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The Bible and FeminismRemapping the Field$
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Yvonne Sherwood

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198722618

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198722618.001.0001

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The Wandering Jewess

The Wandering Jewess

Feminism Seeks the Shekhinah

(p.186) Chapter 10 The Wandering Jewess
The Bible and Feminism

Alicia Ostriker

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the author’s development as a feminist poet who began wrestling with the Hebrew Bible and Jewish tradition in the mid-1980s, focusing primarily on two of her books. The Nakedness of the Fathers (1994) is part midrash, part autobiography, re-telling biblical narratives from Genesis to Job and beyond, from a Jewish woman’s perspective. The book combines poetry and prose; it concludes by anticipating ‘the return of the Mother’, who in Kabbalistic tradition is called Shekhinah and is understood to be the female half of an androgynous Godhead. The Volcano Sequence (2002) is an experimental volume of poems which address a slippery ‘you’ that is sometimes the God of the Hebrew Bible, sometimes the speaker’s Mother, sometimes the Shekhinah. The chapter concludes by discussing poetry and prose engaged in analogous projects intended to re-define the nature of God and of the Sacred with emphasis on the sacred female.

Keywords:   Hebrew Bible, Biblical narrative, Jewish tradition, midrash, Genesis, Job, Jewish woman’s perspective, the Mother, the Shekhinah

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