Women in the Fourth Gospel appear at significant moments in the life of Jesus and seem to move his ministry forward. Certain passages in the stories involving women, however, tend to marginalize these women. How are readers to reconcile such divergent characterizations of women in the Fourth Gospel?
Unlike most works that approach the topic of women in the Fourth Gospel from a historical-critical perspective, The Women in the Life of the Bridegroom visits it from a historical-literary perspective, illustrating how a first-century reader would have understood the characterizations of the women. Adeline Fehribach, SCN, shows that the author of the Fourth Gospel drew on the literary and cultural conventions of the day to portray the female characters to support the descriptions of Jesus as the messianic bridegroom, and that the ancient reader who was familiar with these literary and cultural conventions perceived the women fulfilling the role of mother of the messianic bridegroom, betrothed/bride of the messianic bridegroom, or sister of the betrothed/bride of the messianic bridegroom. Such an understanding of these women helps to explain those aspects in the characterization that appear to be positive as well as negative from a contemporary perspective.
Fehribach identifies five aids for uncovering the literary and social conventions that formed the first-century readers' horizon of expectation with regard to the female characters in the Fourth Gospel: The Hebrew Bible; The Hellenistic-Jewish writings; popular Greco-Roman literature; the concept of honor and shame as used by cultural anthropologists for the study of gender relations in the Mediterranean area; and the history of women in the Greco-Roman world. Information about women from these areas provides the reader with the cultural literacy necessary to understand the text as a first-century reader might have understood it.
Furthering the literary analysis of the Fourth Gospel, The Women in the Life of the Bridegroom contributes to the historical-critical discussion regarding the Johannine community and advances the use of feminist biblical hermeneutics. By illustrating that the author uses female characters to support patriarchal values and marginalizes them after they have fulfilled their literary purpose, this work firmly places the Fourth Gospel within its Greco- Roman and Hellenistic Jewish literary context.
Chapter one locates the book within the context of literary criticism, Johannine studies, and feminist studies. Chapter two explains how the mother of an important son character-type from the Hebrew Bible was used in the characterization of the mother of Jesus at Cana to help identify Jesus as the messianic bridegroom. Chapter three demonstrates how the betrothal type-scene from the Hebrew Bible was adapted for the story of the Samaritan woman at the well to indicate that Jesus, as the messianic bridegroom, wedded himself to the Samaritan people. Chapter four illustrates how the implied author drew on first-century social customs to indicate that Mary of Bethany functions as the betrothed/bride of the messianic bridegroom on behalf of the Jewish people and Martha of Bethany functions as sister of the betrothed/bride. Chapter five illustrates how the mother of Jesus at the cross, as an exchange object, functions as a sign for the heavenly patrilineal descent group, which Jesus establishes through his blood sacrifice. Chapter six describes how type-scenes from Greco-Roman love-novels were adapted to indicate that Mary Magdalene functions as the bride of the messianic bridegroom on behalf of the entire faith community. A final chapter summarizes the conclusions of the book and raises questions about current reconstructions of the Johannine community and presents alternative ways in which a modern reader might interpret the women in this gospel from a non-androcentric perspective.
Chapters are Introduction, The Mother of Jesus at Cana, The Samaritan Woman, Mary and Martha of Bethany, The Mother of Jesus at the Cross, Mary Magdalene at the Tomb, and Summary and Conclusion.
Adeline Fehribach, SCN, is assistant professor of religion at Spalding University, Louisville, Kentucky. She has taught biblical studies on both the high school and college levels. She has also served as a campus minister and as a pastoral associate and director of allay ministers' program in Belize, Central America.
In Women in Myth, Bettina L. Knapp explores the role played by women in ancient societies through analysis of specific myths from nine different lands. The author probes issues as to how figures such as Isis, Tiamat, Dido, Camilla, Deborah, Iphigenia, Salome, Sita, Amaterasu, N -Kwa, and others--some of whom were goddesses--fared. She discusses their abilities and their outlooks, whether their views were gender oriented or androgynous, whether they were deprived of the most basic human rights or excluded from the highest functions of religious worship. Knapp explores whether or not these women had done battle, led armies, founded states, ruled lands, or experienced identity crises. She allows the reader to establish parallels as well as dichotomies between the lives of ancient and contemporary women. The reliving of specific episodes from thousands of years ago as reported in the great myths brings insights into certain relationships and sheds light on events and their ramifications in today's home and workplace.
Elizabeth Clark, a patristic scholar and founder of the Department of Religion at Mary Washington College, has drawn upon her depth of scholarship and linguistic ability to make available to an educated but nonspecialized readership an intriguing mosaic of opinions. - America
This is a substantially expanded and completely revised edition of a book originally published in 1988 as Maenads, Martyrs, Matrons, Monastics. The book is a collection of translations of primary texts relevant to women's religion in Western antiquity, from the fourth century BCE to the fifth century CE. The selections are taken from the plethora of ancient religions, including Judaism and Christianity, and are translated from the six major languages of the Greco-Roman world: Greek, Latin, Aramaic, Hebrew, Syriac, and Coptic. The texts are grouped thematically in six sections: Observances, Rituals, and Festivals; Researching Real Women: Documents to, from and by Women; Religious Office; New Religious Affiliation and Conversion; Holy, Pious, and Exemplary Women; and The Feminine Divine. Women's Religions in the Greco-Roman World provides a unique and invaluable resource for scholars of classical antiquity, early Christianity and Judaism, and women's religion more generally.
Looking for ways to be strong yet tender, independent yet intimate, women today strive toward ever greater understanding of themselves, their relationships with family and friends, and their place in the world.Written by clergy and lay women from all around the country, this compilation of prayers and poems is the collective wisdom of contemporary women who base their search for such understanding on the belief that all of life must be seen against the backdrop of a vital faith. Offered in a spirit of sharing and encouragement, these prayers and poems are as rich, intricate, and complex as the women's lives they represent.
Women's Uncommon Prayers covers the full spectrum of emotions from desperate pleas for compassion in times of despair to quiet gratitude for the simple blessings of everyday living, to raucous praise during moments of celebration. These prayers touch on an amazing array of topics organized under the categories of identity, daily life, stages of life, spirituality, and ministry. Also included are comprehensive sections of seasonal and corporate prayers.
This up-to-date and forward-looking collection of essays on gender and religion fills a crucial gap. Interdisciplinary and multi-traditional, this volume highlights the contributions that different disciplinary approaches make to feminist/gender studies and religion. Designed for the classroom, the Reader simultaneously assesses the state of the field and raises questions for further inquiry and investigation.