This unit explores the relationship between issues of gender, justice and empire in Old Testament interpretation. Through a study of a number of Old Testament texts, particularly those which narrate the experience of women within the wider social and imperial contexts, we will consider how these themes are configured and related within biblical traditions. We will engage in a close reading of a range of primary Old Testament texts and contemporary feminist/womanist and other (culturally diverse) scholarship about these texts and will also examine how these hermeneutical perspectives engage and critique traditional exegetical approaches. The approach will be interdisciplinary and will provide students opportunity to study these texts alongside contemporary women’s experiences and portrayals of women in other media such as art, film, poetry and law.

Unit code: BA9040P

Unit status: Approved (Major revision)

Points: 24.0

Unit level: Postgraduate Elective

Unit discipline: Old Testament

Delivery Mode: Intensive

Proposing College: Pilgrim Theological College

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Learning outcomes


Demonstrate in-depth familiarity with the Old Testament narratives of Biblical women


Develop critical knowledge of relevant issues of gender, justice and empire in relation to these texts and the Old Testament overall.


Engage critically with the feminist/liberational/postcolonial critique of traditional fields of knowledge, biblical methodology and hermeneutics and integrate these methodological perspectives into creative thinking and study of the Old Testament


Articulate the liberational and the oppressive potential of biblical stories arising out of and in relation to hermeneutical approaches and polyvalence of meaning


Interpret Biblical texts with attention to the Australian Context


Develop a comparative and global framework in the study of the Old Testament and to foster appreciation and respect for other/diverse perspectives.

Unit sequence

A prerequisite is a foundational unit in the Hebrew Bible


Assigned readings; Lectures; Tutorials

Indicative Bibliography

  1. Blyth, Caroline., Emily Colgan, and Katie B. Edwards, (eds)."Rape Culture, Gender Violence, & Religion: Biblical Perspective. Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018.
  2. Claassens, Juliana L. Writing and Reading to Survive: Biblical and Contemporary Trauma Narratives in Conversation. Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix, 2020.
  3. Claassens, Juliana L., and Carolyn J. Sharp, (eds). Feminist Frameworks and the Bible: Power, Ambiguity and Intersectionality. London: t&t Clark, 2017.
  4. Davies, Eryl W. The Dissenting Reader: Feminist Approaches to the Hebrew Bible, Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2003.
  5. Fewell, Danna N., and Gunn, David M. Gender, Power and Promise: The Subject of the Bible’s First Story. Nashville: Abingdon, 1993.
  6. Day, Linda and Pressler, Carolyn (eds). Engaging the Bible in a Gendered World: An Introduction to Feminist Biblical Interpretation in honor of K. B. Sakenfeld. Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster John Know, 2006.
  7. Havea, Jione, David J. Neville, & Elaine M. Cartwright, (eds). Bible, Borders, Belonging(s): Engaging Readings from Oceania. Atlanta: SBL, 2014.
  8. Newsome, Carol A., Sharon H. Ringe, and Jacqueline E. lapsley (eds). The Women’s Bible Commentary, (Third edition), Twentieth Anniversary Edition. Revised and Expanded. London/Louisville: SPCK/Westminster John Knox, 2012.
  9. Patte, Daniel. The Global Bible Commentary, Nashville: Abingdon, 2004.
  10. West, Gerald, ed. Reading Otherwise: Socially Engaged Biblical Scholars Reading with their Local Communities. Atlanta: SBL. 2007


Type Description Word count Weight (%)
Essay - Book Review

A Book review (3000 words)

3000 30.0
Exegetical Essay

Exegetical Essay 4000 words

4000 70.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Maggie Kappelhoff on 21 Sep, 2021

Unit record last updated: 2021-09-21 12:13:41 +1000