Identity in the Book of Ruth

Date(s) - 10/18/2014
9:00 am - 1:45 pm

Northway Christian Church


Identity in the Book of Ruth
Fifth Joan and Aubrey Gearner Seminar
October 18, 9:00 a.m. to 1:45 p.m.
Northway Christian Church, Dallas

The book of Ruth is a beautifully written and carefully constructed novella that centers on the themes of loyalty/faithfulness and redemption. It can also be read as a survival manual for people who have lost the markers of their identity. In this seminar we will engage in a close, dialogic reading of Ruth. We will examine the construct of identity in the book of Ruth as it is presented, challenged, stretched and eventually redefined. Who are the insiders and outsiders in the narrative? How is the “other” defined for the Israelite community and can that definition be changed over time? What are the theological implications of our reading and how do they apply to our lives? Although the majority of the seminar will focus on the book of Ruth, the dialogue around identity will engage two other books, Esther and Song of Songs. In this expanded dialogue, we will compare three different identity constructs and reflect on possible applications to our lives.

20141018_judy_fentress_williamsJudy Fentress-Williams, Professor of Old Testament, Virginia Theological Seminary
Judy Fentress-Williams served as Professor of Hebrew Bible and Director of the Black Ministries Program at Hartford Seminary prior to her appointment at Virginia Theological Seminary in 2002. Dr. Fentress-Williams earned her BA in English from Princeton University, her MDiv from Yale Divinity School and her PhD in Religious Studies with an emphasis on Hebrew Bible from Yale University. Dr. Fentress-Williams is interested in a dialogic approach to scripture, a literary approach that finds meaning resulting from the dialogue that takes place within a text, between biblical texts and between the readers and text. She uses the dialogic method in her commentary on Ruth published by Abingdon Press. Dr. Fentress-Williams is ordained in the Baptist Church and serves at the historic Alfred Street Baptist Church in Alexandria, VA.