Women Biblical Scholars Has Moved to New Website!

Women Biblical Scholars (WBS) is excited to announce a new website with its own domain name! We are now at http://womenbiblicalscholars.com. The new layout will make it easier to find great posts and resources on women scholars.

The old site here is a free wordpress account, which means unwanted ads can clutter the browsing experience. No new content will be added to this old site.

To keep up on the latest, change your links to the new website address! Go to http://womenbiblicalscholars.com. Help get the word out by sharing this new link on social media.

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Posted in Academic Life, Blogger Spotlight, Book Reviews, History of Women, Interpretive Method, Interviews, Profiles, Meet & Greet, Introduction, Manuscripts, Meet & Greet, Mentoring & New Students, New Testament, Old Testament/Hebrew Bible, Profiles, Pseudepigrapha, Publishing, Teaching, Video & Audio, Web Round-Ups | Leave a comment

Book Spotlight: Converts in the Dead Sea Scrolls by Carmen Palmer

Convert1Dr. Carmen Palmer has a new book out called Converts in the Dead Sea Scrolls: The Gēr and Mutable Ethnicity. She is a Hebrew Bible scholar specializing in the Dead Sea Scrolls (read more about her here). In this post Dr. Palmer tells Women Biblical Scholars about the importance of this new work.

Take us “behind the scenes” to the making of Converts in the Dead Sea Scrolls. What inspired you to write it?

This book is a revision of my dissertation project. What started off as an interest in the foreigner in the Hebrew Bible melded with a growing interest in the Dead Sea Scrolls, and emerged as the project it is. Along the way I had to devise my own method as a way of proceeding, by testing whether comparing Dead Sea Scrolls that used the gēr in scriptural rewriting against scriptural predecessors could highlight sociohistorical change. To round it out and further confirm the test I added a chapter comparing some of the findings against Greco-Roman associations, which then became another interest.

Who do you hope will read this book and why?

The book is very specialized toward the Dead Sea Scrolls, and yet also very broad in terms of areas addressed. I hope anyone interested in Dead Sea Scrolls, identity and ethnicity theory, Hebrew Bible, Rewritten Scripture, conversions in ancient Judaism, the foreigner in the Bible, and Greco-Roman associations may find something of use in it. I try to explain and introduce topics in a way that is accessible to both specialists and also to those wanting to gain a general understanding of the topics covered. The topic of conversions in ancient Judaism is still widely debated and I look forward to ongoing discussions with readers, whether they agree or disagree with the book’s findings.

What practical suggestions do you have for teachers or others who might want to use this for the classroom or discussions?

The book can be used in whole or in part fairly readily. I introduce the topic of identity and ethnicity theory in ancient Judaism, as well as in Greek and Roman traditions, in both the introduction and Greco-Roman comparison chapters (Chapters 1 and 5), so I would suggest taking a look at the opening sections of both these chapters if that is your interest. The book also goes over general history of scholarship regarding the various traditions evident in the scrolls, and reassesses that evidence over the course of the book. If you are interested in just a few select passages, you can also distill those in Chapters 2 and 3. Chapter 4 is a good synopsis of what I consider to be key components of ethnicity within the sectarian movement affiliated with the Dead Sea Scrolls, based on the combined findings from Chapters 2 and 3 (shared kinship, connection to land, and common culture in the practice of circumcision).

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Beyoncé, Black Women, and the Bible

Dr. Nyasha Junior, Hebrew Bible prof, discusses womanist biblical interpretation.

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Interview: Carmen Palmer

Photo credit: Martin Luther University College

Dr. Carmen Palmer has taught biblical Hebrew for several years at Emmanuel College in the University of Toronto. Presently she instructs in the area of biblical studies at Martin Luther University College in Waterloo, ON (Canada), and teaches online in the topic of early Christian writings for the College of Emmanuel & St. Chad in Saskatoon, SK (Canada). She earned her BA in French Literature and East Asian Area Studies from the University of British Columbia, a Master of Divinity from Emmanuel College at the University of Toronto, and a PhD in Biblical Studies from the University of St. Michael’s College. She is a scholar of Hebrew Bible specializing in Dead Sea Scrolls, with an interest in identity and conversions. Carmen tweets at @callmescrolls.

