Swarthmore College Introduces ‘Queering the Bible’ Course

Swarthmore College Introduces ‘Queering the Bible’ Course

by TOM CICCOTTA 22 Dec 2017

Next fall, the prestigious Swarthmore College will introduce a course called “Queering the Bible.”
The course, which will launch in the fall of 2018 through Swarthmore’s religion department, will examine the Bible through a queer lens. It will examine issues of sex, gender, and identity as they present themselves in one of human history’s most influential texts.

“This course surveys queer and trans* readings of biblical texts. It introduces students to the complexity of constructions of sex, gender, and identity in one of the most influential literary works produced in ancient times,” the course description reads. “By reading the Bible with the methods of queer and trans* theoretical approaches, this class destabilizes long held assumptions about what the bible — and religion — says about gender and sexuality.”

According to a report from The College Fix, “Queering the Bible” is the only religious course at Swarthmore that centers on the Bible.

The course will be taught by Gywnn Kessler, an associate professor of religion at Swarthmore. Kessler has her Ph.D. in Rabbinics and has focused her research on “rabbinic constructions of gender and identity.”

In another course offered in the department called “Queering God: Feminist and Queer Theology” the attempt is made to argue that God is a female.

The God of the Bible and later Jewish and Christian literature is distinctively masculine, definitely male. Or is He? If we can point out places in traditional writings where God is nurturing, forgiving, and loving, does that mean that God is feminine, or female? This course examines feminist and queer writings about God, explores the tensions between feminist and queer theology, and seeks to stretch the limits of gendering-and sexing-the divine.


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