[Reading] ➵ Womanist Midrash ➼ Wilda C. Gafney – Ralphslaurensoutlet.co.uk

Womanist Midrash A text for a Spring 2018 course at Brite Divinity School a fascinating resource on the women in the Hebrew Bible, named and unnamed I particularly enjoyed Dr Gafney s use of what she terms sanctified imagination , where she enters the text as preacher interpreter to tell the story behind the story in midrashs throughout the book This will be an excellent resource for future exegesis of Torah passages From the publisher Womanist Midrash is an in depth and creative exploration of the w A text for a Spring 2018 course at Brite Divinity School a fascinating resource on the women in the Hebrew Bible, named and unnamed I particularly enjoyed Dr Gafney s use of what she terms sanctified imagination , where she enters the text as preacher interpreter to tell the story behind the story in midrashs throughout the book This will be an excellent resource for future exegesis of Torah passages From the publisher Womanist Midrash is an in depth and creative exploration of the well and lesser known women of the Hebrew Scriptures Using her own translations, Gafney offers a midrashic interpretation of the biblical text that is rooted in the African American preaching tradition to tell the stories of a variety of female characters, many of whom are often overlooked and nameless Gafney employs a solid understanding of womanist and feminist approaches to biblical interpretation and the sociohistorical culture of the ancient Near East This unique and imaginative work that is grounded in serious scholarship will expand conversations about feminist and womanist biblical interpretation I accepted a long overdue challenge this year to readtheology by women and POC To be honest, I was nervous Not because I thought I would find something wrong but because I didn t trust myself to be able to integrate wisdom from Christian experiences so different from mine without going to extremes, trying to figure out who is right and who is wrong Enter Wilda Gafney.Her book was such a gift to me, an undeserved one I felt drawn in by her incredible intellect, her well researched I accepted a long overdue challenge this year to readtheology by women and POC To be honest, I was nervous Not because I thought I would find something wrong but because I didn t trust myself to be able to integrate wisdom from Christian experiences so different from mine without going to extremes, trying to figure out who is right and who is wrong Enter Wilda Gafney.Her book was such a gift to me, an undeserved one I felt drawn in by her incredible intellect, her well researched view on the text, and her comprehensive and yet human take on the under told stories of the women of the Hebrew Bible Old Testament.Wilda is famous for saying that she won t let a passage go until it gives her a blessing, no matter how ugly that may be You can FEEL that in her writing She educated me on the rich concept of Midrash How have I been studying the Bible my whole life and am JUST NOW learning this oh yeah, white guys She was clear when she was taking direct material from the text and when the Spirit informed imagination of her teaching was taking hold.I learned SO much.The book, in and of itself, is heart breaking It systematically shows the hundreds of stories that aren t told, and dozens of others that are told in a dramatically one sided way The segment on Moses wives is particularly good She breaks down the implicit rape culture built into the text and the slaveholders bias that showers so many pages of the OT I was reminded in an incredibly deep way that to love the Bible is to love something exemplifying deep beauty and deep brokenness There s no way to cross stitch these truths away.I ll be forever changed by this book Womanist Midrash Is An In Depth And Creative Exploration Of The Well And Lesser Known Women Of The Hebrew Scriptures Using Her Own Translations, Gafney Offers A Midrashic Interpretation Of The Biblical Text That Is Rooted In The African American Preaching Tradition To Tell The Stories Of A Variety Of Female Characters, Many Of Whom Are Often Overlooked And Nameless Gafney Employs A Solid Understanding Of Womanist And Feminist Approaches To Biblical Interpretation And The Sociohistorical Culture Of The Ancient Near East This Unique And Imaginative Work That Is Grounded In Serious Scholarship Will Expand Conversations About Feminist And Womanist Biblical Interpretation [Read] ➲ The Maranaw Torogan ➺ Abdullah T Madale – Ralphslaurensoutlet.co.uk Gafney Offers A Midrashic Interpretation Of The Biblical Text That Is Rooted In The African American Preaching Tradition To Tell The Stories Of A Variety Of Female Characters [PDF / Epub] ☁ Seven Hills Away and Other Stories Author N.V.M. Gonzalez – Ralphslaurensoutlet.co.uk Many Of Whom Are Often Overlooked And Nameless Gafney Employs A Solid Understanding Of Womanist And Feminist Approaches To Biblical Interpretation And The Sociohistorical Culture Of The Ancient Near East This Unique And Imaginative Work That Is Grounded In Serious Scholarship Will Expand Conversations About Feminist And Womanist Biblical Interpretation Can t wait to walk around with a sign taped to my forehead that says, IF YOU THINK YOU KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THE BIBLE AT ALL, PLEASE READ THIS BOOK I BEG OF YOU A must read for