Religions and Gender


Course Objective

Learning objectives
• The student is able to describe analytically how certain aspects of
gender have been or become an issue in religions
• The student is able to articulate major parallels and differences
between a number of religious traditions in their approaches to gender
issues in the past and present
• The student is able to switch from the religious insider view to the
academic outsider view and back again

Course Content

Course content
This course introduces students to a broad spectrum of religions in the
past and present dealing with aspects of gender. Gender issues related
to male and female models in religious narratives, historical shifts in
the religious status of women, mother goddesses and female power,
religious views of homosexuality, notions of masculinity and power in
religious politics, will be addressed across cultures and religions. The
variety of religious traditions under consideration illustrates
religious diversity. But there is more to it. Careful comparisons enable
students to discover underlying patterns of similarity.
Six sessions will focus on the following five themes:
1. Male and female role models and stereotypes in ancient narratives:
mythological and legendary couples and gender differences in the
Babylonian Gilgamesh epic, the Greek Odyssey epic, the Hindu Mahabharata
and Ramayana epics
2. The changing religious status of women during three crucial shifts in
the world history of religions: the Neolithic, Axial Age (patriarchy),
Modernization breakthroughs
3. Cross-cultural comparison of mother goddesses and female power: the
Shinto goddess Amaterasu in Japan, the Hindu goddess Durga in India, the
Greek goddess Demeter in Minor Asia
4. Religious rules and attitudes regarding homosexuality in Buddhism and
in Islam
5. The image of Mary in Christianity and Islam: virgin, Madonna, mother,
heroine, virtue, saint, queen

Teaching Methods


Method of Assessment

Assessment - written exam

Entry Requirements

Prerequisites - none


articles and book chapters (see Canvas)

General Information

Course Code G_RELGEN
Credits 6 EC
Period P3
Course Level 300
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Religion and Theology
Course Coordinator dr. L. Minnema
Examiner dr. L. Minnema
Teaching Staff dr. L. Minnema

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Lecture
Target audiences

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