Just over a week ago we held a small gathering of OT scholars in Worcester (UK) to discuss the issues raised for evangelicals by feminist hermeneutics. Scholars from New Zealand, Australia, USA, and the UK gathered to discuss papers that had been circulated in advance on biblical texts that have generated considerable comment from feminist interpreters:
creation and fall (Gen 1—3)
The rape of Dinah (Gen 34)
Miriam, the daughters of Zelophehad, and the sotah text (Numbers)
Deuteronomic laws concerning sex (Deut)
the Levite's concubine (Judg 19-21)
the rape of Tamar (2 Sam 13)
Ezekiel 16 and 23 (and the issue of "porno-prophesy")
The Song of Songs
as well as a couple of papers on the biblical metanarrative and hermeneutics.
It was a very small but a truly groundbreaking event.
The amazing fact is that whilst feminist hermeneutics has been a major part of academic biblical OT study for a fair few years now, a literature search of books and articles by evangelicals reveals an almost total absence of engagement with such feminist scholarship!
Hard as it is to believe, evangelicals have almost completely ignored the challenge posed by feminist hermeneutics!!!
(Yes - I know that we evangelicals could fill the British Library with all the books and articles they have written on 1 Tim 2 or 1 Cor 11 but these are very intra-evangelical discussions and we have ignored the vast bulk of feminist scholarship—especially on the OT).
So our plan was to make a very small gesture towards changing that. Our discussions marked a small start but one has to start somewhere and we hope that others will follow and take the engagement further on. Constructive dialogue was our risky model.
We came to no consensus but we all agreed that an open and fruitful dialogue between evangelical and feminist hermeneutics was not only possible but critical.
Call me a wooley liberal feminist if you like—I don't give a stuff. I know I am a real man because I piss standing up (see post below) ... except at night ... and that's because it is dark.
The papers will be published as a book by Wipf and Stock (title to be decided).