Note: This is the second in a two-part series reflecting on women in the biblical book of Daniel. For part 1, see here.
The second female character I noticed while taking a deep dive into the book of Daniel appears even more briefly. Daniel 11:6-7 includes her story: “The daughter of the king of the South will go to the king of the North to make an alliance, but she will not retain her power, and he and his power will not last. In those days she will be betrayed, together with her royal escort and her father and the one who supported her. One from her family line will arise to take her place” (NIV). It is a brief story—and not a happy one, in the end. But I think it’s worth reflecting on.
In this chapter of Daniel, an unnamed supernatural messenger gives Daniel a detailed account of a long series of violent power struggles between various kings. Empires accumulate and then are broken up (vv. 3-4). One king is strong, but his commander proves stronger and overtakes him (v. 5). Attacks are victorious, and valuables are seized and carried off (vv. 7-8). Retreats are made (v. 9). Great armies are assembled (v. 10). Kings “march out in a rage” toward battle (v. 11). Armies are carried off, and thousands are slaughtered (v. 12). You get the idea. Everything is violent. Everything is bloody. Everything is one brutal war after another, one brutal kingdom after another, one brutal ruler after another. It all starts to blur together.
Continue reading “The Daughter, the Alliance-Maker (Women in the Book of Daniel, part 2) by Liz Cooledge Jenkins”
Note: This is the first in a two-part series reflecting on women in the biblical book of Daniel.
I recently had the chance to take a deep dive into the biblical book of Daniel. I think it’s the first time I’ve read the whole book of Daniel since I’ve started intentionally attending to the questions of feminist biblical interpretation: Where are women present? Where are women absent? What are they doing or not doing—perhaps prohibited from doing? How does this passage move its readers toward—or away from—gender equity and women’s empowerment? How does it speak to—or deny—women’s full humanity?
The absence of women in most of the book of Daniel feels glaringly obvious to me. The main characters include the Hebrew exile Daniel, Daniel’s three (male) friends, King Nebuchadnezzar, King Belshazzar, and King Darius. The angels look like men. The divinely appointed eschatological authority figure is described as being like a “son of man.” The particularly oppressive king who desecrates the temple, abolishes the ritual sacrifices, and sets up an “abomination that causes desolation” is definitely male.
Where are the women?
Continue reading “The Queen, the Memory-Keeper (Women in the Book of Daniel, part 1) by Liz Cooledge Jenkins”
During the holiday season we’re bombarded constantly with contradictory messages about how we ought to take care of our bodies this time of year. Over the early winter months there is a collective expectation and even glorification of indulging in all kinds of ways–eating, drinking, spending money, etc. But if we dare enjoy ourselves a bit, we’re then on the receiving end of the diet and fitness culture propaganda that capitalizes on our time of indulging by telling us we need to clean up our eating and get (back) to the gym–assuring us that 2018 will be the year when we finally achieve our “dream bodies.”
Oftentimes the coded language of “wellness,“ “clean eating,” and even “health” is rooted in the same problematic framework that toxic diet and fitness culture espouses: your best self is your thinnest self. Strict binary language used to describe food–processed foods high in fat or sugar are “bad” while fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are “good”–attributes moral weight to what we eat. Beneath this is the myth that our health outcomes and the way that our bodies look are completely within our control. If we simply commit to “healthy” habits, we can become “good” (thin). Continue reading “The Trouble with “Wellness” by Katey Zeh”