How did you decide to become a biblical scholar? Share your autobiographical journey.

I always knew that I would like to complete a doctoral degree, although I never anticipated that it would be in biblical studies or that I would go on to be a biblical and Dead Sea Scrolls scholar. Initially, after I completed highschool, I thought I would become a French teacher. And, in fact I did major in French literature and go on exchange at the francophone Université de Montréal in my undergraduate degree. I also took Japanese language in highschool and university, and thought that I might carry on in Asian Studies, as well.

Meanwhile, I was working as a lay pastoral minister and wanted to get a Masters degree to help with my work in that field. But, after beginning my program and enjoying Biblical Hebrew and Greek, I decided to forge on with doctoral studies in the field of biblical studies, and see where that went. After I began my program, I took a course on the Dead Sea Scrolls. When the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit came to the Royal Ontario Museum in concert with a series of guest lectures at the University of Toronto from several Dead Sea Scrolls specialists, I became heavily involved in the event and was hooked in that field from there.   Continue reading

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Women Scholar Bloggers

Women biblical scholars are on the web! Have you checked these out? Do you know of others?

Miryam Brand

Mette Bundvad

Jennifer Chiou

Krista Dalton (at Ancient Jew Review)

April DeConick

Wil Gafney

Sandra Glahn

Deidre Good

Jennifer Guo

Laura Hunt

Carmen Imes

Nyasha Junior

Karen R. Keen

Lyn M. Kidson

Lydia Lee

RJS (she is a scientist, but her writing intersects with Bible)

Roberta Mazza

Marg Mowczko

Laura Robinson (podcasts)

Mitzi Smith

Ekaterini G. Tsalampouni

Women Biblical Scholars

Old sites still up but not updated in a few years:

Julia M. O’Brien

Suzanne McCarthy (now deceased; blogged at BLT)

Judy Stack-Nelson

Celia Wolff

Kelly Wilson

See also the new Logia Resource Database of women scholars. Know of any women scholar bloggers not cited here? Post their links in the comment section.

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Interview: Rachel Coleman

R ColemanDr. Rachel Coleman teaches undergraduates and graduate students at Indiana Wesleyan University, United Theological Seminary, and Asbury Theological Seminary, as well as teaching twice a year in Latin America and Spain for One Mission Society. Rachel earned her B.A. from Asbury University (formerly Asbury College), M.A. in Spanish Language and Literature from the University of Kentucky, M.A. in Biblical Studies from Asbury Theological Seminary, and PhD in Theological Studies (New Testament) from Regent University. Rachel blogs at writepraylove660813036@wordpress.com.

How did you decide to become a biblical scholar? Share your autobiographical journey.

To borrow an image from Ecclesiastes, I would describe my journey as the slow and painstaking weaving together of three strands into a strong cord that tugged me toward biblical scholarship. The first of those strands is a life-long love of language (my first Master’s degree, back in another lifetime, was in Spanish Language and Literature from the University of Kentucky in 1987). I have always been fascinated with words, written communication, and the intricacies and subtleties of how language works. The second strand is a life-long love of Scripture, which began with my “conversion” experience. It was during the reading of the crucifixion account from John’s Gospel that I became aware, at age 14, that this story was real, that it mattered, and that I could be part of it. Those two strands complemented each other, and I quickly found myself practicing inductive and narrative approaches to the sacred text, long before I could name or describe either one of those things!  Continue reading

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Beth Stovell on Biblical Hermeneutics and Discernment

Dr. Beth Stovell is professor of Old Testament at Ambrose Seminary in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. A few years ago, Stovell delivered a paper entitled “Read This Writing and Tell Me What It Means” at the Society of Vineyard Scholars Conference. In the lecture she explores how Christians who ordinarily look for a singular meaning in Scripture address the diversity inherent in a charismatic tradition.

