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Reframing Her: Biblical Women in Postcolonial Focus


How does one read the story of Sarah and Hagar, or Jezebel and Rahab today, if one is a woman reader situated in a postcolonial society?

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SKU: 978-1-905048-00-7

How does one read the story of Sarah and Hagar, or Jezebel and Rahab today, if one is a woman reader situated in a postcolonial society?

This is the question undergirding this work, which considers a selection of biblical texts in which women have significant roles. Employing both a gender and a postcolonial lens, it asks sharp questions both of the interests embedded in the texts themselves and of their impact upon contemporary women readers.

Whereas most postcolonial studies have been undertaken from the perspective of the colonized this work reads the texts from the position of a settler descendant, and is an attempt to engage with the disquietening and challenging questions that reading from such a location raises. Letters from early settler women in New Zealand, contemporary fiction, and personal reminiscence become tools for the task, complementing those traditionally employed in critical biblical readings.

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  1. Katharine Doob Sakenfeld, Interpretation

    A settler-descendant resident of Aotearoa New Zealand, Judith McKinlay takes up the painful task of engaging in a postcolonial feminist reading from the perspective of the colonizer. She analyzes the ways in which biblical narratives about women function to construct a relationship with the Other/Outsider that legitimates the identity and power of the Insider Israel, regularly interweaving these biblical perspectives with issues in the historical and contemporary relationships between Maori (indigenous) and Pakeha (colonizer/settler) groups in her homeland.
    This is an important book. McKinlay takes up in a significant and respectful way the challenge set most notably by Musa W. Dube … that women from a colonizer’s social location should take up the self-critical task shown them by the interpretations of biblical characters done by colonized peoples. McKinlay’s distinctive style in presenting her work is especially appealing. Writing in the first person, she guides her reader along her own journey of exploration of the texts, indicating her questions, then possible answers, often deliberately setting aside one question until another can be explored, then returning to the first when more data is in hand.

  2. Mark Brett, Australian Biblical Review

    Judith McKinlay’s beautifully written book provides an accessible introduction to postcolonial studies in the context of Aotearoa New Zealand. She manages to raise disquieting questions about colonialist habits of mind
    –both in the biblical texts and in the present–without needing to overwhelm her readers with turgid theoretical language … Sheffield Phoenix Press hs provided a cover for the book with a touch of aesthetic genius.

  3. Valerie Bridgman Davis, Review of Biblical Literature

    This book will serve well in at least three arenas: women’s studied courses is a given; biblical studies, especially those courses that focus on interpretive strategies, especially Hebrew Bible; and almost any literary criticism course that seeks to look in the intersections of cultural artefacts and adaptations with biblical influences.

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Book information

Judith E. McKinlay
List Price
£35 / $60 / €52
Bible in the Modern World, 1
Scholars' Price
£17.50 / $30 / €26.50
ISBN 13 hardback
Paperback price
£15.95 / $22.50 / €20
ISBN 13 Paperback
Hardback / Paperback
Page Extent
xiii + 195
Publication Date
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