Distinguished feminist scholar weighs-in on new book: God and Sex

Renowned feminist Biblical scholar Phyllis Trible reviews Michael Coogan’s new book, God and Sex: What the Bible Really Says in the latest issue of the Biblical Archaeology Review.
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Biblical Archaeology
Biblical Studies
Michael Coogan
Phyllis Trible


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Nov. 1, 2010 - PRLog -- The title of Michael Coogan’s new book, God and Sex: What the Bible Really Says, is no doubt intended to turn some heads. In the November/December 2010 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review (BAR), renowned feminist Biblical scholar Phyllis Trible reviews Coogan’s contribution to the field of gender and sexuality in Biblical studies. As Trible assesses, Coogan sees a “paradigm of male dominance and female subordination [that] governs gender relationships in the Bible.”

Yet for the past forty years, Trible points out, feminists have been wrestling with the distinctly foreign and ancient aspects of the Biblical text—especially about abortion, marriage, divorce, adultery, rape, prostitution and same-sex relationships—and what it means for modern life. The “tensions between original meanings and contemporary applications [of Biblical texts] persist” and are compared by Coogan to ongoing debates about the U.S. Constitution.

Trible believes more attention should be spent on the women of the Bible who challenge the paradigm and didn’t fit into the standard patriarchal roles—from queens and prophets to widows and military leaders.

Coogan uses the final chapter of the book to discuss God’s perceived gender and sexuality, from his controversial consort Asherah in popular Israelite religion to the predominance of male language to describe God in the Christian church, while Trible argues for a deeper exploration of female and nongendered language used for God in the Biblical text.

Phyllis Trible’s full book review can be read for free in the Reviews section of the Biblical Archaeology Society’s Web site at www.biblicalarchaeology.org/reviews/review-god-and-sex.asp.

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