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“The Brooten Phenomenon”: Moving Women from the Margins in Second-Temple and New Testament Scholarship

Parks, Sara


Sara Parks


Although at least half the scholars entering the fields of early Judaism and nascent Christianity may now be women, and although scholarship on ancient women, on biblical and apocryphal female characters, and on the construction of femininity and masculinity in antiquity is now thriving, there remains an impermeable conceptual wall between this and what is perceived as “regular” scholarship. The largely unwritten rule, that the study of women and gender is non-mainstream or “niche,” conceptually delimits investigations into ancient women, ancient female literary characters, and the construction of gender in the Second-Temple Period and early Christianity as “ancillary” and not of general relevance. Sara Parks nicknames this problem the “Brooten Phenomenon,” after the ways in which Bernadette Brooten’s work on women leaders in the ancient synagogue has been used (or not used) over the years. Using two brief case studies from Q and from the gospel resurrection narratives, she argues that scholarship ignorant of the role of women and the construction of gender is simply poor scholarship.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 21, 2018
Publication Date 2019
Deposit Date Feb 26, 2019
Publicly Available Date Mar 6, 2019
Print ISSN 1832-3391
Publisher Monash University ePress
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 15
Issue 1
Pages 46-64
Keywords feminist methodology; early Judaism; New Testament; women in the New Testament; women synagogue leaders; women in early Judaism; gender; Bernadette Brooten; misogyny
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