Women of the Bible

                                                                 Women in the Bible An overview of the Bible passages that deal with women’s role in the family and in church, and an understanding of the situation of Christian women


Trinity College of Biblical Studies

Trinity College of Biblical Studies-Undergraduate Studies

Trinity College of Biblical Studies Library

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Women in the Bible An overview of the Bible passages that deal with women’s role in the family and in church, and an understanding of the situation of Christian women




Women of the Bible

In this course, we will consider images of women in the Hebrew Bible, New Testament, and related literature from the biblical period ("apocrypha," "pseudepigrapha"), exploring the range of roles that women play within biblical narratives (as wives and mothers; as heroes and villains; as warriors, queens, and prophets), the variety of metaphorical/symbolic uses of femininity in biblical traditions, and legal and ethical precepts related to the status of women in ancient Israel, early Judaism, the Jesus Movement, and early Christianity. We will ask what these ancient, literary representations of women and femininity might tell us about the experiences of "real" women and men in their authors' time, but we will also see how biblical stories about women have been reinterpreted according to the values of different times and cultures, and we will discuss the ways in which biblical traditions about women may have impacted the understanding of gender in Western culture, past and present. The themes of women and gender will simultaneously serve as a focus for a survey of biblical literature and history more broadly, pursued with a special concern for the different social and cultural contexts that shaped the canonical literature of Judaism and Christianity. Accordingly, no previous background in the Hebrew Bible and New Testament is assumed or required.

Course Requirements
  • Two Essay quizzes: 20%
  • Two brief papers (3-5 pp.): 30%
  • Reading Assignments 10%
  • Final exam: 40%

  • Required Books

    Other required readings -- such as selections from biblical texts and other ancient sources -- are accessible from this website, from which the assigned passages can be read and printed out.

    Read Online Books and Articles

    Little-Known Women of the Bible

    Notable Women of Olden Time

    Women of Faith Magazine

    Women in Ancient Christianity-The New Discoveries

    The Passion of the Holy Martyrs Perpetua and Felicity

    The Acts of Xanthippe,Polyxena, and Rebecca

    Women in Late Antiquity

    The Acts of Paul and Thecla

    Sisters in Arms

    Watch Early Church Women Video click on link to View

    Women in the Early Church

    Documentary of Apostle Paul and the Corinthian Church Video

    Women of the Bible Dictionary Link


    Women's History Sourcebook


    Images of Women in Ancient History

    Women in Judaism

     The Role of Women in Judaism

    Women in the Ancients

    Women Links

    Biblical Art

    Portraits of Noah's Wife

    Portraits of Hagar

    Portraits of Sarah (Sarai)

    Portraits of Naphtali

    Portraits of Potiphar's Wife

    Portraits of Pharaoh's Daughter

    Portraits of Zipporah

    Portraits of Deborah, Judge

    Portraits of Delilah

    Portraits of Queen of Sheba (The)

    Portraits of Rachel

    Portraits of Rebekah

    Portraits of Rehoboam


    Rehoboam in Various Compositions


    Other Portraits of Rehoboam


    Portraits of Job's Wife


    Job's Wife in Various Compositions


    Other Portraits of Job's Wife

    Portraits of Mother of Asa (The)

    Portraits of Mother of Jesse (The)

    Portraits of Mother of Salmon (The)

    Portraits of Mother of Shealtiel (The)

    Portraits of Mother of Zerubbabel (The)

    Portraits of Naamah, Mother of Rehoboam






    The Annunciation

    Annunciation Compositions
    The Virgin and the Angel
    The Virgin of the Annunciation
    The Angel of the Annunciation
    The Immaculate Conception

    The Visitation
    Mary and Elizabeth

    Portraits of Jesus Christ: The Christ Child
                    Virgin and Child
                          Virgin and Child Alone or with Angels
    Virgin and Child with Anne
    Virgin and Child with the Young Baptist
    Virgin and Child with Various People
    Virgin and Child Appearing to St.s and Others
    Virgin and Child in Various Compositions
                    The Holy Family
    The Holy Family Alone or with Angels
    The Holy Family with the Young Baptist
    The Holy Family with Various People
    The Holy Kinship and Anna Selbdritt
    The Christ Child as Salvator Mundi
    Other Portraits of the Christ Child

      Portraits of Joseph, Man of Mary
                    The Holy Family
    The Holy Family Alone or with Angels
    The Holy Family with the Young Baptist
    The Holy Family with Various People

    The Woman from Samaria
    Martha and Mary
    The Adulterous Woman
    The Anointer at Bethany

    Portraits of Mary, Called Magdalene
                    Mary, Called Magdalene, in Various Compositions
    Other Portraits of Mary, Called Magdalene

    The Man of Sorrows
                          The Face on the Towel

    Family and Followers at Calvary

    The Burial
                    The Descent from the Cross

      Gospels, Jesus: Resurrection and Ascension
              The Resurrection
    The Women at the Tomb
    Appearing to Mary Magdalene

    The Descent of the Spirit

        The Big Struggle
    The Woman and the Dragon

    Judgment against Babylon
    The Whore of Babylon

    Schedule of Assignments
  •  - Introduction: What is “The Bible,” and what can we learn from the academic study of biblical women?

