School of Theology and Seminary Faculty Publications

'Misogyny' in Service of Theocentricity: Legitimate or Not?

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Arts and Humanities | Biblical Studies | Religion | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion


“The prophet Ezekiel challenges his exilic audience in the early sixth century B.C.E. to take responsibility for their deportation by claiming that their conduct had been “like the impurity of a menstruating woman”. The ill effects of their deeds were contagious, multiplying in various directions to the point of defiling the whole land. Those exiles schooled in the Priestly rules for distinguishing the sacred and the profane would most likely have reacted with disgust to the image of menstrual blood spreading widely through the land. Ezekiel often uses shocking, outrageous imagery in order to provoke the members of his audience to reflect upon their relationship with Yhwh and to come to greater self-awareness. The effect of Ezekiel’s rhetoric depends not only upon the words he uses and the message he conveys but also upon the way that the hearer receives these images and meanings. I argue that even though Ezekiel uses imagery that can be seen as portraying Woman as the dangerous Other or as a symbol of evil, he challenges his audience to adopt a theocentric perspective on their covenantal life that will move them beyond misogyny.”