A Little Help: Milestone Women in Biblical Studies

Posted on by Brooke

What women would you include in a list of major figures in the study of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament? In particular, who are among the movers and shakers: critical scholars whose work must be taken into consideration by anyone approaching their subject matter?

I invite you to be as subjective and idiosyncratic as you like in your proposals. Nobody has to defend their choices, though by all means describe your reasons as you like.

I ask because I am drafting up some reading lists to use as a resource for designing some courses and for revising courses I already teach. I don’t want to limit myself to the women scholars toward whom I already habitually gravitate.

For obvious cultural reasons, we tend to tick off the major turning points in biblical studies according to men's names: Wellhausen, Gunkel, Noth, von Rad, Muilenburg. From that point, it has been easier (relatively speaking!) for women’s work to be published and to receive regard. As much as possible, I would like to get names from a broad range of periods and approaches.

Taking the study of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament as a whole—old names and new, from every aspect of critical biblical study—what women would you include in a list provisionally titled, “Women biblical scholars with whose work you really must be in conversation, if I am to take seriously your treatment of texts”?