Woman without a Name: Gender Identity in Sacrificial Stories

Research Programs

This project investigates the prominent society-wide issue of sacrifice and focuses on the relationship between sacrifice and gender. The thematic grounds for the investigation are biblical texts and the intellectual sources on sacrifice. The investigation is conducted mainly within the Christian discourse but is supplemented by an exploration of Greek mythology. The project aims to provide a link between biblical analysis, which answers particular questions about the nature and context of female sacrifice, and a philosophical-theological synthesis of the nature of such sacrifice in more general terms.

Feminist philosophical-theological scholarship tries to answer questions of sacrifice of women and naturally refers to biblical sacrificial stories. However, it does so unsystematically and without taking biblical scholarship on this matter into account. Feminist biblical scholarship, in contrast, provides an in-depth analysis of one particular sacrificial story (Jephthah and his daughter, Judges 11:29-40) but does not systematise the notion of female sacrifice in the Judeo-Christian tradition. By putting these two bodies of scholarship together I am to strengthen both the textual roots of Judeo-Christian sacrifice as well as its systematic outcomes. The project sets out the following questions: how to overcome gender stereotypes that lead to the sacrifice of women by offering a non-sacrificial basis for relationships, while nonetheless remaining embedded in a Judeo-Christian tradition that appears to be inherently patriarchal?


Katerina Koci

Research Director, Lisa Meitner Fellow