Preview Workflow

Viewing: NELC 257 C1: Women in the Bible

Last approved: Tue, 02 Oct 2018 18:59:20 GMT

Last edit: Fri, 28 Sep 2018 15:47:01 GMT

First Name Last Name Userid Title Home School Org Short Name
Diane Moderski moderski ADMIN COORDINATOR School of Arts and Sciences Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations
Spring 2019
Fall 2018
Women in the Bible
The Hebrew Bible stands as the basis of the three most influential monotheistic religions. In recent years these religions have come under attack for promoting misogyny and advancing a patriarchal worldview. The extent to which the allegations of misogyny and promulgation of a patriarchal power structure can be traced back to the Bible will be investigated in this course. This is done by investigating the role women play in the narratives and legal materials found in the Bible. Utilizing modern biblical criticism, we analyze stories such as the expulsion from Eden, the matriarchs, and the rape of Dinah. We also examine the status of women as sisters, wives and mothers while taking into consideration the contributions women made to prophecy and leadership. Finally, a more abstract conceptualization of the feminine in poetry and wisdom writings will be explored. The study of biblical women will not only allow for a renewed appreciation of the feminine in the Bible, it will also lead to an improved understanding of male characters against which the women of the Bible are often cast.
GSWS 258 - Women in the Bible
JWST 254 - Women in the Bible
RELS 257 - Religion and the Polis

Foundational Approach

Course not offered every year
Cross Cultural Analysis
Standing Faculty

Methods of Assessment


Cross Cultural Analysis

The Course “Women in the Bible” offers a close analysis of the presentation of women in biblical literature. The readings of the biblical texts are supplemented by the study of archaeological material from Israel/Canaan, ancient Near Eastern textual sources and visual representations of women. This approach affords us a better understanding of the social and cultural standing of women in the ancient world in general and Israel/Canaan in particular.
Because our perspective is not limited to the Bible, but also engages with the broader spectrum of Ugaritic, Babylonian, Assyrian and Sumerian sources (both textual and visual), we gain a broader perspective of the standing of women in the ancient world. In modern culture, the Bible is considered a deeply religious texts, yet, by contextualizing this text within the culture of the ancient Near East, we discover philosophical and social aspects that are easily overlooked when reading the Bible in a solely religious setting. Placing the Bible within an ancient context allows us to examine the relationship between the Bible, its ancient origin, and our modern day expectations about gender and religion.
This course focuses on women who present more than 50% of the world population. When studying the social, cultic and cultural standing of women in the Bible, we inevitably have to examine the social structure as a whole which also includes the role men played within ancient society. More broadly speaking, studying the role of women in ancient society requires us to closely examine the social hierarchy of the ancient world in general.
This course approaches the methods required for sensitive and critical cultural analysis from a variety of different perspectives. First, the course requires students to closely read the biblical text and extra-biblical sources where applicable. The reading of primary sources is supplemented by carefully chosen, undergraduate appropriate readings which are meant to introduce the student to the method of biblical studies and theory relating to feminist criticism. Through in-class discussions the students are encouraged to hone their reasoning skills and teach each other different perspectives and understanding of the texts. Since the students are from different religious and cultural backgrounds, this approach is usually quite fruitful and leads to meaningful discussions. Furthermore, through presentations and writing projects the students are encouraged to develop and master the theories and methods related to a critical reading of the biblical texts with a particular focus on interpreting the Bible from a feminist/womanist perspective.

Cultural Diversity in the US


Quantitative Data Analysis


Formal Reasoning


Administrative Fields

Key: 820