An August 2020 Online Course: Gender and Sexuality in the Bible!

by Bernard Schlager

This graduate-level, 3-credit course is offered online from 3 August 2020 through 14 August 2020 (Monday thru Friday).

For more information, contact Professor Sharon Jacob at:

This course will examine the ways in which ancient views on gender and sexuality inform and influence Biblical Texts.  We will read texts from the Jewish Scriptures and the Greco-Roman contexts to gain a deeper understanding of the gender norms in the ancient world. We will then learn to apply these concepts and bring to light different interpretations that will address issues of equality and justice more directly. We will also investigate and critically analyze some key issues regarding women in leadership roles, marriage, asceticism, slavery, and martyrdom.  Students will be introduced to ancient and modern critical approaches to the Bible including historical, feminist, gender, and queer criticism.

The goal of this course is for students to develop a greater understanding on biblical perspectives on gender and sexuality and understand the ways in which these texts affect and influence contemporary interpretations of sexuality and gender.  This course is an upper level exegesis course which means that some familiarity with regards to the content and history of the text is assumed and as a result a pre-requisite is required for this course.

Professor Sharon Jacob

Dr. Sharon Jacob’s research interests include gender and sexuality studies, postcolonial theory, race and whiteness theory, and feminist studies. She draws on her contextual experiences of growing up in a multi-religious Indian context as well as her current experiences of living in the United States as an immigrant to form her teaching and scholarship.

After completing her undergraduate education in her native Bangalore, India, Dr. Jacob earned her Masters of Divinity from Lancaster Theological Seminary in Lancaster, PA. She also has a Masters of Sacred Theology from Yale Divinity School and her PhD from Drew University in Madison, NJ. Her book Reading Mary Alongside Indian Surrogate Mothers: Violent Love, Oppressive Liberation, and Infancy Narratives was published by Palgrave MacMillan under the Bible and Culture Series in 2015. In this book, Dr. Jacob takes a hard look at the growing industry of surrogacy in India and uses the stories of these real life mothers as a lens to reread the Biblical figure of Mary in the infancy narratives with the hope that a more complex and nuanced interpretation of her motherhood can begin to emerge within the globalized context.

Dr. Jacob comes to PSR from Phillips Theological Seminary in Tulsa, Oklahoma, a seminary affiliated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), and taught previously at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. She serves on a number of boards and professional associations, including the Electronic Journal for Feminist Studies in Religion (EFSR) where she regularly contributes and blogs on various topics. Currently, her blogs take a critical look at the problem of Islamophobia as a growing global crisis.

Having grown up in the Methodist Church in India, her connections go back five generations. Dr. Jacob’s great great-grandfather was the first person to be converted to Christianity in his district of Bidar in North Karnataka and her great grandfather was the first Indian district superintendent of the Methodist Church. Her family members are all life-long Methodists in India and are active members of the Methodist Church in Karnataka. While in the United States, Sharon and her family have also made connections with the United Church of Christ.

For more information, contact Professor Sharon Jacob at: