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Level 6

6AAT3051 Women and Gender in the Bible


The modules run in each academic year are subject to change in line with staff availability and student demand so there is no guarantee this module will run. Module descriptions and information may vary depending between years.

Credit value: 15
Module tutor: Dr Jonathan Norton
Assessment: One 2,500-word essay (40%) and one final 3,000-word essay (60%)

Students are reassessed in the failed elements of assessment and by the same methods as the first attempt.

Teaching pattern: Two-hour weekly classes over ten weeks.
Pre-requisites: none

This module provides critical evaluation skills for assessing the characterization of women, and distinctions of gender, in the Bible.

Preliminary reading

  • Bach, A. ed. Women in the Hebrew Bible: A Reader (London: Routledge, 1999).
  • Frymer-Kensky, T. Reading the Women of the Bible (Schoken: New York, 2002).
  • Thurston, B. Women in the New Testament: Questions and Commentary (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2004).

Past syllabus

Please find the syllabus document here for academic year 2015-16. Please be aware that the content of the syllabus will differ each academic year. 

Further information

Module aims

This course explores the characterization and role of women and gender constructions in the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament and New Testament. Students will develop the capacity to assess a variety of ancient and modern approaches to the biblical texts, including feminist exegesis and gender criticism. Archaeological data and other external evidence will also be examined.  The way texts are interpreted and used today will also be of concern.

Key topics:

  • The Genesis account of Adam, Eve and the Serpent.
  • The Women of Genesis
  • Gender in Biblical Law: Masculinity and Femininity
  • Women and Prophecy
  • Asherah and the Cult of Yahweh.
  • Mary Magdalene: A Paradigm for Women’s Discipleship?
  • Leadership Roles in the Earliest Churches
Learning outcomes

Students will develop the ability to interpret biblical texts critically in translation and also gain:

  • The skills to analyse and evaluate secondary literature relating to issues of gender, status and the subordination of women.
  • An understanding of the role of biblical exegesis and its importance, especially feminist exegesis.
  • An awareness of the significance of ancient translations and versions, together with their role in shaping subsequent interpretations.

Specific learning outcomes

Students will gain the skills to produce written work that engages sensitively with issues of gender, status and the position of women in the Hebrew Bible, avoiding oversimplification and identifying the complexities inherent in the text. They will additionally acquire:

  • The ability to independently locate ancient and modern interpretations on any aspect of women and gender in the Bible.
  • The opportunity to engage in constructive scholarly debate with other students.
  • Knowledge of a range of different ancient societies, from the perspective of gender.
  • A deepening critical reflection on the way texts on gender are used today.
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