Modern Terms and their Ancient Non-Equivalents Patrilineality and Gender in the Historical Study of the Bible

Cynthia Chapman, Oberlin College


Modern gender-critical methodological frameworks that have emerged within Western academic discourses can open new windows into ancient texts and worldviews, allowing the researcher to recognize and begin to theorize gendered language and categories. At the same time, modern methodologies often introduce new categories of analysis and newly coined terminology that can be an imposition of Western values onto the ancient world of the Bible. This essay highlights the need for retaining indigenous terms and categories of analysis when studying gender in the ancient Near East. Any effort to translate an ancient gendered term into a modern language needs to recognize the web of modern associations and expectations that accompany the modern English term.