anyone interested in women, in womanism, in the Torah or Bible I was especially moved by the chapter on Genesis, and would have given this book an unabashed 5 stars if I wasn t so unfamiliar with the later books of the Tanakh Old Testament that made the last few chapters difficult for me to interact with. I recently had the pleasure of hearing Dr Gafney speak at a conference At one point she stated, Sometimes the problem with the interpretation of the text is the text itself That statement works reasonably well as a summary statement for this book This book is an exercise in discomfort for a white American Christian man raised in the Evangelical tradition Dr Gafney does an amazing job of finding those people that are marginalized in the text and giving them a voice And many of those marg I recently had the pleasure of hearing Dr Gafney speak at a conference At one point she stated, Sometimes the problem with the interpretation of the text is the text itself That statement works reasonably well as a summary statement for this book This book is an exercise in discomfort for a white American Christian man raised in the Evangelical tradition Dr Gafney does an amazing job of finding those people that are marginalized in the text and giving them a voice And many of those marginalized voices continue to be silenced or at least overlooked ignored in traditional Evangelical interpretations.I am accustomed to authors explaining away and minimizing some of the particularly troubling sections of the Bible Gafney does no such thing In fact, if there is a critique to be had here, it is that while conservative theologians always give the text the benefit of the doubt, Gafney seems to do the opposite There were a couple of occasions where I certainly didn t believe her argument was air tight, and I think conservatives would be prone to dismiss her as accepting the worst possible reading.Having said that, part of the high value in this book is confronting the presuppositions our own experiences cause us to bring to the text Her experiences as a black woman are far different from mine as a white man, and she naturally notices things in the text that I am simply blind to It is incredibly valuable to wrestle with many of the issues she brings to light The issues she addresses in this book are not easy to dismiss or explain away.Early in the book she asks the question Is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob truly the God of Hagar, Sarah, Keturah, Rebekah, Leah, Rachel, Bilhah, and Zilpah This question cuts to the heart of the book There are many minor characters that are glossed over in the text Gafney names them, gives them a voice, asks what they would have thought about the God of Abraham, given the way they were treated by God s people.Many of her insights I found incredibly poignant and even heart breaking Others I simply found incredibly interesting This was certainly my first experience reading anything positive into the character of Jezebel For instance, she points out that Jezebel was a foreign woman, married to an Israelite monarch, who manages to maintain fidelity to her religion of origin Gafney writes It is probable that Jezebel s religious devotion is embarrassing for the biblical editors Her faith was a nonnegotiable, in spite of living in a foreign land and being married to someone with a different, intolerant religion On the other hand, the Israelites seem to have never met another deity that they wouldn t try out for a while Some of the most striking sections of the book are where Gafney gives voice to a perspective that is new to me, and something I had honestly never considered before But it would be dismissive to suggest that this book is simply interesting because it comes from a perspective that differs from my own It certainly is that, but it is farthan that While Gafney certainly aims to fill in gaps left in the text with her own perspective, she remains thoroughly engaged with the text itself Gafney is a scholar, and she is thorough in her handling of the Hebrew text While she writes in a way that is accessible, it is also not a book for beginners I highly recommend it Gafney writes commentary on the women mentioned in the Torah and the royal histories of Israel and Judah She writes from a womanist frame explicitly, self consciously influenced by the the experience of African American women And she interprets in the tradition of midrash imaginative reading between the lines informed by scholarship and faith The strength of this eye opening work is the combination of Gafney s womanist lens and her familiarity with and respect for Jewish interpretive trad Gafney writes commentary on the women mentioned in the Torah and the royal histories of Israel and Judah She writes from a womanist frame explicitly, self consciously influenced by the the experience of African American women And she interprets in the tradition of midrash imaginative reading between the lines informed by scholarship and faith The strength of this eye opening work is the combination of Gafney s womanist lens and her familiarity with and respect for Jewish interpretive tradition While the book is consistently fascinating and helpful, Gafney s reading of the David narratives through the story s women, those dominated by David is was for me the most stunning part We think we know Abigail, Bathsheba, Tamar, and