  • 1- Women in the Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel -

  • - Women in Second Temple Judaism -

  • , Women in the New Testament and Early Church -

  • Bibles in English translation
    Students are not required to purchase a bible for this course, since assigned passages from the Hebrew Bible and New Testament, as well as "apocryphal"/deutero-canonical books and other ancient sources, can be printed from the course website (see links above). There are also a wide variety of bible translations available on-line for browsing and searching. For this course, students are encouraged to use the following:

  • Revised Standard Version (RSV): Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, "apocryphal"/Deuterocanonical Books, New Testament
  • Jewish Publication Society (JPS): Hebrew Bible

  • Student who are interested in further studies in biblical traditions, Judaism, and/or Christianity may wish to purchase a Study Bible; these handy volumes contain non-denominational English translations (i.e., RSV or NRSV) of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, “apocryphal”/deutero-canonical books, and New Testament, together with scholarly commentary and introductory essays. Copies of the HarperCollins Study Bible are available for optional purchase at Titles. The Oxford Study Bible with Apocrypha is also recommended. Multiple copies of both books can be found in the library, as well.

    Other Resources
    A recommended but optional book, which will be available for purchase at Titles and placed on reserve at Mills library, is
  • Carol Meyers, et al, eds., Women in Scripture: A Dictionary of Named and Unnamed Women in the Hebrew Bible, the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical Books, and the New Testament (Eerdmans, 2000).
  • Links Page:http://faculty.cbhs.org/rmartin/main_contents.htm
  • Women in the Synoptic Gospels
  • http://catholic-resources.org/Bible/Synoptics_Women.htm

    Statement on Academic Dishonesty
    Academic dishonesty consists of misrepresentation by deception or by other fraudulent means and can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notion on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

    It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various kinds of academic dishonesty.

    The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:
  • Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one's own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  • Improper collaboration in group work.
  • Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.


    Created “in His image”? Females and humankind in the “P” creation account
    *Genesis 1:1-2:4 [NRSV: Gen 1, Gen 2 ]
    (Recommended: Meyers, pp. 1-11)

    Eve and the expulsion from Eden: Females and humankind in the “J” creation account
    *Genesis 2:4-5:5 [NRSV: Gen 2, Gen 3, Gen 4, Gen 5 ]

    Related Resources:
  • Reuven Kimelman, "The Seduction of Eve and Feminist Readings of the Garden of Eden", Women in Judaism: A Multidisciplinary Journal, vol. 1, no. 2 (1998).
  • "Eve and the Identity of Women" by Christopher L.C.E. Witcombe, an art historian at Sweet Briar College.
  • The Temptation of Adam and Eve: Images; Alan Humm (UPenn)
  • Ecole Initiative, Index of Images: Eve


    Barrenness and blessed births: The matriarchs and their handmaids
    *Genesis chs. 12; 15-22; 24; 26-27; 29-30 [NRSV: Gen 12, Gen 15, Gen 16, Gen 17, Gen 18, Gen 19, Gen 20, Gen 21, Gen 22, Gen 24, Gen 26, Gen 27, Gen 29, Gen 30, ]
    Frymer-Kensky, pp. 4-23, 91-98, 225-237

    Related Resources:
  • Family and Society in Ancient Israel; by Brian Schwimmer, an anthropologist at the University of Manitoba; see esp. the geneological chart of the matriarchs and patriarchs

    The rape of Dinah and the trickery of Tamar
    *Genesis chs. 34 & 38 [NRSV: Gen 34, Gen 38 ]
    Frymer-Kensky, pp. 179-198 (recommended: pp. 199-208)
    Related Resources:
  • Women in Biblical Law; Alan Humm (UPenn)

    Egyptian women, Israelite women, and the Exodus
    *Genesis ch. 39 (recommended: skim chs. 37, 39-41 for context) [NRSV: Gen 37, Gen 39, Gen 40, Gen 41 ]
    *Exodus 1-2; 15:1-21 [NRSV: Ex 1, Ex 2, Ex 15]
    Frymer-Kensky, pp. 24-33, 74-77

    Ruth, Naomi, and the Davidic kingship
    *Ruth (entire book!) [NRSV: Ruth 1; 2; 3; 4]
    Frymer-Kensky, pp. 238-256 (recommended: pp. 257-282) [18]
    Women warriors, queens, and consorts
    *Judges chs. 4-5, esp. 4:17-23 [NRSV: Jdg 4, 5]
    *1 Kings 21 (See also 1 Kings 16:31; 18; 19; 2 Kings 9) [NRSV: 1 Kgs 21 + 16; 18; 19; 2 Kgs 9]

    Wisdom as God's daughter: Feminine imagery in the Wisdom tradition
    *Proverbs 7-9 [NRSV: Prov 7, 8, 9]
    *Job 28 [NRSV: Job 28]
    *Wisdom of Solomon 6 [NRSV: Wid 6]
    *Wisdom of ben Sira 24 [NRSV: Sir 24]
    Frymer-Kensky, pp. 283-291

    Babylon as whore, Jerusalem as unfaithful wife: Feminine images of destruction and Exile
    *Isaiah 1:21-23; 3:25-26; 47:5-7; 49:7-26; 54:1-10; 57:3-13; 62:4-5 [NRSV: Isa 1, 3, 47, 49, 54, 57, 62,]
    *Ezekiel 16; 23 [NRSV: Ezek 16, 23,]
    *Jeremiah 2-4; 13:20-27 [NRSV: Jer 2, 3, 4, 13]
    *Lamentations 1 [NRSV: Lam 1]
    Frymer-Kensky, pp. 333-338




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    Trinity College of Biblical Studies

    Women of the Bible