Religion department hosts feminism and scripture symposium

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Victoria Salvatore 

Three speakers visited campus on March 27 to talk about the topic of feminism and the Bible at The Department of Religion and Philosophy’s annual Biblical Symposium. 

“The department discusses different topics and we really wanted to bring some feminist biblical scholars to campus,” Professor of Religion Dr. Sara Harding said. 

The first speaker was Dr. Susan Hylen of Emory University, who talked about New Testament women owning property and being benefactors within the context of First Century Rome.

The second speaker was Dr. Robin Jensen of University of Notre Dame, who spoke about myths relating to Jesus’ mother, Mary and her virginity. 

The last speaker was Dr. Carol Meyers of Duke University and she spoke about the gender gap in relation to Israelite women. 

A panel was held with each of the scholars following the presentations. Members of the audience, students and local residents were allowed to ask questons during that time.

“We haven’t done [had the topic of feminism for the symposium] before so it was long overdue,” Harding said.

Many students were in attendance at the symposium to hear what each of the scholars had to say.

“We haven’t done [the topic of feminism for the symposium] before, so it was long overdue.”

– Dr Sara Harding, Professor of Religion

“I thought that it was very interesting,” freshman Elisabeth Clarke said. “It gave me different perspective on how Roman culture viewed women and how the Bible views women.”

Clarke says going into the symposium she thought women in the Bible were more oppressed, but she learned that they had possessions and the Bible supported that, which shifted her viewpoint on the topic.

Harding said that the faculty wants students to connect things they’re doing in their classes with the experience of seeing a presentation done by an internationally known scholar.

“Looking at women instead of as victims, as empowered, that made me feel empowered,” Clarke said. “I would go to an event like this again, for sure.”

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