others, but by centering these women s stories, and centering an imaginative empathy for marginalized women, Gafney helps me seeof their depth, brilliance, and pathos I m then left with the challenge of the text s patriarchy and its conclusion that David is a man after God s own heart Are God s standards this low Shall I openly dispute not just this editor s conclusion, but the whole tradition that centers the Davidic line, through its Messianic fulfillment according to my faith in Jesus Is it instructive to me that Jesus makes very little mention of David himself, to the point of either disinterest or a reframing of that narrative s heroic center in his tradition Or can I both scorn David s violence, sexism, and his proclivity toward rape and disempowerment and abandonment of women, while also treasuring his devotion and within the limits of his considerable cultural blindness inclination toward repentance Womanist Midrash helps us see much of the Scriptures anew, surfacing some of the tensions a 21st century reader feels in the gut, and inviting a reengagement with the text s themes and impact I so appreciate this direction in scholarship and Bible reading and application In 2018 Carolyn Custis James wrote a journal article entitled, Trauma, Resilience and the Church, in which she wrote the following about the MeToo movement and the churchThese disturbing current events have shed new light on biblical stories I ve heard all my life MeToo stories have been in our Bible, right in front of us, all along But we tend to skip over them or sanitize what s actually happening and ignore the frightening realities presented on the pages of our Bibles We ve all don In 2018 Carolyn Custis James wrote a journal article entitled, Trauma, Resilience and the Church, in which she wrote the following about the MeToo movement and the churchThese disturbing current events have shed new light on biblical stories I ve heard all my life MeToo stories have been in our Bible, right in front of us, all along But we tend to skip over them or sanitize what s actually happening and ignore the frightening realities presented on the pages of our Bibles We ve all done this.These stories convinced me that the MeToo crisis has come to us, to me as Christians The Bible doesn t avoid this topic Jesus doesn t want his church to avoid it either These are those MeToo stories from the Bible andAs I read this book, it took me days to cover sometimes just a few pages as I lamented the stories of horrific pain, injustice and inhumanity splayed sometimes celebrated throughout the Old Testament Gafney s Womanist approach and Sanctified Imagination helped to fill in the details of what else might have been going on between the lines of the story Gaffney celebrated the moments where women demonstrated autonomy, power and resistance against all odds, while also unflinchingly telling the horrors of the frequent abuse and dehumanization of other women in the text As I continue to journey toward comprehending the immeasurable influence of patriarchy on my own life and thinking, I m grateful for this book as I consider it one of the most important books I ve read for my faith I hope I will continue to run into authors and texts like this one that cause me to avoid seeing the bible as stories of triumphalism at the cost of the suffering and marginalized.Many thanks to my wife, JoAnna, for recommending this book How to begin Forget ministry I m just going to head down the road to Fort Worth, take all of her classes, and become a Hebrew Bible scholar Well, not really But it s tempting I originally picked this up because I had heard such great things from others who I admire I am always on board to read commentaries on women in the Hebrew Bible it was one of my favorite things to explore in undergrad Further, I looked through my shelves and realized I had no works of theology or biblica How to begin Forget ministry I m just going to head down the road to Fort Worth, take all of her classes, and become a Hebrew Bible scholar Well, not really But it s tempting I originally picked this up because I had heard such great things from others who I admire I am always on board to read commentaries on women in the Hebrew Bible it was one of my favorite things to explore in undergrad Further, I looked through my shelves and realized I had no works of theology or biblical scholarship written by women of color I had a few books about Christian life and faith, and some on race relations, but none that veeredtoward the academic side of study So glad to have changed that now Gafney s scholarship is INCREDIBLE Her writing and teaching is MASTERFUL I m sure she could put to shame anyone who challenged her knowledge and competence of scripture, or her ability and her CALLING to teach preach it SHAME I tell you I am just blown away Okay, onto the actual book Goodness she does not shy away Yes, Abraham is the father of our faith but he also sex trafficked his own sister wife, impregnated a woman against her will, allowed for her abuse, and then sent her and her son into the wilderness not great Yes, Moses delivered the Israelites from slavery but he also calls for slaughter and genocide even though God does not demand it AND he he denies the daughters of Zelophehad their inheritance granted to them BY GOD RUDE Do not even get me STARTED on David Yes, he is one of the few characters