Tell us about yourself…who are you and what do you do?
I am Dr Jessica M. Keady and I am a Lecturer in Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Wales, Trinity Saint David (Lampeter). I currently teach and supervise on topics related to the Hebrew Bible and Second Temple Judaism to both undergraduate and postgraduate students on a variety of degree programmes. I am also research active, and my main research interests are based on Second Temple Jewish texts and their ancient/social context. I am particularly interested in the portrayal of gender in the Dead Sea Scrolls and the constructions of Jewish purity and impurity laws. My first monograph, Vulnerability and Valour: A Gendered Analysis of Everyday Life in the Dead Sea Scrrolls has recently been published (Library of Second Temple Studies 91, Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2017) used theories from Gender Studies to investigate the purity texts of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
What’s your involvement with The Shiloh Project?
I take an active interest in the promotion of The Shiloh Project’s significant work on Social Media. I have recently contributed to The Shiloh Project Blog – Rape Culture Discourse and Female Impurity: Genesis 34 as a Case Study and I am following the work that the project is undertaking and thinking of future collaborative plans between Sheffield, Leeds and Lampeter to foster further interdisciplinary dialogue amongst wonderful colleagues and friends.
How does The Shiloh Project relate to your research and teaching?
The Shiloh Project is important to my research as it enables me to question and interpret difficult biblical texts in a safe environment. A larger version of the blog post is being published in the forthcoming volume, Rape Culture, Gender Violence and Religion (ed. Caroline Blyth, Emily Colgan and Katie Edwards).
As a new lecturer, I am also preparing material for forthcoming modules that I will be teaching next academic year on Gender and Sexuality in the Ancient World and I can envisage The Shiloh Project as being an excellent online resource for students to reflect on and use in their wider reading and understanding.
How do you think The Shiloh Project’s work on religion and rape culture can add to discussion about gender activism today?
The increase in reports of sexual abuse and sexual exploitation, press coverage, and social media campaigns need to be encased in a wider rape culture framework, that primarily considers the survivors’ perspectives, and also monitors the comments and possible backlash that he/she experiences from the general public. The Shiloh Project’s work is, arguably, needed now more than ever to demonstrate the importance of researching the phenomenon of rape culture, throughout history and within contemporary society.
What’s next for your work with The Shiloh Project?
Now that I have secured my first lectureship, I am keen on fostering future collaborations between the UWTSD and The Shiloh Project, especially in relation to the teaching of sexually violent biblical texts. I am also working with two of the Project Directors, Dr Katie Edwards and Dr Johanna Stiebert (and Dr Meredith Warren), on a future journal article series that is focused on Gender and the Dead Sea Scrolls.