Women, Justice, and Jeremiah (WIGU, Part 7)

April 14, 2008 at 6:23 pm (Education, Theology and the Bible)

There are three topics lately that have sparked some interest in me. The first stems partly from a conference Calvin and I (and Adam and Jen) attended the week before last, The Other in Second Temple Judaism. Calvin has already posted about it here and here. Susan Ackermann, who was on the panel of three ladies that gave some closing thoughts on the conference, stirred things up a little by noting how in all the papers that had been given at the conference, not one was about woman as the “other.” She commented that back when she was an up and coming scholar, it was almost assured someone would have talked about that. Further, she said that some might take this to signify that the idea of woman as “other” has died down, because women have finally found their place in biblical scholarship. Then she gave her opinion that she wasn’t so sure about that.

Now I’m not a self-proclaimed feminist like Ackermann, but some of her comments, as well as those of Adela Collins, interested me. When I look at biblical scholarship (say, when I’m browsing the faculty for an Old Testament department at a university), to be sure there are one or two women sprinkled in there. But by in large, the majority of biblical scholars are still men. One of the big things with “feminist theology” is, of course, that the religious history of Judaism and Christianity has been dominated primarily by the opinions and interpretations of men. And, while I take issue with some of the theology of Mark Driscoll (as Calvin recently posted on), I do believe that men and women are different, and certainly view the world differently. So this interested me. I can’t say exactly how yet, but it did.

The second topic that I’ve been thinking about for a more lengthy period of time is the Old Testament and justice. Mostly, this is because of the Global Biblical Justice class I am taking this semester with Dean Borgman. The prophets have become more interesting to me as the voice crying out against injustice, as well as the Exodus as a liberation theme. So, once again, I don’t know where I’m going with all that, but it’s been something on my mind as an interest.

As far as Jeremiah goes, I’m planning to do a Readings course in Jeremiah and Lamentations (with some historical background from 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles thrown in) this summer. (For those who don’t know, that basically means translating – in my case, Jer. 1-15, Lamentations, and the appropriate historical sections). I’m terribly excited about it, because Jeremiah has always fascinated me. I read through Jeremiah again recently, and the way that the prophet’s heart and soul seems to go into his message, even if it tears him to pieces to have to preach it, is captivating. Perhaps after this summer I’ll have a better idea in what direction I want to take that.

So, there are three topics that have been floating around in my head recently, so I’m just getting them out there, in this “journal” thing I’m doing. Egads, some people must take me for such a liberal, here I am talking about feminist and liberation theology. I really don’t know enough about either to jump on any bandwagons (and I’m not given to jumping on bandwagons anyways), so don’t be worried.



  1. jimgetz said,

    You mention that you think that women and men view things differently. Would you see that as due to biology (sex, plumbing) or sociology (gender roles)?

  2. eliana said,

    Both, but probably more sociology.

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