Two of the most divisive and productive discourses of modernity have been gender and religion; both social systems have created conditions for subordination but also the possibilities for liberation. For most of its history, interpretation of the Bible has provided a nexus for the exploration of gender and religion. In this course we will ask how, when, and why feminists have turned to the Jewish and Christian Scriptures as a resource for the political, cultural, and religious reconfiguration of gender and sexuality.

This course assumes no prior knowledge of the Bible, biblical religions (Judaism and Christianity), or feminism.

This class will be conducted as a seminar, with maximum participation from all of you and minimal intervention from me. Because this course meets only once a week, the weekly reading load may feel a bit heavy. I encourage you to get an early start on the week's readings (certainly don't leave the readings for the night before!) and to make use of Sakai discussion forums to ask questions about the readings.

Because much of the discussion will focus on specific biblical passages, you should bring their Bibles to class (it will also be helpful to bring other readings to class as well to facilitate discussion).

1. Participation (20%). This class is a seminar and requires full participation. If you are unable to participate in class, please make use of the Sakai forums to post questions, ideas, responses to readings or class discussions. I encourage everyone to click the "Watch" tab in the Sakai forums to receive notices when someone posts a new thread.

2. Short Writing Assignments (10% x 4 = 40%). At the beginning of each class, I will give you a brief prompt and we will, as a class, take 10 minutes to write notes, questions, thoughts in response to that prompt. You will then choose four of those impromptu pieces of writing and develop them into fuller pieces of writing, analyzing biblical passages from a variety of feminist frameworks.

Short written assignments must be at least 500 words, but may be in any format: analytic writing, creative writing, poetry. The only requirement is a demonstration of thoughtful engagement with a biblical text from a feminist perspective.

Written assignments may be turned in at any time to the Sakai Drop Box and (once graded and returned) revised and resubmitted. All final written assignments are due by the last day of class, uploaded to Sakai Drop Box.

3. Leading Class (10%). Following the impromptu writing assignment and discussion (and any instructional business from the professor), class will be guided by a pair or, depending on the size of the class, a trio of students. These class leaders must do the following:

a) provide a list of "talking points" for the class, based on questions and ideas that arise from the readings (NB: talking points may be posted ahead of time on Sakai, or distributed in class)
b) guide the class in a close reading of at least one biblical text, in light of the readings we have done for the class

Class leaders may use any of the standard tools of college pedagogy: hand outs, small group assignments, directed questions, etc.

Class leaders are strongly encouraged to meet with the professor before leading class.

4. Final Paper/Project (30%). On the day of the final exam (Thursday, December 17, by 5pm), students will turn in a final project, uploaded to Sakai Dropbox. Students may choose from among the following options (described in more detail on the course website), and are encouraged to come speak early in the semester with the professor to choose one:

a. Exegesis paper
b. Book review
c. History of interpretation
d. Creative project

Student accommodations: Students requiring academic accommodations should contact the appropriate person in their Dean of Students office in order to formalize accommodations (be ready to discuss appropriate accommodations and provide necessary documentation). Accommodations may not be provided for students who have not registered through their Dean of Students Office.

College contact information for student accommodations:
Scripps College:
Claremont McKenna College:
Harvey Mudd College:
Pitzer College:
Pomona College:

You may also find additional resources at the 7C Student Disability Resource Center:

Scripps College’s policy on academic honesty: “Cheating and/or plagiarism seriously violate the principles of academic integrity that Scripps College expects its students to uphold. Academic dishonesty is not tolerated at Scripps and may result in suspension or expulsion from the College. (See the current Guide to Student Life, pp. 90-93.)”

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

•    demonstrate familiarity with multiple feminist frameworks;
•    analyze biblical texts from literary, historical, and creative perspectives;
•    interrogate the role of the Bible in supporting and subverting gender systems

The following books have been ordered for this class and are/should be available from the Huntley bookstore (but feel free to acquire them in whatever way best suits your time and budget):

1. Harold Attridge, ed., HarperCollins Study Bible: Student Edition, revd. (HarperOne, 2005), which is a reliable, well-annotated, and inexpensive Bible. Students may use whichever Bible translation they have at hand, including online Bibles (see the links & resources page).

2. Nyasha Junior, Introduction to Womanist Biblical Interpretation (Westminster/John Knox, 2015)

3. Anita Diamant, The Red Tent (St Martins, 2005)

4. Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale (Anchor, 1998)

In addition, reading materials are available online through the course website. Some materials ae openly available, some are stored on Sakai.

Mark your calendars now!

September 11: Last day to add classes
October 19: Last day to drop classes
December 6: Final drafts of short written assignments due (to Sakai Drobox)
December 17: Final exams due by 5pm to Sakai Dropbox (or via email)

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