Pursuing Partnership: New Light on Timeless Texts – Week 10

The Historical Research of Dr. Sandra Glahn

Wall Fragment with Two Women; Unknown; A.D. 1–75; Fresco

By Wendy Wilson, Missio Nexus, Mission Advisor for Development of Women

This article is part of the series Pursuing Partnership: Men and Women in Ministry.

Shepherd Like a Girl

A note from Wendy Wilson, MissioNexus, Mission Advisor for Development of Women:

As good students of God’s Word, we continue to explore where we have brought our assumptions to the text in a way that keeps us from seeing more of what is actually there. Take shepherds for example. The people who derive their living from caring for real sheep like the shepherds to whom the angel of the Lord announced the birth of Jesus as they were “living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.”  Women shepherds have been present for centuries and in many cultures, just as they have in so many occupations where the work needed to be done by whomever could best do it. Does it matter that these shepherds were all men, as is usually portrayed, or perhaps they were both men and women? What help, if any, does this possibility give us in how we think about engaging women in the work of God?

The link to the blog article is below . . .but here is an excerpt from “Shepherd Like a Girl”:

“The Maasai, like some of the Bedouins my husband and I met in Jordan this summer, live—or abide—in the field. And that is exactly how Luke describes what the shepherds in Jesus’s birth narrative are doing—they are abiding, or living, in the field. Not just “hanging out.” And they are watching their flock. Singular. So, the shepherds to whom the angel choir appeared were probably not a bunch of unrelated guys from different families watching multiple flocks on an open hillside. More likely, they were from one extended family unit with male, female, old, and young present . . . These experiences made me pose some questions about the biblical text to people who live much closer to its reality. . . So, what are some spiritual ramifications?” 

Read the whole article – Shepherd Like a Girl


Dr. Sandra Glahn is Professor of Media Arts and Worship at Dallas Theological Seminary. She is an author, co-author, or general editor of more than twenty books including Vindicating the Vixens: Revisiting Sexualized, Vilified, and Marginalized Women of the Bible. Learn more about her at her website: aspire2.com.

This article is submitted by Wendy Wilson of Missio Nexus and of Women’s Development Track.  Women’s Development Track is a Missio Nexus member.  Member organizations can provide content to the Missio Nexus website. See how by clicking here.

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