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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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Reflections on Reading the Bible

Reflections on Reading the Bible

From Flesh to Female Genius

(p.81) Chapter 4 Reflections on Reading the Bible
The Bible and Feminism

Alison Jasper

Oxford University Press

Looking back over two decades, the author recalls her appropriation of theoretical tools from the French poststructuralist philosopher, Julia Kristeva: first to read women and the feminine-identified flesh back into biblical texts and to resist older readings that viewed these presences as inferior agents or contaminants. Secondly Kristeva’s idea of female genius gives theoretical support to the case that women continually challenge orthodox biblical readings in inauspicious male-normative circumstances by reading the Bible for themselves. Illustrating the concept of female genius, the chapter returns to Jane Leade, a seventeenth-century visionary. She exemplifies the capacity of women to bring something singular and authentic—such as her descriptions of the biblical figure of Wisdom as female and her dream-visions of bodily restorations—to their readings of the Bible. The author continues to pose the question as to whether or not women (and other genders) can continue to profit from reading the Bible.

Keywords:   Julia Kristeva, Jane Leade, female genius, Jacob Boehme, Wisdom

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