Summer’s almost over (at least, it feels that way in Melbourne at the moment!) and classes start back in less than two weeks which means it’s time to put my summer project to bed for a bit. I find the whole area of feminist theology fascinating and when I started this little venture I hoped to find something that I would want to pursue for my MDiv project in Semester 2 this year. Here are the four front-running options:
- An exploration of the possibility for a marriage between evangelical and feminist hermeneutics. I often say to people that if I weren’t a Christian, I’d be a feminist but that in the end, the Bible constrains my feminism. So at what point do you stop being a feminist when you consider the Bible? How far can you push it? I’d like to think this through but it’s probably a little large for an MDiv project. Maybe I’ll save it for an MTh!
- An evangelical appraisal of a feminist reading of a Bible passage. Because I think that feminist theology does have something to offer, I think there’s a need for evangelicals to engage with it rather than shying away as many have done. However, the engagement needs to be generous and sympathetic rather than reactionary or defensive. Because it would be confined to one passage, this option would be reasonably easy to contain. However, there wasn’t a particular passage that grabbed me and I felt it was a little pedestrian for a project that takes a whole semester to do.
- A study of a woman from history. I love church history and find it an easy way to engage with theological issues. No surprises that I’d love to spend more time learning about and from Katharina Schutz Zell. The only drawback to this is that it’s quite Western-centric and may not provide me with the scope to explore implications that might be relevant for us in Africa.
- A study in the biblical scope for accessing the language of ‘mother’. I wrote about this here and here but feel like there’s more to explore. How is the term ‘mother’ treated in the Bible? Who can assume the title? What are its characteristics? What does it contribute to an understanding of femininity that is broader than biological motherhood? How does the Bible augment or flesh out different cultural understandings of motherhood? This is my favourite option at the moment. I could approach it from a number of different angles but I’m thinking I’ll probably do it as Old Testament biblical studies.
Let me know which one you think would be good to pursue! The next step is to meet with my supervisor and come up with a research proposal. That will happen in Semester 1 before I really get stuck into writing and researching in the second half of this year.
Tamie Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at meetjesusatuni.com.