To mark the fifth day of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence, we talk to Katherine Southwood, Associate Professor in Old Testament at the University of Oxford.
Tell us about yourself…who are you and what do you do?
I am Associate Professor in Old Testament, Faculty of Theology, University of Oxford and Fellow and Tutor in Theology and Religion, St John’s College, Oxford. I am interested in approaches to the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament which draw on other fields of research, particularly social anthropology. I have worked specifically on marriage, with my first monograph on Ezra (Ethnicity and the Mixed Marriage Crisis in Ezra 9-10: An Anthropological Approach 2012).
What’s your involvement with The Shiloh Project?
I am a member of the Project; I will be contributing to the blog page in the future and have also contributed by finding existing material for the blog (search for the piece on ‘Susanna and the Elders’).
How does The Shiloh Project relate to your work?
The Shiloh project takes its name from Judges 21, a difficult narrative which describes advice given to the Benjaminite tribe to obtain wives through the sudden capture of women who dance at Shiloh. My second monograph was on this chapter (Marriage by Capture in the Book of Judges: An Anthropological Approach 2017). The monograph argues that Judges 21 is the only example in the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament of marriage by capture and explores the reasons why marriage by capture occurs in some parts of the world today. I also have a co-edited volume with Martien Halvorson-Taylor just out entitled Women and Exilic Identity in the Hebrew Bible which relates to some of the priorities of the Shiloh Project.
How do you think The Shiloh Project’s work on religion and rape culture can add to discussion about gender activism today?
By highlighting the long cultural and social shadow behind present-day gendered violence and rape. Especially relevant to this discussion is the representation of women in parts of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament.
What’s next for your work with The Shiloh Project?
I am glad to participate in this very worthy project and am hoping to become more involved in the work of the team!