Reconceiving Infertility: Biblical Perspectives on by Candida R. Moss

By Candida R. Moss

In the e-book of Genesis, the 1st phrases God speaks to humanity are "Be fruitful and multiply." From precedent days to at the present time, those phrases were understood as a divine command to procreate. Fertility is seen as an indication of blessedness and ethical uprightness, whereas infertility is linked to sin and ethical failing. Reconceiving Infertility explores conventional interpretations corresponding to those, delivering a extra entire photo of ways procreation and childlessness are depicted within the Bible.

Closely studying texts and subject matters from either the Hebrew Bible and the hot testomony, Candida Moss and Joel Baden supply important new views on infertility and the social stories of the infertile within the biblical culture. they start with maybe the main well-known tales of infertility within the Bible--those of the matriarchs Sarah, Rebekah, and Rachel--and convey how the divine injunction in Genesis is either a blessing and a curse. Moss and Baden move directly to speak about the metaphorical remedies of Israel as a "barren mother," the notion of Jesus, Paul's writings on relations and replica, and extra. They display how biblical perspectives on procreation and infertility, and the traditional contexts from which they emerged, have been extra diversified than we think.

Reconceiving Infertility demonstrates that the Bible speaks in lots of voices approximately infertility, and lays a biblical origin for a extra supportive spiritual surroundings for these being affected by infertility today.

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Extra resources for Reconceiving Infertility: Biblical Perspectives on Procreation and Childlessness

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Childlessness is linked with shame; shame is in fact commanded for the city imagined as childless. Infertility is employed as the very epitome of abasement. And of course Israel itself will be openly shamed by God’s own hand: “I in turn will lift your skirts over your face, and your shame shall be seen” (Jer 13:26); “I will make them a horror—an evil—to all the kingdoms of the earth, a disgrace and a proverb, a byword and a curse in all the places to which I banish them” (Jer 24:9); “I will uncover her shame in the very sight of her lovers” (Hos 2:12).

From the perspective of the ancient Israelite woman, those warm biological feelings are a luxury; far more was at stake, including The Matriarchs as Models  35 aspects of identity and legacy that have often been associated more with men than with women. But for these women (and for so many women since), in the absence of even the possibility of a professional career or a life apart from their households, having children was the means to and signal of cultural success. The emphasis on offspring was felt from the individual through the familial all the way to the communal and even national level, on fronts economic, social, and religious, extending from the present into the indefinite eschatological future.

The narrator gives us virtually no information about Hannah: where she comes from, what she looks like, who she is as a person—the only description we are given is that she has no The Matriarchs as Models  23 children. When we turn to the other barren women in the Hebrew Bible, we find the same descriptive brevity at work, with only minor variations. In Genesis 11, we learn that Abraham has taken a wife named Sarah, of whom we are told immediately and without any further introduction that she “was barren; she had no child” (Gen 11:30).

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