Phyllis Trible (born 1932) is Professor Emeritus of Church History at Union Theological Seminary, and the author of books such as Texts of Terror: Literary-Feminist Readings of Biblical Narratives (Overtures to Biblical Theology), Hagar, Sarah, and Their Children: Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Perspectives, and Rhetorical Criticism (Guides to Biblical Scholarship).
She wrote in the Foreword to this 1978 book, "Focusing on texts in the Hebrew scriptures, I have sought a theological vision for new occasions... I have accented what I consider neglected themes and counterliterature. Using feminist hermeneutics, I have tried to recover old treasures and discover new ones in the household of faith."
She points out that "these references to humanity in Genesis 1:27 allow freedom in the interpretation of male and female. The human creation poeticized in this verse is not delineated by sexual relationships, roles, characteristics, attitudes, or emotions." (Pg. 19) She adds, "As the most basic way to know humankind in its fullness, 'male and female' is the vehicle of a metaphor whose tenor is 'the image of God.'... If 'male and female' gives the clue for interpreting 'the image of God,' the phrase 'image of God' gives the clue for understanding 'God.'" (Pg. 20-21)
She argues that the "taken from" language in Genesis 2:23 implies "the similarity of woman and man, not the subordination of woman to man. Paradoxically, to be taken from man is to be differentiated from him while being bone of bone and flesh of flesh. Differentiation, then, implies neither derivation nor subordination. The poetic usage ... argues, in fact, for the mutuality of woman and man." (Pg. 101)
Commenting on the Song of Songs, she states, "there is no male dominance, no female subordination, and no stereotyping of either sex. Specifically, the portrayal of the woman defies the connotations of 'second sex.' She works, keeping vineyards and pasturing flocks. Throughout the Song she is independent, fully the equal of the man... Never is this woman called a wife, nor is she required to bear children. In fact, to the issues of marriage and procreation the Song does not speak. Love for the sake of love is its message..." (Pg. 161-162)
Trible's fresh ways of interpreting many "traditional" passages are stimulating, and well worth reading for anyone interested in contemporary theology or biblical interpretation.