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Interview: Tracy M. Lemos

T. M. Lemos is Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible at Huron University College and a member of the graduate school faculty at the University of Western Ontario.  She earned her BA from Brown University in Judaic Studies and her PhD in Religious Studies from Yale University. She is a historian of ancient Israel and early Judaism and a biblical scholar.

How did you decide to become a biblical scholar? Share your autobiographical journey.

My parents are Azorean immigrants and religious Catholics.  My mother in particular is quite pious, and in the immigrant community in which I grew up it was common to have gatherings in people’s houses where we would pray the rosary before votive statues of the Virgin Mary or a crown representing the Espírito Santo.  Religion was very prominent in my life growing up and, to be entirely frank, I fought this tooth and nail.  I read the Bible, read books about religion, just to debunk Catholic dogma.  Interestingly, I ended up falling in love with Judaism, Jewish texts, and Jewish history.  I took biblical Hebrew my very first semester at Brown and started taking courses with Saul Olyan my junior year.  Saul ended up being my thesis advisor and mentor.  I joke with him now that being introduced to biblical studies through him really misled me—I thought the field was full of secular gay Jews.  It isn’t.  Speaking seriously, though, I really cannot understate his influence on my becoming a biblicist versus some other type of scholar.  I had considered getting a Ph.D. in Portuguese and Brazilian studies—in fact, I would fit in better in that field in many ways than I do in Biblical Studies.  However, Saul was just such a good mentor to me.  I was a working-class kid at an elite school who was coming out of the closet and had never known even one openly gay person growing up.  I really needed a good mentor.  He became a kind of parent figure to me, and so choosing to be a scholar of the Hebrew Bible seemed fitting and appealing to me.  Continue reading

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Miryam Brand on Intergenerational Punishment in the Hebrew Bible

Dr. Miryam Brand, a teacher and researcher specializing in the area of Second Temple period literature, has posted two podcasts on intergenerational punishment in the Hebrew Bible. Click to listen to each one below, and be sure to check out her website for more.

  1. Intergenerational Punishment – Changing World Views in the Bible
  2.  “Ezekiel, Intergenerational Punishment and Individual Responsibility
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Interview: Karen R. Keen

KKKaren R. Keen has taught students at Marquette University and Wake Technical Community College. She earned her B.S. from Corban University (formerly Western Baptist College), M.S. from Western Oregon University, M.A. from Western Seminary, and Th.M. from Duke University Divinity School. She also conducted postgraduate research at Marquette University in the area of Judaism and Christianity in Antiquity. Keen blogs at karenkeen.com.

How did you decide to become a biblical scholar? Share your autobiographical journey.

Scripture has always captivated me. In junior high I bought a Greek primer in hopes of reading the New Testament in its original language. However, the tradition I was raised in did not believe women should teach, preach, or contribute new interpretations of the text. Even though I eventually rejected that view, the message was so ingrained that it never occurred to me to consider seminary. I had never met a woman biblical scholar or seminarian. Only after I was established in a student affairs career at the University of California (UCSC) did I begin taking classes toward a Master’s degree in exegetical theology. While at UCSC I developed an increasing desire to be on the teaching side of academia. My job allowed me to  guest lecture (on disability law), and I enjoyed engaging with students on pertinent topics.  For example, while walking around campus I observed flyers for  events that highlighted the tensions in Israeli and Palestinian relations. So I organized a campus forum on “God in the Middle East: Faith and Palestinian/Israeli Reconciliation.” The Christian, Jewish, and Muslim panelists discussed how their faith contributed to principles of peacemaking and how religion can be a source of healing rather than violence. Afterward students asked me to serve as a moderator for a Sustained Dialogue group.   Continue reading

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