Prophets: Your Daughters and Your Sons Shall Prophesy
Scholarship on the Israelite prophets often focuses primarily on those fifteen prophets with literary works attributed to them. That scholarship follows the contours of the Hebrew biblical canon in marginalizing the bulk of prophets in the canon. In this program we will study prophecy in ancient Israel focusing primarily on those neglected prophets. Their narratives support and enrich the narratives of more dominant characters. Better-known prophets such as Miriam and Nathan, Elijah and Elisha will be studied along with lesser-known prophets such as the woman with whom Isaiah fathered a child and Zedekiah ben Chenaanah. We will focus on women prophets in particular.
There are untold numbers of female prophets hiding in the masculine grammar and and androcentric focus of the Hebrew Scriptures. There are women-prophets in the communities around biblical Israel, existing for hundreds of years and even a thousand years before the Israelite and Judean prophets recorded their messages. The rabbinic and Christian fathers analyzed and found more women in the scriptures who function as prophets than the biblical authors identify. All these female prophets have an intimate connection with the God of Israel; they express that connection by singing, dancing, drumming, speaking with and for God, waging war, performing miracles, exercising statecraft, and giving birth. Each of them is a daughter of Miriam, the mother of all women-prophets.
Required reading: Daughters of Miriam: Women Prophets in Ancient Israel by Wilda Gafney; assigned biblical texts; and supplemental material provided in digital form.
Possible Excursions: Jerusalem; Temple Mount; Church of the Holy Sepulchre; Mount of Olives; Gethsemane; Bethlehem; Galilee; Magdala; Capernaum; Mt. of Beatitudes; Tabgha
The Rev. Dr. Wil Gafney, Ph.D. is The Right Rev. Sam B. Hulsey Professor of Hebrew Bible at Brite Divinity School in Fort Worth, Texas. She is a scholar, author, pastor, preacher, and activist. She received her Ph.D. in Hebrew Bible from Duke University in 2006 She is the author of: Daughters of Miriam: Women Prophets in Ancient Israel; Womanist Midrash: A Reintroduction to Women of the Torah and of the Throne; Wisdom Commentary: Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah; co-editor of The Peoples’ Bible and The Peoples’ Companion to the Bible. Wil is currently working on A Women's Lectionary for the Whole Church. She has published Year A, Year B, and a stand-alone Year W that covers all four gospels. Year C will be published in 2024.
Rev. Dr. Gafney is an Episcopal priest and a former member of the Dorshei Derekh Reconstructionist Minyan of the Germantown Jewish Center in Philadelphia, she has co-taught courses with and for the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Seminary in Wyncote, PA.