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xxiii + 209 pp.

£30 / $47.50 / €35
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Troubling Women and Land
Reading Biblical Texts in Aotearoa New Zealand
Judith E. McKinlay

What do women have to do with land? Biblical women such as Rahab, Achsah, and the daughters of Zelophehad have a great deal to do with Israel’s land concerns, and their roles are indeed found troubling. And there are also questions to be asked of Miriam’s role in the move from Egypt towards the ‘promised’ land; of Deborah, involved in a battle with a Canaanite commander; and of Huldah, whose troubling role in Josiah's reform is exposed in a queer-critical reading.

Reading such land-focused narratives from the context of Aotearoa New Zealand brings to the surface disturbing connections with that country’s own quite particular experience of colonialism. Such findings call for feminist postcolonial scrutiny. Here, in response, the critical scope is widened by reading these texts contrapuntally with others concerning New Zealand’s colonial and postcolonial experiences, both past and present.

Troubling Women and Land has a personal edge, with the author’s voice frequently intruding, without apology, sometimes even holding imaginary conversations with characters and scholars, complementing the use of more traditional critical approaches. What underlies the book is a conviction that reading biblical texts matters in the politics of today’s world.

Judith McKinlay was formerly Senior Lecturer in Biblical Studies in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies, University of Otago, New Zealand.

Series: Bible in the Modern World, 59
978-1-909697-32-4 hardback
Publication April 2014

1. Miriam under Interrogation . . . But What if . . . ?
2. Slipping across Borders and Bordering on Conquest:
      A Contrapuntal Reading of Numbers 13
3. Playing an Aotearoa Counterpoint: The Daughters
      of Zelophehad and Edward Gibbon Wakefield
4. Meeting Achsah on Achsah’s Land
5. Conversations with Deborah
6. Rahab Reviewed
7. Through a Window: A Postcolonialist Reading of Michal
8. Gazing at Huldah
9. Filling the Gaps and Putting Huldah to Use

M.’s style is engaging, highly readable, and unashamedly personal, in that she often writes in the first person. Many authors use the first person out of a sense of insecurity and the need to assert their position; but M. uses it to lead the reader through her own interrogation of the texts and the scholarly literature surrounding them, and it is often a mode in which she raises questions rather than asserts positions …

M. courteously but trenchantly demonstrates how the ideological master-narrative in the biblical text alternately co-opts and marginalizes women as it seeks to justify its claim on the land. Read these studies, and lose your innocence.
Deborah W. Rooke, Society for Old Testament Study Book List.