in the Old Testament who understood the importance of monotheism but that s pretty much the only good thing he s got going for him, in my opinion I pray there is a special place in heaven for the women in his life who had to endure him These important figures in our faith were heroes in some ways and horrific villains in other ways They have two or three redeeming qualities or moments, sure Patriarchy, on the other hand, has no redeeming qualities There is no right way If the most important characters in scripture, whom God spoke with and commanded directly, could not lead or rule over women without also subjecting them to grave injustice, what makes anyone think patriarchy, as a model for relationships and authority in the church, bears good fruit In fact, it bears a lot of bad fruit Scripture shows History shows The MeToo movement shows Let s leave patriarchy behind and love God and one another Amen Amen We can not go back and hold Abraham, Moses, David, and others accountable for the crimes they committed against women, but we can and should and must do so today Gafney also points out how patriarchy is, in many ways, responsible for pitting women against one another and and leads women to become perpetrators of crimes against one another This is womanist midrash, not merely feminist Gafney points out how women in scripture betrayed abused disenfranchised other women, and she reminds us how we have continued to do so throughout history She brings to lightmodern and ongoing conflicts which continue to reflect patterns of cruelty and exclusion between people and women of different races nations ethnicities This book is not easy to read It is disturbing to me that consent, which figures so essentially in our conversations about sex today, seemingly had little or no importance to characters in the Hebrew Bible Does this mean consent did not matter to God It is awful to read women listed out with animals as though they are simply property Did God not care enough to correct this misconception when bestowing the law to Moses Or is this how God viewed women as well The section on forced impregnation was also especially troubling Are women nothan wombs What provides readers hope and comfort is the voice Gafney grants to characters, some named and some just imagined We know women were present, even if they were not named We know they played essential roles, even if they were not given a voice Midrash is a means through which to give them names, stories, and voices It grants us permission to use our sanctified imagination It reminds us that women matter, and it s important to consider stories of scripture from their perspective In doing so, we may praise them for their resilience, curiosity, cleverness their grit and grace We may critique them for the part they play in perpetuating injustice We may be in solidarity with them and they may be in solidarity with us We may mourn those who did not survive the crimes committed against them We may be encouraged by those who did survive We may remember their names We may remember they too are children of God Okay, this accidentally turned into a book report I m done now Dr Gafney s Womanist Midrash is an informative and insightful look at the women in the texts of the Hebrew Bible Dr Gafney s aim is to acknowledge by name, as often as possible the women in, around, and behind the text This was extremely helpful to me, because I have been trained to read the Scriptures with from an androcentric viewpoint, where the women are included in the text as props for the actions of the dominant men Dr Gafney s book aims to humanize those women in the eyes of read Dr Gafney s Womanist Midrash is an informative and insightful look at the women in the texts of the Hebrew Bible Dr Gafney s aim is to acknowledge by name, as often as possible the women in, around, and behind the text This was extremely helpful to me, because I have been trained to read the Scriptures with from an androcentric viewpoint, where the women are included in the text as props for the actions of the dominant men Dr Gafney s book aims to humanize those women in the eyes of readers.Because this is a self acknowledged Midrash, Dr Gafney makes interpretive choices Not all of her sanctified imagining a term used repeatedly throughout the book can be fully supported by the text, but she goes to great pains to ensure that those interpretive choices are well grounded within the text of the Hebrew Bible, ancient interpretive traditions, and the culture of the time.I think this book is a very important book for ministers to read, because it causes us to question our received interpretations of many biblical passages I consider myself to have a fairly open mind when it comes to biblical interpretation, and yet Dr Gafney s womanist perspective provides commentary and insights that I, as a straight, white man in ministry have never before considered and I find myself now questioning how I could not have ever considered some of these things.This book is a reminder that the Western, androcentric approach to scripture does not have a monopoly on biblical interpretation, and that serious students of scripture should engage with many other perspectives to try and get acomplete picture of what is going on in the biblical narratives


About the Author: Wilda C. Gafney

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