Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Department of English: English Studies
This dissertation examines the ideological implications of re-visioning Bible stories for young readers in order to negotiate changing cultural attitudes regarding gender. I begin by exploring three theories of retelling traditional narratives including John Stephens and Robyn McCallum's discussion of "reversion," Adrienne Rich's concept of "re-vision," and the Jewish tradition of biblical Midrash. Stephens and McCallum's term "reversion" emphasizes the inevitable cultural influence that occurs during the process of retelling an existing narrative. Rich's discussion of "re-vision" advocates an active attempt on the part of feminists to re-see traditional narratives that have historically been used to oppress women. The Jewish tradition of Midrash illustrates a religious approach to filling in the gaps of biblical narrative; feminist midrash, a secularized version of the tradition, employs the practice to negotiate changing ideologies of gender within a historically patriarchal system. The discussion of these three approaches to retelling traditional narratives explicates the complex negotiation of religious and feminist ideologies at work in collections of narratives devoted to women in the Bible. I then categorize five ideological patterns that appear in these collections. Chapter II examines these ideological patterns as they appear in the macrodiscourse, or packaging and paratext of the collections. In chapter III, I move to an analysis of several trends that appear in the microdiscourse, or the actually retelling of individual narratives. Chapter IV narrows the analysis to narratives about a single biblical figure, Eve, and employs a close, comparative reading of between the account in Genesis and various retellings of the creation and the Fall for young readers. Chapter V explores the pedagogical ramifications of incorporating retellings of Bible stories into the college classroom. Chapter VII summarizes my findings and enumerates further analysis to be done with religious texts for young readers.
Gillhouse, Elizabeth, "Framing Eve: Contemporary Retellings of Biblical Women for Young People" (2013). Theses and Dissertations. 24.