Women in the Hebrew Bible
Meira Z. Kensky, Joseph E. McCabe Associate Professor of Religion
February 7, 14, 21, 28
This Thursday Forum will examine representations of women in the Hebrew Bible. Joseph E. McCabe Associate Professor of Religion Meira Kensky will discuss how stories about women in the Hebrew Bible were written to explore issues related to the nation of Israel, which found itself marginalized by more powerful nations around it but believed itself not inferior to them. The first session will survey issues surrounding stories about women in the Hebrew Bible and introduce interpretive strategies scholars have used to understand these texts. As a way into the subject, we will look at stories about Rebecca in the Book of Genesis. Over the next two weeks, participants will be introduced to additional texts that highlight how women appear in the Hebrew Bible. We will particularly examine the “texts of terror” — including texts from the Book of Judges and those about the women surrounding King David (Michal, Bathsheba, Tamar and Abigail) — that show women being victimized by the men and society around them. Authors used these stories to critique and demonstrate flaws in Israelite society and political leadership. The series will culminate in discussion of the Bible’s predominantly negative representation of foreign women (including Jezebel, Israel’s foreign queen) and the counter-narrative to that portrayal presented in the Book of Ruth.