From History to Rhetoric:
Feminist, Mujerista, and
The canon and civil law; Church and state; priests and
legislators; all political parties and religious denominations
have alike taught that woman was made after man, of man
and for man, an inferior being, subject to man. Creeds,
codes, Scriptures and statutes, are all based on this idea.
— Elizabeth Cady Stanton
THIS QUOTATION FROM THE FRAMER OF THE WOMAN'S BIBLE, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, reflects not only the past, but also for many women, who continue to be controlled and marginalized by patriarchy, the present. One of the significant ways of counteracting this systemic sexism rampant in Western cultures and societies and to engage in the struggle for liberation is to question not only the authenticity of malegenerated biblical texts that have been used and abused to dominate women, but also the correctness of their male interpreters who continue to allow to lie dormant the voices and deeds of women in Scripture, all the while twisting many texts to reflect a patriarchal reading. One way of proceeding is in the area of literary criticism, which opens a variety of models for understanding texts in place of historical criticism generally pursued by male scholars.1
Since the 1960s, the methodologies and insights of literary criticism and the phenomenology of language have been applied increasingly to biblical interpretation and Old Testament theology and have produced
1. The first part of this chapter, which introduces feminist criticism that uses literary
criticism as its primary method of interpretation, the analysis of metaphor, and the contri-
butions of McFague and Trible are taken from Perdue, The Collapse of History.