This talk will provide evidence of the particular contributions of feminist interpretation of the Bible. However, no one has to a feminist to observe that many passages, motifs, themes, and the meta-narrative itself proclaim liberation—redemption—from oppression, subverting the patriarchy that it elsewhere assumes and sometimes propagates. Any close reader of the Bible can see that its narratives demonstrate that God works through all sorts of people, especially marginalized “outsider” women. Even a traditional text like the Bible, produced in patriarchal cultures over a span of over 1000 years, affirms women as models for all of God’s people. Unfortunately, it has taken centuries and the work of women, feminist biblical interpreters, to emphasize this, because most traditional interpreters ignored or minimized the women in the Bible. Feminist readings of the Bible have opened up the space for gender equality at all levels of the church. They demonstrate that the Bible supports, not only gender equality, but also redemption from other hierarchies, such as classism, racism, as well as the cycles of poverty. Karen uses the stories of Tamar in Genesis, Zipporah in Exodus, Rahab in Joshua, and Mary Magdalene in John, because she believes stories are the most memorable and powerful way to convey meaning.
Professor Karen Strand Winslow teaches courses in the Old Testament, early Judaism, Scripture formation and interpretation, and women in the Bible and the Church. She is Professor in the Department of Biblical & Theological Studies at the University of Washington and Azusa Pacific Seminary at Azusa Pacific University. She is an ordained elder in the Free Methodist Church, and her other fields of expertise include Jewish studies, sociology of religion, and women in religion. She is a member of the Society of Biblical Literature, the American Academy of Religion, and the Wesleyan Theological Society.