Friday, September 11, 2009

Results: 5 (Female) Biblical Scholars who have most influenced us

I am not a "real writer." I am a writer. Without modification.
--Nancy Mairs, Voice Lessons: On Becoming A (Woman) Writer

"[I]f you still intend to do the meme or I have missed your post, send me the link," says Mike Koke earlier this week after he tallied the results of his meme.  So far, here the top 4 biblical ("female") scholars:

#1. The winner with 7 votes is Phyllis Trible.
#2. Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, April DeConick and Paula Fredriksen received 6 votes.
#3. Frances Young recevied, Adela Yarbro Collins, Mary Douglas, Adele Berlin, Elaine Pagels and Carolyn Osiek 4 votes.
#4. Amy-Jill Levine, Susan Niditch and Marianne Meye Thompson received 3 votes. The rest received one or two votes. 
I'm not intending to tip the balance.  But maybe my late list can help in some way:

1.  Dr. Osiek directly influenced me with tremendous contributions to my own thinking and to my doctoral dissertation!  Her translation, Shepherd of Hermas: A Commentary, was the work that much shaped my research. Although my project was not in biblical scholarship per se (but in feminisms, rhetorics and translation), she was the most proficient Greek reader on the committee and added helpful perspectives, struggling with me over the words, even continuing a dialogue she started in the defense by emailing me afterwards.  She announced retirement at the end of the last academic year, but she's still working I know.  The last email she sent was from a distant land where I know she's researching.  I told her that several in the blogosphere would love to see her there as a biblioblogger; alas, she's not going to start blogging and has her very good reasons.  (I should listen!)  It's thrilling to see so many of you influenced by Carolyn Osiek!!!  My very favorite work of hers is just a little article with a huge implications:  "It does no good to affirm the full dignity and equality of women with men if our language, our imagery, and our metaphors continue to perpetuate inequality." -- "The Bride of Christ : a problematic wedding - Ephesians 5:22-33" Biblical Theology Bulletin, Spring, 2002 - also available online in full for free here.

2.  Dr. DeConick has influenced a good many of us who blog.  Her scholarship is phenomenal!  My favorite books of hers are The Thirteenth Apostle: What the Gospel of Judas Really Says and The Original Gospel of Thomas in Translation: With a Commentary and New English Translation of the Complete Gospel .

3.  Dr. Berlin influences me to see translation from various perspectives. Her Biblical Poetry Through Medieval Jewish Eyes is just absolutely amazing. And I think I found myself quoting her again (in a blogpost) yesterday. 

4.  Dr. Phyllis A. Bird has a classic that deserves rereading many times over:  Missing Persons and Mistaken Identities: Women and Gender in Ancient Israel.  (I'd recommend Bird's book to any rhetoricians reading who don't know it but who love Dr. Cheryl Glenn's Rhetoric Retold: Regendering the Tradition from Antiquity Through the Renaissance.)  And I think I found myself quoting Dr. Bird again (in that same blogpost) yesterday.

5.  Julia Evelina Smith had no doctorate and didn't work in a university teaching and researching.  But she's influenced many of us.  Most famously, she influenced Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Matilda Joslyn Gage, Frances Ellen Burr, and the other editors of and contributors to The Women's Bible: A Classic Feminist Perspective.  Burr writes in an "Appendix" that "Julia Smith's translation of the Bible stands out unique among all translations. It is the only one ever made by a woman, and the only one, it appears, ever made by man or woman without help." What Burr doesn't go into are the exigencies surrounding Smith. She was not welcomed into the academy by those men of letters who finally endorsed her project; rather, Smith learned Hebrew, Greek, and translation from her father.  And the translator translated alone because none of the three teams of men translating revised versions of the English Bible at the time would welcome her assistance.  Her persistence paid off, I think, and places Smith in a long line of women (around the world), from Christine de Pizan to Laura Cereta to Ann Nyland, who are self-credentialed biblical scholars.  (Of course, they're also female.)

As you can see, I'm a bit biased towards and mostly influenced by bible scholars who are translators.  Didn't mean to get to Mike's meme so late but was slog blogging through a bit of elaboration on the lists for Ken's meme on those influences on my reading of the bible:

Homer, the LXX, Kenneth Lee Pike, Jacqueline Jones Royster, Philip Yancey; then Ruth Behar, Anne Carson, Cheryl Glenn, bell hooks, Gayl Jones, Anne Lamott, Nancy Mairs, Toni Morrison, Krista Ratcliffe, Alice Walker.

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