Hartford Seminary

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Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 - hARTsem DAYS: Celebrate the Arts and Spirituality at Hartford Seminary

A Black Woman Reads Revelation: Book Debut and Conversation with Prof. Shanell T. Smith

Photo by Marcia Pavao

Join us for a book talk and conversation as Prof. Shanell T. Smith launches her book, The Woman Babylon and the Marks of Empire: Reading Revelation with a Postcolonial Womanist Hermeneutics of Ambiveilence (Emerging Scholars).

From her Amazon page: “The “Great Whore” of the Book of Revelation — the hostile symbolization used to illustrate the author’s critique of empire — has attracted considerable attention in Revelation scholarship. Feminist scholar Tina Pippin criticizes the use of gendered metaphors —”Babylon” as a tortured woman — which she asserts reflect an inescapably androcentric, even misogynistic, perspective. Alternatively, Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza understands John’s rhetoric and imagery not simply in gendered terms, but in political terms as well, observing that “Babylon” relies on conventionally coded feminine language for a city.

“Shanell T. Smith seeks to dismantle the either/or dichotomy within the “Great Whore” debate by bringing the categories of race/ethnicity and class to bear on John’ metaphors. Her socio-cultural context impels her to be sensitive to such categories, and, therefore, leads her to hold the two elements, “woman” and “city,” in tension, rather than privileging one over the other. Using postcolonial womanist interpretation of the woman Babylon, Smith highlights the simultaneous duality of her characterization — her depiction as both a female brothel slave and as an empress or imperial city. Most remarkably, however, Smith’s reading also sheds light on her own ambivalent characterization as both a victim and participant in empire.”

Dr. Smith is Assistant Professor of New Testament and Christian Origins and Coordinator of the International Ph.D. Program. She has a Ph.D.  from The Theological School, Drew University, a Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary, and a Bachelor of Arts from Rutgers – the State University of New Jersey. 

Books will be available for sale and signing after the talk. Registration for this free event is recommended.

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