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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Divinity : Divinity

Undergraduate Course: Adam, Eve and LGBT+: Sex and Gender in the Hebrew Bible (DIVI10002)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Divinity CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe seminar wants to give an introduction into the different ideas around sex and gender in the Hebrew Bible. It discusses matters such as the creation of man and woman, the connection of sexuality and male struggles for power and honour, laws about sexuality in the Pentateuch, and the use of the marriage metaphor for the relationship between Yhwh and Israel.
Course description Academic Description:
'The Hebrew Bible is sometimes understood as the source of a 'traditional' Judaeo-Christian approach to marriage and sexual practice. A comprehensive examination reveals, however, that biblical assumptions about sex, gender, and kinship are complex and internally diverse. Some of these assumptions stand in tension with traditional Jewish and Christian norms for marriage and sexual activity.' (Ken Stone).

The seminar wants to give an introduction into these diverse assumptions around sex and gender by engaging with the biblical texts and selected secondary literature. It discusses matters such as the creation of man and woman, the connection of sexuality and male struggles for power and honour, laws about sexuality in the Pentateuch, and the use of the marriage metaphor for the relationship between Yhwh and Israel. Due to the topic of the course, there will be some sexually explicit materials and the seminars will deal with several adult themes.

Sample Syllabus/Outline Content:
Week 1: Course Introduction and Course Hermeneutics: Sex and Gender - Same or Different?
Week 2: The Creation of Man and Woman: Gen 1-3
Week 3: Sex and Violence I: Gen 19 and Judg 19
Week 4: Sex and Violence II: Gen 34 and 2 Sam 13
Week 5: Forbidden Sex: Lev 18
Week 6: David and Jonathan (1 Sam 19:1-8): A Model for Same-Sex Love?
Week 7: King David and Bathsheba (2 Sam 11): Me Too in Jerusalem?
Week 8: The Prophetic Marriage Metaphor I: The Prophet and the Whore (Hos 1-3)
Week 9: The Prophetic Marriage Metaphor I: Porno-Prophecy in Ezek 16 and 23
Week 10: Love Poetry: Song of Songs
Week 11: Course Summary and Revision

Student Learning Experience Information:
Students will be taught in weekly learning activities, which comprise a teacher-led input, close readings of the primary texts and discussions with interactive elements. The engagement with the biblical texts combines literary readings with a solid historical-critical approach, aiming to understand the texts as documents from their own times. Students are expected to prepare the biblical texts and secondary readings for discussion, where they may be asked to engage in learning activities, discussions and partner-work, reflect on a piece of art, or discuss the implications of the biblical texts for today's society. The preparation comprises 1-2 biblical texts and approximately 60 pages of readings per seminar session.

Students are assessed on a coursework essay and an exam, through which they will demonstrate the achievement of the learning outcomes. A one-to-one 'Learning Conversation' in the middle of term offers the students the opportunity to reflect on their learning experience; on this occasion, they will also receive feedback on their essay plan.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students are welcome.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. To critically analyse texts from the Hebrew Bible and discuss their understanding of sex and gender.
  2. To reflect on their learning experience, focusing on how the course contributes to their own understanding of sex and gender.
  3. To compose a critical essay on the topic of sex and gender that analyses the textual evidence and engages with different scholarly understandings.
  4. To position themselves in the discussion on sex and gender by providing short and comprehensive answers on various problems pertaining to the discussion.
  5. To assess the exegetical insights against the background of wider theological discussions and engage in cross-discipline discourse.
Reading List
Gertz, Jan Christian. The T&T Clark Handbook of the Old Testament: An Introduction to the Literature, Religion and History of the Old Testament. London: T&T Clark, 2012.

O'Brien, Julia M. (Ed.). The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Bible and Gender Studies. Oxford: OUP, 2014.

Scholz, Susanne. Introducing the Women's Hebrew Bible. Feminism, Gender Justice, and the Study of the Old Testament. London: T&T Clark, 2007.

Stone, Ken, 'Marriage and Sexual Relations in the World of the Hebrew Bible,' in The Oxford Handbook on Theology, Sexuality, and Gender, ed. Adrian Thatcher, Oxford: OUP, 2014.

Trible, Phyllis. Texts of Terror: Literary-Feminist Readings of Biblical Narratives. London: SCM Press, 1992.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills - Curiosity for learning and openness to different perspectives
- Finely-tuned skills in translation, analysis and interpretation of biblical texts
- Ability to communicate effectively with others, both orally and in writing
KeywordsHebrew Bible,theology,sex,gender,violence,love
Course organiserDr Anja Klein
Tel: (0131 6)50 8960
Course secretary
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