Feminist Scholarship on the Old Testament

Susanne Scholz

in Biblical Studies

ISBN: 9780195393361
Published online February 2012 | | DOI:
Feminist Scholarship on the Old Testament


Feminist scholarship on the Old Testament / Hebrew Bible has its historical roots in various women’s movements throughout the ages, especially in the first women’s movement of the 19th century. It became a systematic academic endeavor only in the 1970s, when the second feminist movement took hold in Western-Northern societies such as in the United States. It was then, in the 1970s, that feminist scholars with formal academic credentials in the fields of biblical, theological, and religious studies grounded their scholarship in the demands, challenges, and insights of the second feminist movement. This movement gained strength, prominence, and power during the civil-rights movement of the 1960s and came to define itself as the continuation of the first women’s movement of the 19th century, when feminists fought for the women’s suffrage, often in conjunction with the abolitionist movement. With the reemergence of feminist voices in the 1970s, after almost seventy years of silence, repression, and forgetfulness, women no longer lacked academic, intellectual, and scholarly credentials, unlike earlier generations of feminists who had faced systematic exclusion from social, political, economic, religious, and educational institutions. Now, for the first time in Western societies, feminist Hebrew Bible scholars examined, deconstructed, and reconstructed androcentric assumptions, biases, and perspectives in biblical literature and the various histories of interpretation. They used the standard scholarly tools, procedures, and methodologies practiced in the academic field of biblical studies. Importantly, feminist scholars placed women, gender, and sexualities in the center of their exegetical work. Today’s field, in the early 21st century, includes feminist exegetes from around the globe who connect gender analysis with other social categories such as race, class, and geopolitical location. Since the early 1970s, then, feminist scholarship on the Old Testament / Hebrew Bible has produced new ways of thinking about, learning from, and reading the sacred texts of Christianity and Judaism and the extensive histories of interpretation.

Article.  15359 words. 

Subjects: Biblical Studies

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