Brite student discusses God’s female image

A Brite Divinity School student presented an interpretation on International Women’s Day of a passage from the Hebrew bible that reveals God describing God’s self in male and female terms.Teresa Ellis spoke Thursday at a luncheon hosted by the TCU Institute on Women and Gender about research she had done regarding female references of God.

“I think it could be meaningful to women from various religious traditions to give them another way to see a female image of God in the text,” she said. “This is just fun for me.”

Her interpretation came from the story of Moses and the burning thorn bush with a specifically Jewish approach.

In the story, God gives two self-identifications before giving a third identification that is the Lord. First, God identifies God’s self, “I will be who I will be.”

Ellis said she re-divided the words and changed the vowels of the Hebrew translation of the statement which resulted in God self-identifying by the combination of a female name Asherah and a male name Yah.

“The declaration about Asherah is both said and not said because that is the only way to include plurality while emphasizing the unity that is expressed by ‘I will be who I will be,'” Ellis said.

In addition to Ellis’ presentation, Nokia Research Awards were given to two graduate students from the Brite Divinity School. The awards are given to students specifically doing research on issues of women and gender in their fields.

Katy Low won for her dissertation titled “From angels to scornful wives; Job’s wife in art and visual culture.” Mary Jo Kaska won for “The narrative repair of Moses’ mother rescuing Jochebed from film versions of the story.”

Kaska’s research will be presented in July in Vienna, Austria for the Society of Biblical Literature.

Joanne Greene, director of the Institute on Women and Gender, said the institute is designed to facilitate research.

“What we are trying to do is get more money to give grants to help people do research,” she said. “We have forums like this so they can share their research with others.