ICS Calendar Title: God/Sex/Word/Flesh: Gender, Theology, and the Body

ICS Course Code: ICS 220804 W17 ; ICT5220HF L0101

Instructor: Dr. Nik Ansell

Term and Year: Thursdays, 9:30am-12:30 pm, Winter 2017

Last Updated: January 4, 2017. Note: This is not the final version.


1. Course Description

2. Course Learning Goals

3. Course Requirements

4. Required Readings

5. Recommended Readings

6. Class Schedule

1. Course Description

How is our agenda for theology related to our gender? Is 'God' a male word? Is the 'Word made flesh' a male God? Does the experience of women change how God is (made) known? Is sexuality--are sexualities--embraced by the resurrection? Attentive to the work of feminist theologians and biblical scholars, we will attempt to develop an 'embodied' theology open to the biblical vision that God will be 'all in all'.

2. Course Learning Goals

a. to gain insight into contemporary feminist theology

b. to become aware of the influence of sex and gender on theological proposals and interpretations

c. to explore a gender-inclusive, embodied/embodying theology

3. Course Requirements

a. Total reading: 1250 pages total, including research for paper, of which approximately 60-70 pages per week is required to prepare for class

b. In-seminar leadership: Written overview of two required readings, identifying key themes and questions, to aid class discussion; oral contribution to discussion

c. Description of course papers: One paper of 3000-5000 words (PhD, 5000-7000 words), due by the applicable ICS/TST deadline, on a text/theme/figure relevant to the probings of the course readings and class discussions

d. Description and weighting of elements to be evaluated:

Paper: 60% [TST 50%]

Class presentations: 20% [TST 25%]

Oral contributions: 20% [TST 25%]

4. Required Readings

Robert Alter, Strong as Death Is Love: The Song of Songs, Ruth, Esther, Jonah, and Daniel: A Translation with Commentary (New York: W.W. Norton, 2015),  3–54

Nik Ansell, “Creational Man/Eschatological Woman: a Future for Theology” (inaugural lecture, ICS, Toronto, 2006) available online at:


Nicholas Ansell, “Too Good to Be True? The Female Pronoun for God in Numbers 11:15,” in Gender Agenda Matters: Papers of the “Feminist Section” of the International Meetings of The Society of Biblical Literature; Amsterdam 2012 – St. Andrews 2013 – Vienna 2014, ed. Imtraud Fischer (Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2015), 12–41.

Tina Beattie, “Queen of Heaven” in Queer Theology: Rethinking the Western Body, edited by Gerard Loughlin (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2007), chap. 20, 293-304 [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BT708 .Q44 2007 ; TRIN: BT708 .Q44 2007]

Susan Bordo, “Postmodern Subjects, Postmodern Bodies, Postmodern Resistance” in Unbearable Weight: Feminism, Western Culture and the Body. Tenth anniversary edition (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004 [1993], 277-300 [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: HQ 1220 .U5 B67 2003 ; PRATT: HQ 1220 .U5 B67 2003 ; ROBA: HQ1220 .U5 B67 1995X]

Valerie A. Karras, “Eschatology” in The Cambridge Companion to Feminist Theology, edited by Susan Frank Parsons (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), chap. 14-243-260 [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BT83.55 .C35 2002]

Véronique Mottier, Sexuality: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford: Oxford UNiversity Press, 2008)

Susan Frank Parsons, “Feminist Theology as Dogmatic Theology” in The Cambridge Companion to Feminist Theology, edited by Susan Frank Parsons (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), chap. 7, 114-32 [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BT83.55 .C35 2002]

Susan A. Ross, “God's Embodiment and Women” in Freeing Theology: the Essentials of Theology in Feminist Perspective, edited by Catherine Mowry LaCugna (New York: HarperCollins, 1993), chap. 8, 185-209 [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BT83.55 .F744 1993]

Rosemary Radford Ruether, Sexism and God-Talk: Toward a Feminist Theology. Tenth anniversary edition with a new introduction (Boston: Beacon, 1993 [1983]) [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BT704 .R84 1993 ; ROBA: BT704 .R83 1983]

