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Dr Deborah Sawyer

Formerly at Lancaster University

Deborah Sawyer

PhD supervision

Contemporary western religion, gender and religion, contemporary biblical hermeneutics, feminist theologies, biblical studies and contemporary culture, identity theories and religion.

Current Teaching

My main teaching areas are biblical studies, hermeneutics, and gender and religion.

The topics I supervise for research degrees as well as reflecting my own research interests, in textual studies and the interface between contemporary gender theory and religion, include a wide range of topics. Recent and current doctoral projects include, post-Christian feminist spirituality, the spiritual development of adolescent girls, the context of Malaysian women and human rights issues, the discontinuity between working class women's religious experience and feminist theology, the use of texts in the evolution of women's/feminist spiritualities, postmodern Christian theologies and emerging churches.

Research Interests

My own research career can be illustrated by my three published monographs. The first, Midrash Aleph Beth , (Atlanta, Georgia: Scholars Press, 1993 ) was the result of my doctoral research in Jewish midrash and comprised textual analysis, including paleography, translation and exegesis, informed by contemporary literary theory. This research led me further into contemporary thought, particularly identity and gender theory. As a consequence my next book, Women and Religion in the First Christian Centuries , (London/New York: Routledge, 1996), focused on women's roles and status in religions in late antiquity.

Subsequent research opened up more questions, particularly relating to the construction of gender by religious systems. In the latest monograph, God, Gender and the Bible , (London/New York: Routledge, 2002 ), a thesis is presented explaining the particular presentation of male and female characters in biblical narratives in terms of the theological meta-narrative of biblical religion played out in the various political contexts reflected through the texts. My current research follows on from this, and explores the tension between autonomy and submission in biblical and subsequent literature, through analysis of the concept of desire, and in relationship to the Enlightenment project and identity theory.

Reading Spiritualities (jointly edited with Dawn Llewellyn) was published in 2008 and is the culmination of a project identifying new textual manifestations and interpretationsof the sacred, where text is understood in the broadest sense. This work illustrates processes of transformation within religious traditions and beyond - demonstrated in this collection through evolving concepts of the sacred and contemporary hermeneutics.

Link to view publications: http://www.lancs.ac.uk/fass/religstudies/research/books.htm

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