Middlebury

"Reading the Women of the Bible" to be topic of lecture March 10

February 23, 2004

"You'll never see the women of the Bible in quite the same way after reading Tikva Frymer-Kensky's excellent new book.  In her able hands, these women emerge from the ancient texts with new strength and vigor.  Frymer-Kensky is a dazzling thinker who presents her ideas with unusual energy and clarity."

-- Ari L. Goldman, author of "The Search for God at Harvard"

 

MIDDLEBURY, Vt.-Tikva Frymer-Kensky, author and professor of Hebrew Bible and the history of Judaism at the University of Chicago Divinity and Law Schools, will give a lecture titled "Reading the Women of the Bible" on Wednesday, March 10, at 7:30 p.m. in Dana Auditorium in the Middlebury College Sunderland Language Center on College Street (Route 125).  Her talk is the 16th annual Hannah A. Quint Lecture in Jewish Studies, and is free and open to the public.

With a title similar to that of her lecture topic, Frymer-Kensky's most recent book, "Reading the Women of the Bible: A New Interpretation of Their Stories" (Schocken Books, 2002), is the winner of a National Jewish Book Award.  The Jewish Book Council of North America presented the honor?the Barbara Dobkin Award in Women's Studies?to her in 2003.

Frymer-Kensky's areas of expertise include biblical studies, Jewish studies, and women and religion.  She is also the author of "In the Wake of the Goddesses: Women, Culture and the Biblical Transformation of Pagan Myth" (Free Press, 2002) and "Motherprayer: The Pregnant Woman's Spiritual Companion" (Putnam, 1995).  She is currently working on a commentary on Ruth and a book on biblical theology.

In "Reading the Women of the Bible," Frymer-Kensky argues that, although ancient Israeli society was a patriarchy, the Hebrew Bible does not portray women as inferior or justify their subordination.  Instead, she contends, women in the Bible provide a paradigm for understanding powerlessness and subordination untainted by prejudicial ideas.  Through creative readings of the stories of Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, Dinah, Tamar, Deborah, Ruth, Jezebel and other biblical heroines, the women of the Bible emerge as victors, victims, virgins or voices of God, each image capturing a critical feature of ancient Israel's sense of itself.

"Like these women, the people of Israel can persevere to preserve their destiny. The gifts of faith, persuasion, persistence and cunning can allow the nation of Israel to be victorious when surrounded by, besieged by, and even conquered by more powerful nations," writes Frymer-Kensky, whose book also received a Koret Jewish Book Award in 2002.

Frymer-Kensky earned her master's degree and doctorate at Yale University.

The Hannah A. Quint Lecture in Jewish Studies was established in 1987 by Hannah A. Quint and her son Eliot Levinson of the Middlebury class of 1964.  The mandate of the lectureship is to provoke thought in the College, the Middlebury community and the region on issues of the moment in Jewish history, religion and culture.  The event is sponsored by the Middlebury College Religion Department and Program in Jewish Studies. 

For more information, contact Charlene Barrett in the Middlebury College Religion Department at cmbarret@middlebury.edu or 802-443-5289.

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