Jane Schaberg, The Illegitimacy of Jesus: a Feminist Theological Interpretation of the Infancy Narratives. Expanded 20th anniversary edition (Sheffield, UK: Sheffield Phoenix, 2006 [1987]) [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BT314 .S39 2006 ; ROBA: BT314 .S39 1987]

“The Shifting Landscape of Gender,” National Geographic 231, no. 1 (January 2017)

Al Wolters, “Cross Gender Imagery in the Bible” in Bulletin for Biblical Research 8 (1998): 217-228, available online at: https://www.ibr-bbr.org/files/bbr/BBR_1998_13_Wolters_CrossGender.pdf

5. Recommended Readings

Nicholas John Ansell, The Woman Will Overcome the Warrior: a Dialogue with the Christian/Feminist Theology of Rosemary Radford Ruether (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1994) [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BT83.55 .A57]

Sarah Jane Boss, ed., Mary: The Complete Resource (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007) [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BT610 .M376 2009; ROBA: BT610 .M376 2007]

Caroline Walker Bynum, Resurrection of the Body in Western Christianity, 200-1336 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1994) [UTL e-resource: http://go.utlib.ca/cat/5347513 ; ROBA: BT872 .B96 1995]

Susan Bordo, The Male Body: a New Look at Men in Public and in Private (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1999) [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: HQ1090 .B67 2000 ; ROBA: HQ1090 .B67 1999X]

Sarah Coakley, The New Asceticism: Sexuality, Gender, and the Quest for God (London: Bloomsbury, 2015)

__________, ed., Religion and the Body (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997)

Eduardo J. Echeverria, “In the Beginning . . .”: A Theology of the Body (Eugene, OR: Pickwick, 2011) [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BX 1795 .B63 E25 2011 ; Kelly Library (SMC): BX1795 .B63 E25 2011]

Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza, In Memory Of Her: a Feminist Theological Reconstruction of Christian Origins. Tenth anniversary edition with a new introduction (New York: Crossroad, 1994 [1983]). (selections) [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BR 129 .S36 1994 ; TRIN: BR129 .S36 1994]

David M. Friedman, A Mind of Its Own: A Cultural History of the Penis (London: Penguin, 2001) [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: GT 498 .P45 F75 2009 ; Kelly Library (SMC): GT 498 .P45 F75 2003]

Beverly Roberts Gaventa and Cynthia L. Rigby, Blessed One: Protestant Perspectives on Mary (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 2002) [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BT 613 .B57 2002 ; Kelly Library (SMC): BT613 .B57 2002]

Luce Irigaray, “The Wedding Between Body and Language” in To Be Two (New York: Routledge, 2001), 17-29 [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BF204.5 .I7513 2001]

Elizabeth A. Johnson, She Who Is: the Mystery of God in Feminist Theological Discourse (New York: Crossroad, 1992). [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BT83.55 .J64 2002]

__________, Quest for the Living God: Mapping Frontiers in the Theology of God (New York: Continuum, 2007), chap. 5, 90-112 [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BT 103 .J64 2007 ; KNOX: BT 103 .J64 2007X ; ROBA: BT103 .J64 2007X]

Catherine Mowry LaCugna, God For Us: the Trinity and Christian Life (New York: Harper Collins, 1991) [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BT111.2 .L33 1993]

__________, ed., Freeing Theology: the Essentials of Theology in Feminist Perspective (New York: HarperCollins, 1993) [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BT83.55 .F744 1993]

George Lakoff and Mark Johnson, Philosophy in the Flesh: The Embodied Mind and Its Challenge to Western Thought (New York: Basic Books, 1999). [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BD 418.3 .L35 1999]

Sarah Heaner Lancaster, Women and the Authority of Scripture: A Narrative Approach (Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Press International, 2002)

Amy-Jill Levine, ed., A Feminist Companion to Mariology (London: T and T Clark, 2005) [SMC: BT614 .F46 2005]

Gerard Loughlin, ed., Queer Theology: Rethinking the Western Body (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2007) [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BT708 .Q44 2007 ; TRIN: BT708 .Q44 2007]

