Department of Theology and Religious Studies

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Emily Gathergood

Research Fellow, Faculty of Arts


Research Summary

Dr Emily Gathergood is a postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies, where she earned her PhD in New Testament, with a thesis on 'The Midwifery of God' (January… read more

Recent Publications

'Deliver Her from Evil: Messianic Midwifery in the Syriac Apocalypse of Baruch (2 Baruch) 72-74,' Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting, Nov 2022

'Your Faith has Delivered You: Divine Midwifery and Perinatal Discipleship in Early Christian Apocrypha,' LMU Munich NT Colloquium, June 2022

'Gendered Fluids of Salvation: The Father's Seminal Lactation and the Virgin's Masculine Maternity in the Odes of Solomon 19,' North American Patristics Society Annual Meeting, May 2022

'Call the Midwife! Apostolic Birthing and Childless Discipleship in the Apocryphal Acts of Andrew,' University of Nottingham Theology Seminar, Feb 2022

Discussant, 'Studies in Second Temple Judaism: A Global Enterprise,' Enoch Seminar/Frankel Institute for Advanced Judaic Studies, Jan 2022

'Deus misereatur mei: childbearing, salvation, and religious competition for women's devotion in the Acts of Andrew,' Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting (San Antonio, TX), Nov 2021

'She will be delivered: the "tokological" salvation of Eve in the Greek Life of Adam and Eve and 1 Timothy,' British New Testament Society Conference (St. Andrews), Aug 2021

'The Problems and Promise of Interpreting 1 Timothy 2:8-15,' Denver Seminary Graduate Seminar, Mar 2021

Current Research

Dr Emily Gathergood is a postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies, where she earned her PhD in New Testament, with a thesis on 'The Midwifery of God' (January 2022).

The universal human experiences of birth and death have been interpreted religiously since the dawn of behavioural modernity in the species. Ancient authors made sense of maternal and perinatal mortality by generating theological narratives of childbirth as a dangerous time-space in which otherworldly beings operate as malevolent afflictors and benevolent saviours. In her dissertation book project The Midwifery of God, Emily establishes the significance of the underexplored motif of 'tokological' (childbearing-related) deliverance in Second Temple Jewish and early Christian writings. The study offers novel intertextual analysis of a diverse assemblage of canonical and apocryphal receptions of the Genesis myth of Eve's postlapsarian judgement of difficult childbearing. The central thesis is that these sacred texts conceptualise God in feminine terms, as the heavenly Midwife who physiologically delivers parturient women. The traditional aetiological application of Eve's 'curse' to all women is undone through a subversive reading strategy of imagining its divine repeal. The trope of restored Edenic birthing conditions utilises women's bodies as a resource to 'think with' about the eschatological future of humanity and the nature of God, towards a thicker, richer, more affective soteriology. The study invites scholars to reconfigure established accounts of salvation, which skew towards the generic or androcentric, in order to reckon with the motif of divine care of the female body and soul. Critical attention to embodied and engendered ways of theological knowing challenges the dominance of the curse-narrative that continues to shape the ideological construction of women in the contemporary world.

Department of Theology and Religious Studies

University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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