical critical questions surrounding them
Identify significant issues related to women of the times in which these books were produced.
Apply their findings to contemporary issues facing women.
A prerequisite is a foundational unit in the Hebrew Bible
Assigned readings; Lectures; Tutorials
Brenner, Athalya, (ed). A Feminist Companion to Esther, Judith and Susanna (Feminist Companion to the Bible), Sheffield: Sheffield Academic, 1995.
________, (ed). A Feminist Companion to Esther and Ruth. Feminist Companion to the Bible (Second Series). Sheffield: Sheffield Academic, 1999.
________ and Carole Fontaine (eds). The Song of Songs. Feminist Companion to the Bible (Second Series). Sheffield: Sheffield Academic, 2000.
Clanton Jr., Dan W. Daring, Disreputable, and Devout: Interpreting the Bible’s Women in the Arts and Music. New York, NY: T & T Clark, 2009.
Fewell, Danna and David Gunn. Compromising Redemption: Relating Characters in the Book of Ruth. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1990.
Hancock, Rebecca S. Esther and the Politics of Negotiation: Public and Private Spaces and the Figure of the Female Royal Counselor. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2013. Havea, Jione and Peter Lau. Reading Ruth in Asia, IVBS. Atlanta, GA: SBL, 2015. LaCocque, Andre. The Feminine Unconventional: Four Subversive Figures in Israel's Tradition. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2006. Spencer, Scott F. Song of Songs. Wisdom Commentary. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2017. Newsome, Carol A, et.al. Women’s Bible Commentary. Third Ed., Twentieth Anniversary Ed., Revised and Updated. Louisville, Kentucky: WJK, 2012.
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Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Maggie Kappelhoff on 16 Sep, 2020
Unit record last updated: 2020-09-16 10:31:31 +1000