Academic Programs 

The Relevance of Biblical Women (SC-653)
Fall 2008

Women of the Bible seem so remote
– mired in anonymity, buried in a text –
yet their relevance is astonishing when seen through a different lens.
Step inside their stories to receive fresh insights into issues we wrestle with today.
You will be surprised at how much we can learn from an ancient sisterhood.

Meeting Day, Time and Dates:
Wednesdays from 6 to 9 p.m., beginning Sept. 10 (10 weeks)

Miriam Therese Winter
Professor of Liturgy, Worship and Spirituality

Contact Information:
(860) 509-9558


Course Syllabus


The primary goals of this course are:

  • to see women of biblical traditions from a quantum perspective in order to perceive how their spirit is relevant to the spirituality underlying our personal and public lives
  • to tell the stories behind the stories in ways that resonate with our stories, thereby revealing the hidden wisdom in a quantum unive
  • to show how certain women of the Bible can enrich our spiritual journey as companions, mentors, and guides

The primary outcomes of this course are:

  • a renewed appreciation for the women of biblical traditions
  • an understanding of how the backstory, which is often where we find the women, affects the telling of a story, as well as its interpretation and its application
  • a quantum sense of the meaning of the term “biblical women”

If you are auditing the course, you are expected to:

  • participate in class activities and discussions
  • read whatever you choose from the course reading list, or simply attend class sessions

If you are taking the course for credit, you are expected to:

  • participate fully in class activities and discussions
  • read the seven books and articles on the course reading list
  • read at least one of the additional readings
  • submit a one-page paper on what you will take with you from this course, noting the relevance of this learning to your own life and/or ministry
  • complete and submit the self-assessment Grade Sheet with your reflection page

On the day that grades are due, students taking the course for credit must submit to the instructor either a Grade Sheet or a signed Incomplete Form (available online).

Grades are due January 12, 2009


Week One September 10 Introducing a Quantum Perspective
• context and perception, lenses and frames
There is no assigned reading for this first session.

Week Two September 17 Garden Stories Retold and Reinterpreted
• revisiting Eden, exonerating Eve
Reading: The Chronicles of Noah (Genesis stories)

Week Three September 24 Biblical Women Who Lied for the Faith and Were Blessed
• the rise and fall of matriarchal empowerment
Reading: “Women Who Lied for the Faith” (article)

Week Four October 1 Bold, Brave Women in Biblical Tradition
• recovering the backstory as hermeneutical essential
Reading: The Chronicles of Noah (Exodus stories)

Week Five October 8 Bad Girls of the Bible
• were those girls really that bad?
Reading: Bad Girls of the Bible

Week Six October 15 Foreign Women of the Bible
• re-righting the record, rewriting their stories
Reading: selections from reference resources on reading list

Week Seven October 22 Miriam and Mary of Magdala – Who Do You Say You Are?
• the real story of leadership and love
Reading: The Gospel of Mary of Magdala (King) – optional

Week Eight October 29 Eyewitnesses to All Things New
• the vision entrusted to women
Reading: The Gospel According to Mary (Winter)

Week Nine November 5 Telling Our Stories: Biblical Women Then and Now
• honoring oral traditions
Reading: “ … A Hermeneutics of Wisdom”

Week Ten November 12 Biblical Women and the Quantum Spirit
• wisdom and spirit traditions within Tradition
Reading: “Transforming the Legacy of The Woman’s Bible”

Reading List

Brock, Rita Nakashima. “Dusting the Bible on the Floor: A Hermeneutics of Wisdom.” In Searching the Scriptures. A Feminist Introduction. Ed. by Elisabeth Schűssler Fiorenza. New York: Crossroad, 1993 – pp. 64- 5.

Craven, Toni. "Women Who Lied for the Faith." In Justice and the Holy: Essays in
Honor of Walter Harrelson, ed. by Douglas A. Knight. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1989.

Essex, Barbara J. Bad Girls of the Bible. Exploring Women of Questionable Virtue. Cleveland, OH: The Pilgrim Press, 1999.

Fiorenza, Elisabeth Schűssler. “Transforming the Legacy of The Woman’s Bible.” In Searching the Scriptures. A Feminist Introduction. Ed. by Elisabeth Schűssler Fiorenza. New York: Crossroad, 1993 – pp. 1-24.

Torjesen, Karen Jo. “Preachers, Pastors, Prophets and Patrons.” In When Women Were Priests. Women’s Leadership in the Early Church and the Scandal of Their
Subordination in the Rise of Christianity.
HarperSanFrancisco, 1993 – pp. 9-50.

Winter, Miriam Therese. The Chronicles of Noah and Her Sisters. Genesis and Exodus According to Women. Wipf and Stock, 2008. [reprint of an earlier edition]

--------. The Gospel According to Mary. A New Testament for Women. Orbis Books, 2008. [reprint of an earlier edition – available in October]

Additional Readings

King, Karen L. The Gospel of Mary of Magdala. Jesus and the First Woman Apostle.
Santa Rosa, CA: Polebridge Press, 2003.

Pardes, Ilana. Countertraditions in the Bible. A Feminist Approach. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1992.

Reference Resources

Winter, Miriam Therese. WomanWisdom. Women of the Hebrew Scriptures: Part One.
New York: Crossroad, 1991.

--------. WomanWitness. Women of the Hebrew Scriptures: Part Two. Crossroad, 1992.

--------. WomanWord. Women of the New Testament. Crossroad, 1992.

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