Dr. Nyasha Junior recently published a new book that sold out at the SBL conference in November: An Introduction to Womanist Biblical Interpretation through Westminster John Knox Press. Dr. Junior is an Assistant Professor of Hebrew Bible in the Department of Religion at Temple University in Philadelphia. See her answers to our questions about the book after the publisher’s description:
This book offers a much-needed introduction to womanist approaches to biblical interpretation. It argues that womanist biblical interpretation is not simply a by-product of feminist biblical interpretation but part of a distinctive tradition of African American women’s engagement with biblical texts. While womanist biblical interpretation is relatively new in the development of academic biblical studies, African American women are not newcomers to biblical interpretation. Moreover, although some African American women identify themselves as “womanists,” the term, its usage, its features, and its connection to feminism remain widely misunderstood. After providing historical background, Junior discusses the current state of womanist biblical interpretation and critical issues related to its development and future. This excellent and accessible resource is perfect for introducing readers to the development and applications of womanist biblical interpretation.
Take us “behind the scenes” to the making of An Introduction to Womanist Biblical Interpretation? What inspired you to write it?
I wrote the book for grad students who needed a basic introduction to womanist biblical introduction. I needed a book like this when I was in grad school and didn’t have one. So, I decided to write it myself. It was tough to decide what to include. I wanted to focus on womanist work, but I knew that I needed to provide considerable background information on both feminism and womanism for most readers.
Who do you hope will read this book and why?
The book is for anyone who is interested in womanist approaches in biblical studies, but I especially hope that M.Div. students will read it. I think that there are a lot of misconceptions about feminism and womanism, and in my experience, most M.Div. students haven’t had gender studies courses where those topics might have been covered.
What practical suggestions do you have for teachers, clergy, or facilitators for using this book in the classroom or faith communities?
Part one of the book covers historical background, while part two covers contemporary scholarship. If time is limited, start with chapter four, which discusses how womanist approaches are used within religious-studies-related fields such as ethics and theology. I’m really excited to have the book in students’ hands, and I hope that people will contact me to let me know how they are using it.