Jasper A (2017) Reflections on Reading the Bible: From Flesh to Female Genius. In: Sherwood Y (ed.) The Bible and Feminism: Remapping the Field. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 81-97. https://global.oup.com/academic/product/the-bible-and-feminism-9780198722618?q=bible%20and%20feminism〈=en&cc=gb#
Looking back over a couple of decades, the author recalls her appropriation of theoretical tools from the French poststructuralist philosopher, Julia Kristeva: first to read women and the feminine-identified flesh back into biblical texts and to resist older readings that viewed these presences as inferior agents or contaminants. Secondly Kristeva’s idea of female genius gives theoretical support to the case that women continually challenge established, orthodox biblical readings in inauspicious male-normative circumstances by reading the Bible for themselves. Illustrating the concept of female genius, the article returns to Jane Leade, a seventeenth century visionary. She exemplifies the capacity of women to bring something singular and authentic – such as her electrifying descriptions of the biblical figure of Wisdom as female and her dream-visions of bodily restorations - to their readings of the bible. Leade’s vivid reflections energise the community of Philadelphians for whom she provides leadership and inspiration. The author continues to pose the question in the light of these reflections as to whether or not women (and other genders) can continue to profit from reading the Bible.
Julia Kristeva; Jane Leade; female genius; Jacob Boehme; God’s Eternal Virgin; Wisdom