I spent Summer Project 2010/11 looking at feminist theology hoping to find something I wanted to pursue for my MDiv Research Project. Originally, I thought I would look at the concept of ‘mother’ in the OT but I’ve decided that’s a little too ambitious for this paper. Instead, I’ve re-directed my research to a particular Bible passage, Judges 11. In particular, I want to look at the story of Jephthah’s daughter, which I blogged on recently.
Here’s the pitch that I included in my proposal, submitted last week:
The story of Jephthah’s daughter is tragic and unpalatable. This begs the question of why it is an indispensable part of scripture. Why do we need this story? Why was it included in Judges? The purpose of this project is to bring together work by evangelical and feminist scholars on this passage. Firstly, it will ask from a literary-theological perspective why this story was included. Secondly, it will examine the distinctive of gender in the story: is there any significance to it being a girl who is sacrificed?
My observation is that feminist scholars look at this story because it has the death of a woman in it, with little regard for how it fits into the broader narrative. On the other hand, many evangelical scholars set it in context well but treat the story as if it’s just a child that gets sacrificed, that is, with little regard for the gender of that child. I think that both are important perspectives and they need to be integrated if we’re going to understand the story and its significance.
So that’s what I’m hoping to do, assuming the proposal is approved!
Tamie Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at meetjesusatuni.com.