Old Testament

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Theology (Th.M)


Gender concerns, Judges, Deborah, Interpretation


This study aims to set aside gender concerns related to Deborah and the interpretation of Judges 4–5 in order to determine if a clearer portrait emerges of Deborah as a prophet, a judge, or both without gender issues obscuring the picture. Chapter 1 provides a representative summary of Deborah’s interpretive history, which establishes how gender has been historically and incorrectly used as the primary interpretive key for understanding Deborah and other key parts of Judg 4–5. Chapter 2 discusses Deborah’s role as a judge and determines the text supports identifying her with this title, and chapter 3 does the same for Deborah’s role as a prophet. As a result of chapters 2–3, Deborah’s role as a prophet is seen solving many of the interpretive challenges of the text in Judges 4–5. In conclusion, this study claims while Deborah was certainly a woman, the preoccupation with her gender often obfuscates her roles as judge and prophet since interpreters use gender as the primary interpretive key for understanding both her character and the narrative. Rather than gender, Deborah’s prophetic role provides the best interpretive key for understanding Deborah’s unique presentation and activities as one of the judges.



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