Any reading of the Bible is always selective: the more political the agenda, the more biased the reading, says Professor Martti Nissinen. According to the researcher, ideals of gender equality have met with surprising resistance within some circles interpreting the Bible.
From June to August 2017, we have hosted on our website a forum discussion on various aspects related to “gender”. The papers by Saana Svärd and Hanna Tervanotko, Rick Bonnie, Francis Borchardt, and Anneli Aejmelaeus that were posted on our website were originally presented during the last Annual Meeting in May 2018 in Tvärminne, Finland. Continue reading “CSTT and Gender” e-booklet→
Because of the format of a blog post, I have summarized passages and deleted citations and footnotes. For the full form of the text with appropriate references and bibliography the reader is invited to consult: Saana Svärd: “Studying Gender: A Case Study of Female Administrators in Neo-Assyrian Palaces” In: Brigitte Lion & Cécile Michel (eds.), The Role of Women in Work and Society in the Ancient Near East. Studies in Ancient Near Eastern Records (SANER) 13. Walter de Gruyter, Boston. 2016, pp. 447-458.Continue reading CSTT and Gender #5: Gender and Methodology in Assyriology→
When I finished my doctorate 35 years ago, I was the ninth female doctor of theology in Finland ever, and the second in Biblical studies, the first one having been my colleague Raija Sollamo. You can imagine that the field was heavily male-dominated. Since then the situation has radically changed, the male doctors being already in the minority among the most recently finished doctorates in the field of theology. Continue reading CSTT and Gender #4: Stories from Real Life→
Since the early 1980s, gender research has relatively quickly entered the realm of archaeology and gradually developed into its own subject area in the field. To a large degree, however, this shift first took place in archaeological sub-disciplines far removed, so it seems, from Near Eastern, biblical, or classical archaeology. The latter have only very slowly and unfortunately still rather sparingly introduced research on gender roles and identities. To be sure, the field has developed and improved substantially over the last two decades. This is shown, for instance, by the works of such eminent scholars as Beth Alpert Nakhai, Carol Meyers, and Jennie Ebeling, as well as the substantial scholarly interest in the recent workshops on “Gender, Methodology, and the Ancient Near East” organized by Saana Svärd and Agnes Garcia-Ventura.Continue reading CSTT and Gender #3: Discussing Gender in the Archaeology of the Classical Periods in Israel/Palestine→
What in the world does gender have to do with the historical critical method? Because I write in as the representative of the CSTT’s Team 3 in this forum, I’m expected to somehow connect a discussion of gender with “Literary Criticism in Light of Documented Evidence”. This is not exactly an easy task. Gender is usually thought of as a contextual discussion, and even by gender scholars is conceived as a category that has only entered scholarly and popular consciousness in modern and post modern times. Meanwhile Literar–Kritik, or more broadly, the historical critical method, which encompasses much of what the CSTT’s Team 3 does, makes claims to exist outside of a given context. It is concerned only with revealing the history of the text and behind the text. Or, at least that is how it presents itself. And that is precisely the topic of my discussion. Surprise! I’ve taken an opportunity to turn this into a discussion about methodology. Continue reading CSTT and Gender #2: A Gender Theory Critique of the Historical-Critical Method→
We first got the idea to do something on gender at the 2016 CSTT annual meeting in Saariselkä, where, during the joint sessions, there was some discussion on gender both as an analytical category for research and as a factor in the scholarly community in general. CSTT is a large community and the research topics we operate with resonate only to a certain extent with those of our colleagues. Some of the most fruitful and engaging discussions within the entire group have been those that somehow address philosophy of research and involve everyone. Continue reading CSTT and Gender #1: An Introduction→
Jessica M. Keady uses insights from social science and gender theory to shed light on the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Qumran communities. Through her analysis, Keady shows that it was not only women who could be viewed as an impure problem, but also that men shared these characteristics as well.
The first framework adopted by Keady is masculinity studies, specifically Raewyn Connell’s hegemonic masculinities, which Keady applies to the Rule of the Community (in its 1QS form) and the War Scroll (in its 1QM form), to demonstrate the vulnerable and uncontrollable aspects of ordinary male impurities. Secondly, the embodied and empowered aspects of impure women are revealed through an application of embodiment theories to selected passages from 4QD (4Q266 and 4Q272) and 4QTohorot A (4Q274). Thirdly, sociological insights from Susie Scott’s understanding of the everyday – through the mundane, the routing and the breaking of rules – reveal how impurity disrupts the constructions of daily life. Keady applies Scott’s three conceptual features for understanding the everyday to the Temple Scroll (11QTa) and the Rule of the Congregation (1QSa) to demonstrate the changing dynamics between ordinary impurity males and impure females.
Underling each of these three points is the premise that gender and purity in the Dead Sea Scrolls communities are performative, dynamic and constantly changing.
The video lectures of the 2nd workshop on Gender, Methodology, and the Ancient Near East, which was held in Barcelona in February 2017 (full program here and a report here), are now online.
The Youtube playlist has the following presentations:
Welcome to the Second Workshop on Gender, Methodology and the Ancient Near East – Adelina Millet Albà (IPOA, Universitat de Barcelona)
Presentation and introduction to the Second Workshop on Gender, Methodology and the Ancient Near East Agnès Garcia-Ventura (IPOA, Universitat de Barcelona) & Saana Svärd (University of Helsinki)
“Dressing the Whore of Babylon for the 21st Century: Sex, Gender and Theory in Mesopotamian Studies” – Ann Guinan (Babylonian Section, University of Pennsylvania, Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology)
“Queering šà-zi.ga Therapy. Considerations on the Relations between Masculinity, Sickness and Anatomy” – Gioele Zisa (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München)
“Domesticating the Female Body: Ancient Mesopotamian Discourses on Fertility and (Re)production” – M. Erica Couto-Ferreira (Universität Heidelberg)
“Nefertiti and the ‘Docile Agent'” – Jacquelyn Williamson (George Mason University)
Last week Friday’s Wikipedia edit-a-thon on “Women and the bible” was a great success. The edit-a-thon was organized by the CSTT and was open for all faculty and students of Helsinki’s Faculty of Theology. (If you’re unfamiliar with what an “edit-a-thon” is and would like to know more, check out this site.) And, though we were only around a dozen in number, the participants from Theology and the volunteers of Wikimedia Suomi created and edited around a dozen of entries in the Finnish and English Wikipedia. Continue reading Women and the Bible: a Wikipedia Story→
The Academy of Finland's Centre of Excellence, Faculty of Theology, University of Helsinki