Edward Lucie-Smith, Sexuality in Western Art, rev. ed. (London: Thames and Hudson, 1991)

Sallie McFague, The Body of God: an Ecological Theology (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1993) [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BT695.5 .M34]

Sallie McFague, Models of God: Theology for an Ecological, Nuclear Age (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1987) [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BT102 .M425 1987]

Michael Murphy, The Future of the Body: Explorations into the Further Evolution of Human Nature (New York: Tarcher, 1992) [Kelly Library (SMC): BF 1045 .S33 M87 1992]

Jean-Luc Nancy, Noli Me Tangere: On the Raising of the Body, trans. Sarah Clift, Pascale-Anne Brault, and Michael Naas (New York: Fordham University Press, 2008) [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: N 8053.7 .N36132 2008 ; ROBA: N 8053.7 .N36132 2008X]

James B. Nelson, Body Theology (Louisville, Ky.: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1992) [ROBA: BT741.2 .N35 1992]

__________, Embodiment: an Approach to Sexuality and Christian Theology (Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1978) [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BT708 .N44]

__________, The Intimate Connection: Male Sexuality, Masculine Spirituality (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1988) [KNOX: HQ1090.3 .N44 1988]

__________ and Sandra P. Longfellow, eds., Sexuality and the Sacred: Sources for Theological Reflection (Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1994) [ROBA: BT708 .S4797 1994b]

Paul W. Newman, A Spirit Christology: Recovering the Biblical Paradigm of Christian Faith (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1987) [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BT202 .N48 1987]

Susan Frank Parsons, ed., The Cambridge Companion to Feminist Theology (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002) [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BT83.55 .C35 2002 ; ROBA: BT83.55 .C35 2002]

Frank Reilly, “Jane Schaberg, Raymond Brown, and the Problem of the Illegitimacy of Jesus” in Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion 21/1 (Spring 2005): 57-80 [ICS Library Reserve Shelf]

Rosemary Radford Ruether, Goddesses and the Divine Feminine: a Western Religious History (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005) [ROBA: BL325 .F4 R84 2005X]

__________, Women and Redemption: a Theological History (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1998) [ROBA: BT704 .R835 1998X]

Anne G. Sabo, After Pornified: How Women Are Transforming Pornography and Why It Really Matters (Winchester, UK: Zero Books, 2012)

Mary Hembrow Snyder, The Christology of Rosemary Radford Ruether: a Critical Introduction (Mystic, CT: Twenty-Third Publications, 1988) [KNOX: BT202 .S58 1988]

Elaine Storkey, Origins of Difference: the Gender Debate Revisited (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2001) [ROBA: HQ1075 .S78 2001X]

Phyllis Trible, God and the Rhetoric of Sexuality (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1978) [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BS1171.2 .T74]

__________, Texts of Terror: Literary-Feminist Readings of Biblical Narratives (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1984) [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BS575 .T75]

Graham Ward, “The Displaced Body of Jesus Christ” in Radical Orthodoxy: a New Theology, edited by John Milbank, Catherine Pickstock and Graham Ward (London: Routledge, 1999), chap. 8, 163-181 [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BT40 .R34 1999X]

Michael Vasey, Strangers and Friends: a New Exploration of Homosexuality and the Bible (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1995) [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BR115 .H6 V374 1995]

Naomi Wolf, Vagina: A New Biography (New York: HarperCollins, 2012) [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: HQ 29 .W639 2012 ; ROBA: HQ 29 .W639 2012)

Pamela Dickey Young, Feminist Theology/Christian Theology: In Search of Method (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2000) (ROBA: BT83.55 .Y68 1990)

6. Class Schedule

Session 1:

Session 2:

Session 3:

Session 4:

Session 5:

Session 6:

Session 7:

[Reading Week: February 20-24]

Session 8:

Session 9:

Session 10:

Session 11:

Session 12:

Session 13:

Students with diverse learning styles and needs are welcome in this course. In particular, if you have a disability/health consideration that may require accommodations, please feel free to approach me and/or Student Services as soon as possible.

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