Women and the Old Testament: The Construction of Gender
Course Instructor: David Penchansky has taught in the University of St. Thomas Theology Department since 1989. His most recent book is Understanding Wisdom Literature, which came out in 2011, published by Eerdmans. He has taught two previous courses for the Selim Center (Wisdom Literature and The Qur’an and the Bible). He currently is working on a book about the Bible and the Qur’an.
Course Information: Wednesdays, April 3-May 8, 2013, 10:00 a.m.-Noon, Terrence Murphy Hall, Room 260 (Thornton Auditorium), UST Minneapolis Campus
Course Description: This course examines the portrayal of women in the Hebrew Bible (the Old Testament). Ancient Israel both reflects the patriarchal cultures of the ancient Near East and also provides dramatic examples of women who manage to transcend the constraints of that culture. This course will examine the role of women in the Old Testament beginning with Eve, and will also consider how the ancient Israelites understood and regulated sexual contact. We will cover gender roles in marriage, women warriors and leaders, legal material and same sex relationships.
Registration fee for the series: $80.00 per person
To register on-line with a credit card, click on this link: https://webapp.stthomas.edu/eventregistration/UST/register.jsp?eventcrn=A5786
To register by check or cash through the mail or in-person, click on this link for the registration form: Spring 2013 Registration Form
Link to campus map: Minneapolis Campus Map
Detailed Course Syllabus (subject to change):
Genesis 1-3: a Paradigm for Gender Relations?
We will examine the two creation stories at the beginning of the Bible and their very different depictions of the creation of women and their role in the family.
The Matriarchs of Ancient Israel
These women, Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Leah, Tamar, and Dinah significantly shape the beginnings of the Israelite community. They are the wives and daughters of the patriarchs and manage to stand against the prevailing restrictions on women's roles.
Miriam, Moses and the Israelite Legal System
Moses' sister, Miriam, protected the life of his baby brother. When Moses led Israel, his sister rebelled against his rule. In the second half of the class, we will examine the laws regarding sexual ethics in Leviticus 18 and 19 and rules for a husband who accuses his wife of unfaithfulness in Numbers 5.
Judges and Ruth
The Book of Judges contains extremes - Deborarh and Jael are warriors who overpower the rulers, and the unnamed wife of the Levite raped, abused and left for dead. Ruth and Naomi, widowed and with no protection, use their wit to provide their needs.
Women in the Royal Houses of Israel
The kings ruled Isreal with absolute power, but the women exercised significant influence as wives, daughters and mothers. We will examine the lives of Michal (Saul's daughter), Bathsheba, Abigail, Abishag, and the notorious Queen Jezebel.
Lady Wisdom, Judith and Susanna
In the Book of Proverbs, Lady Wisdom, offspring of the Israelite God, witnessed the creation of the world, and teaches right living to the ignorant. Judith and Susanna, two biblical books named after women, weave together themes of seduction, violence and injustice.
Links to Dr. Penchansky's Prezi class materials: