Dr. Amy Peeler’s ward lecture

by Luke Butner

On Tuesday, April 13th, Dr. Amy Peeler, associate professor of New Testament, gave GC an eloquent ward lecture titled “Women, God, and the Benefits of Theological Education for All.” Her lecture was very detailed, interesting and gave valuable insights to the GC community concerning women in the bible.

In her lecture, Dr. Peeler delved deeply into Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, as an example of a strong woman in the bible. She argued that Mary, deeply devoted to her Son, is the perfect example of both a follower of Jesus and God’s way of showing how women are important to Him.

In one noteworthy example by Dr. Peeler, she went into the creation story of mankind and compared it to the birth of Jesus. She interpreted the creation text, that of the Garden of Edan, by saying God made an equal, flesh of flesh and bone of bone of Adam because he was not good by himself.

Dr. Peeler then went on to explain her interpretation of Jesus’s birth and said that Jesus was born of a woman and made of her own flesh. She compared her interpretations of the creation stories by saying that these both show how women are important to mankind as a whole. Males would not be Good by themselves in God’s eyes and need women while Jesus was created from Mary’s womb using her flesh.

In another example provided by Dr. Peeler, she used Levitical laws and Mary’s birth to Jesus to show how God uses women. The section of Leviticus she drew our attention to was Lev. 15:19-20, which reads, “When a woman has her regular flow of blood, the impurity of her monthly period will last seven days, and anyone who touches her will be unclean till evening. Anything she lies on during her period will be unclean, and anything she sits on will be unclean.”

Dr. Peeler used these scriptures in tandem with Jesus’s birth by saying Jesus, the holiest thing in the universe, was birthed out of a woman who would have been considered unclean in Jewish ceremony. She claims the significance of His birth out of a woman considered unclean is that God shows that women’s bodies themselves are not unclean. She claims God has chosen Mary, of which He knew considered unclean, to hold and give birth to the most holy thing in the universe to show women themselves are not dirty.

To show how women can be prophets, Dr. Peeler uses Elizabeth’s contraception and points to Luke 1:41 which reads, “When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.” She claims that God used Mary, a woman, to be not only a vessel of Jesus’s birth but also of John the Baptist, another very important biblical figure. She claims that this is prophetic because it was Mary’s greeting that caused the baby to leap into Elizabeth’s stomach.

Lastly, Dr. Peeler talked about how Mary grew Jesus’s wisdom. She pointed to the story of Jesus getting separated from His parents. The story goes to Mary and Jesus at a party, where Mary leaves early and expects Jesus to return home with family. Instead, they were separated for a few days. This causes Mary and her husband to look for Jesus and finds Him at, where Jesus claims to be, “His father’s house.” When Mary is upset and asks why Jesus had not returned home in a few days, Jesus asked why she went looking for Him and claimed they should have known He would have been at the location they found Him at.

Dr. Peeler explained that this story shows confusion between both Jesus and Mary, suggesting that Jesus is not fully mature in reason and understanding. She claims that Mary must influence Jesus and what He does to grow up and become wiser. Dr. Peeler argues that Mary’s influence on Jesus once again shows how God sees women as equal to men and have important roles in the bible.

In conclusion, Dr. Peeler’s Ward lecture was very interesting and offered a unique feminist point of view to interpreting scripture. Her arguments were well-put together, she had very good points and if she has any more lectures in the future, you can count on me to be there!

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