The first of our Cornerstones that we are profiling is by none other than current SBL president Athalya Brenner-Idan.
In the first edition of The Israelite Woman Athalya Brenner-Idan provided the first book-length treatment by a feminist biblical scholar of the female characters in the Hebrew Bible. Now, thirty years later, Brenner provides a fresh take on this ground-breaking work, considering how scholarly observation of female biblical characters has changed and how it has not. Brenner-Idan also provides a new and highly personal introduction to the book, which details, perhaps surprisingly to present readers, what was at stake for female biblical scholars looking to engage honestly in the academic debate at the time in which the book was first written. This will make difficult reading for some, particularly those whose own views have not changed.
“A wonderful book - concise, thoughtful, and as much an introduction to the Hebrew Bible as a whole as a reflection of the place of women within it. Athalya is very attentive to detail, and comprehensive - she provides a rich spectrum of the social roles of women, and a survey of literary schemata concerning women e.g. as temptresses, or as mothers of heroes. The book concludes with a brilliantly insightful consideration of the pros and cons of the story of the Garden of Eden, and woman's place in it. As Athalya writes in her final reflection, she intended in writing the book to fill in the gaps in Israelite history and the study of women in its literature. It succeeds beautifully.” – Francis Landy, University of Alberta, Canada