Women and the Old Testament: The Construction of Gender

Course InstructorDavid 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 linkhttps://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 formSpring 2013 Registration Form

Link to campus map:  Minneapolis Campus Map

Detailed Course Syllabus (subject to change):

April 3

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.

April 10

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.

April 17

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.

April 24

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.

May 1

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.

May 8

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:

Week 1:  http://prezi.com/aiszwrdu-gji/women-in-old-testament-part-1/ 

Week 2:  http://prezi.com/cmoin4odears/women-and-the-old-testament-part-2/ 

Week 3:  http://prezi.com/3n0elzt96a5m/women-and-the-old-testament-part-iii-exodus/

Week 4:  http://prezi.com/zz2j8hqcjih_/the-women-in-judges

Week 6:  http://prezi.com/7tyb9wdhqgi_/woman-and-old-testament-class-6