Sunday, April 25, 2010

Project Statement And Brief Intro

I am a feminist, vegetarian, agnostic atheist with a BA in Sociology and a minor in Latin. I grew up in a religious home (Methodist) and didn't begin questioning my faith until I moved out and went to college. Since then it has been a constant sea of questions and doubts, and a mistrust of religion and the Bible. I currently live at home with my parents, and their faith tends to keep these questions at the forefront in my life. I have gone to church just about every Sunday of my life, up until college, where I went on and off and eventually stopped all together my Junior year. So it has been about 4 years since I have been to church (I am not counting the church services that I attend with my family for Christmas and Easter). To get all my biases out in the open I also do not believe the Bible is divinely inspired and I believe the Bible has been used more for evil than for good, being at the root of most of humanities greatest atrocities (The Crusades, the Inquisition, slavery, the Holocaust, the witch trials, etc.). And while I am an agnostic-theist and lean more towards there being greater beings (yes, I do believe there is a great possibility of there being more than one god) and a creator/creators of the universe I do not necessarily believe in the Christian God or any other religious god. I believe any being who could create the universe and be all powerful in its faculties is completely beyond our human understanding. I point these biases out so that you, the reader, will understand that I am not going into this project as a clean slate, which would be impossible anyways since everyone is biased (just some people aren't willing to admit it). I'm giving out this information because I believe it is important to know a researchers bias and to keep it in mind when reading their work.

The goal of the "This One Shall Be Called Woman" project is to 1) read through the Bible so that I may understand it and know it to be better versed in debates about it, and 2) show how sexist the Bible is or is not, since the Bible as been used for many years as the reason why women are inferior to men, an oppression which still lingers to this day in no small part because people still interpret the Bible as saying that God has decreed that man shall rule over women. I want to know if women's inferior status is in fact supported by the Bible or if this has come about from many centuries of people reading and misinterpreting the Biblical word.

The Bible I will be using is The Holy Bible, New Revised Standard Version containing the Old and New Testaments with the Apocryphal or Deuterocanonical Books, Cambridge University Press, Standard Text Edition. This edition and text was chosen mostly because of the Apocryphal Books since I wondered if their contents differed from the canon Bible at all, in this case mostly in the treatment of women.

I am basing the readings off a Bible in 365 days list (link) but will be doing them 2 days at a time to speed up the process. Updates will tentatively be every M-F, though that schedule may change as I get further into the project.

Each post will have (at least) two parts. The first part will be a basic summarization and list of the parts of the reading that mention or involve women. Passages will be labeled so that they may be looked up for references. This part will be as objective as possible, with just a statement of the facts and nothing else. These lists will include everything from character women (such as Eve) to just the mention of the word female, woman, daughter, etc (such as Noah gathering one male and one female animal for the ark). The second portion of each post will be my comments and thoughts/questions about the reading. This part will be clearly cut off from the listing and summary above, so as not to mix my personal feelings, questions and bias with the data.

Comments are open for anyone, though they will be moderated. Respectful debate is always welcome, differing views included. My email is posted in my profile in case anyone here wishes to ask me a question personally or just wants to discuss a reading or topic outside of the comment thread. Also, please leave a name with your comment (choose name/URL if you have no log in information, just leave the URL blank), anonymous comments are far more likely to not get past moderation than comments that have names attached to them.

Thanks for reading and I hope you will stick with me through this project! :)

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