Amidst the distinct fixtures of Columbia University’s campus, Butler Library’s indomitable gray stone walls—or, to be more precise the names engraved upon its walls—ignite controversy like match struck to tinder. Etched into the façade are 18 names representing famed authors at the heart of the University’s core curriculum (well, all but Demosthenes), accompanied by the names of select early American politicians and other writers. Together they share a common theme—they are exclusively men.Read More
Christian feminism, pioneered in the 19th and early 20th centuries by such notable figures of Catherine Booth, Frances Willard, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, made huge strides in the advancement of women’s rights, religiously and politically. However, this advancement came at the cost of increasing anti-judaic rhetoric. In forming their theological position, many Christian feminists did so by blaming the Old Testament and Judaism for its patriarchal systems. To them, it was only in Christ and the “New Kingdom” that one could find a table of equality.Read More
This weekend at the Society of Biblical Literature conference, I sat through panel after panel on the issue of poverty in the Ancient World. Dr. Margaret Aymer extolled us to reconsider the Matthian Beatitudes as tangible treatises of economic justice rather than lofty spiritual goals. Dr. Sylvia Keesmaat considered the text of Romans in light of an alternative economic community within an imperial context. And Indiana University’s doctoral student Diana Fruchtman considered how the “imagined poor,” those poor worthy of religious charity, are used as rhetorical symbols in Ancient Christian texts.Read More
Recently Cambridge University Press released its newest publication in the expansive “Key Themes in Ancient History” series by the prominent historian Seth Schwartz, amorphously entitled The Ancient Jews from Alexander to Muhammad.
Those with even a peripheral knowledge of ancient history will know that such a task is ambiguous, which even Schwartz explicitly states: “to write in a synoptic and summary way about the ancient Jews is to tread through a minefield” (5).Read More