Mike Kok started a meme in which he asks people to list five female scholars (whom I will not limit to Biblical studies scholars) who have impacted their scholarship. Folks who haven’t been tagged have taken up the task so I’ll include myself in that group. I’ll lay aside ‘scholarship’ and simply list some female scholars whose work I’ve found helpful and stimulating, even if not necessarily influential. My list is short, coming in at a lowly three, not because I’ve not read a lot of women, but only because of the women I’ve read I’ve only found a relative few helpful in my studies.
Sarah Coakley — If you’re into Patristics or Trinitarian theology then you’ve no doubt come across something that Sarah Coakley has written. She’s notorious for challenging the idea set forth by some modern theologians that Gregory of Nyssa was a ‘social’ Trinitarian and she’s written quite a bit about gender and the Trinity. If either of these topics are of interest to you then I’d suggest the following articles:
“‘Persons’ in the ‘Social’ Doctrine of the Trinity: A Critique of Current Analytic Discussion,” in The Trinity: An Interdisciplinary Symposium on the Trinity (eds. Stephen T. Davis, et al.; New York: Oxford University Press, 1999): 123-44.
“Re–thinking Gregory of Nyssa: Introduction—Gender, Trinitarian Analogies, and the Pedagogy of The Song,” Modern Theology 18/4 (2002): 431-43; reprinted in Re-Thinking Gregory of Nyssa (ed. Sarah Coakley; Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2003): 1-13.
“The Trinity and Gender Reconsidered,” in God’s Life in Trinity (ed. Miroslav Volf and Michael Welker; Minneapolis, MN: Fortress, 2006): 133-42.
“Why Gift? Gift, Gender, and Trinitarian Relations in Milbank and Tanner,” Scottish Journal of Theology 61/2 (2008): 224-35.
Marianne Meye Thompson — Unlike Pat MMT’s “particular interests in Johannine literature and her emphasis on theology in biblical interpretation” are exactly what sets my heart a flutter. Hands down MMT has written some of the best stuff on John’s Gospel that’s out there. She takes matters of exegesis and theology seriously but maintains an orthodox Christan confession as a result of her scholarly work. She’s a prime example of what it means for scholarship to serve the Church. She has a wonderful essay on the PCUSA site entitled “Jesus Is Lord: How the Earliest Christian Confession Informs Our Proclamation in a Pluralistic Age” along with an impressive array of books and articles contributed to edited volumes. Anyone would do well to read:
- The God of the Gospel of John (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2001).
- “The Historical Jesus and the Johannine Christ,” in Exploring the Gospel of John: In Honor of D. Moody Smith (eds. R. Alan Culpepper and C. Clifton Black; Louisville, KY: Westminster JohnKnox, 1996): 21-42.
- The Incarnate Word: Perspectives on Jesus in the Fourth Gospel (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1993).
- The Promise of the Father: Jesus and God in the New Testament (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 2000).
“The Raising of Lazarus in John 11: A Theological Reading,” in The Gospel of John and Christian Theology (eds. Richard Bauckham and Carl Mosser; Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2008): 233-44.
Frances M. Young — I haven’t had the pleasure of Young supervising me like Doug has, and I’ve not read a great deal of what she’s written, but what I have read has been engaging and thought-provoking. Her work on patristic exegesis is wonderful in every sense of the word as it moves past the gross oversimplifications that are present in so many writings on the subject. And while I’ve yet to get to them, I’m aware that she’s written a few essays/books on Christology, particularly related to the Incarnation of Christ. If it’s even half as engaging as her stuff on patristic exegesis then I’m sure I’ll love it regardless of whether or not I agree with it. But since I can only recommend what I’ve read I’d suggest checking out the following:
Biblical Exegesis and the Formation of Christian Culture (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997; Repr. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2002).
“The ‘Mind’ of Scripture: Theological Readings of the Bible in the Fathers,” International Journal of Systematic Theology 7/2 (2005): 126-41.
I’d love to add Pheme Perkins to the list because of the diversity with which she writes, covering everything from Gnosticism to Christology to the Synoptic Gospels, but I’ve not found much to agree with in what I’ve read from her. Sara Parvis is another female scholar who I’d love to add to the list but the truth is that I’ve only read bits and pieces of her monograph Marcellus of Ancyra and the Lost Years of the Arian Controversy 325–345 and her essay in the volume she edited with Paul Foster, Justin Martyr and His Worlds. Once I complete the monograph it’s entirely possible that she could be included with the likes of Frances Young whose work I’ve read so little of but has nonetheless given much food for thought. A few people have selected April DeConick for their lists but I’ve found from reading her blog (in the past, I’ve long since stopped reading) and a few articles in various edited volumes that I almost never agree with her on anything. The same could be said for Paula Fredriksen; I almost never agree with her. I’d add Catherine Mowry LaCugna to that list as well. She’s written one of the most important books on the Trinity in the last 50 years with God For Us: The Trinity and Christian Life but it’s wholly frustrating to read for a variety of reasons that I won’t go into here. I’ve found Margaret Barker’s work The Great Angel: A Study of Israel’s Second God to be not very well supported and ultimately untenable. I’ve read similar criticisms of her various other works from a number of reviewers so perhaps this is a constant theme in her scholarship; I honestly don’t know. In the end, the women who have played the most pivotal roles in the way I think and act are not Biblical or theological or patristics scholars, they’re family members, teachers, and sisters in Christ (being a Pentecostal I’ve always been exposed to female preachers/teachers in the church).