Synopses & Reviews
In the Book of Genesis, the first words God speaks to humanity are "Be fruitful and multiply." From ancient times to today, these words have been understood as a divine command to procreate. Fertility is viewed as a sign of blessedness and moral uprightness, while infertility is associated with sin and moral failing. Reconceiving Infertility
explores traditional interpretations such as these, providing a more complete picture of how procreation and childlessness are depicted in the Bible.
Closely examining texts and themes from both the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, Candida Moss and Joel Baden offer vital new perspectives on infertility and the social experiences of the infertile in the biblical tradition. They begin with perhaps the most famous stories of infertility in the Bible--those of the matriarchs Sarah, Rebekah, and Rachel--and show how the divine injunction in Genesis is both a blessing and a curse. Moss and Baden go on to discuss the metaphorical treatments of Israel as a "barren mother," the conception of Jesus, Paul's writings on family and reproduction, and more. They reveal how biblical views on procreation and infertility, and the ancient contexts from which they emerged, were more diverse than we think.
Reconceiving Infertility demonstrates that the Bible speaks in many voices about infertility, and lays a biblical foundation for a more supportive religious environment for those suffering from infertility today.
The Description for this book, Reconceiving Infertility: Biblical Perspectives on Procreation and Childlessness, will be forthcoming.
shows why Candida Moss and Joel Baden are among the most respected and insightful interpreters of the Bible today. They rightly emphasize the diversity of biblical views of family values and offer an excellent reminder that the biblical texts do not privilege any one view of the ideal woman, childless or not."--Hector Avalos, Iowa State University
"In Reconceiving Infertility, Moss and Baden challenge everything we think we know about how infertility and procreation are portrayed in the Bible. Their fresh reading leads to startling and exciting conclusions about the role that those who are childless, whether by choice or circumstance, might play in the life of the church and the coming of the kingdom."--Ellen Painter Dollar, author of No Easy Choice: A Story of Disability, Parenthood, and Faith in an Age of Advanced Reproduction
"Moss and Baden do a wonderful job of showing that infertility in the Bible is not just a medical description but also a cultural idea arising from a complex mixture of expectations and discourses about age, gender, patriotism, economics, politics, and religion. Reconceiving Infertility is an important and exciting contribution to the growing list of books on disability in biblical studies."--Jeremy Schipper, author of Disability and Isaiah's Suffering Servant
About the Author
Candida R. Moss is professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at the University of Notre Dame. She is the author of Ancient Christian Martyrdom: Diverse Practices, Theologies, and Traditions, among other books. Joel S. Baden is professor of Hebrew Bible at Yale Divinity School. His books include The Composition of the Pentateuch.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: The Matriarchs as Models 21
Chapter 2: The Blessing and the Curse 70
Chapter 3: Mother Zion and the Eschaton 103
Chapter 4: The Son of God and the Conception of the New Age 140
Chapter 5: Chastity, Marriage, and Gender in the Christian Family 171
Chapter 6: Barrenness and the Eschaton 200
Primary Source Index 313
Subject Index 325