Ask a womanist biblical scholar…

by Rachel Held Evans Read Distraction Free

We’re picking up our popular “Ask a…” series in the new year, beginning with “Ask a womanist biblical scholar…”

The term womanism, first coined by author Alice Walker, is a social theory that emerges from the reality that feminism often fails to encompass and center the perspectives of Black women. Though womanism addresses racism and classism, its parameters and implications are still being explored, particularly among people of faith. Our guest today has suggested that the “principles of womanist preaching include affirming the dignity of Black women as legitimate interpreters of the Scriptures whether or not our interpretations converge with those of the dominant culture.” 

The Reverend Wil Gafney, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible at Brite Divinity School in Fort Worth, Texas and is an Episcopal priest canonically resident in the Diocese of Pennsylvania and licensed in the Diocese of Fort Worth.  A scholar of prophets, prophecy and prophetic texts in ancient Israel and surrounding cultures specializing in women prophets, she also specializes in womanist and feminist ways of reading scripture. A particular love is the Hebrew language - reading, teaching, studying - and classical rabbinic (Jewish) biblical scholarship.

Dr. Gafney is the author of Daughters of Miriam: Women Prophets in Ancient Israel, and the Peoples’ Bible, which she co-edited, available through Fortress Press. Other projects include an exploration of motherhood in messianic genealogies in “Mother Knows Best: Messianic Surrogacy and Sexploitation in Ruth” in Mother Goose, Mother Jones, Mommie Dearest: Biblical Mothers and their Children(Brill), and a commentary on Ruth and article on “Responsible Christian exegesis of the Hebrew Scriptures” in the African diasporic biblical commentary The Africana Bible (Fortress). 

You can find her at her blog or on Twitter. 

You know the drill! Leave a question in the comment section for Dr. Gafney and I’ll pick the top 6-7 to send to her for response. Be sure to use the “like” feature to vote on your favorites and look for the full interview sometime next week. 

Ask away! 

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