Caroline Blyth is a British Biblical Studies Scholar whose area of focus is gender and violence, so she is well suited to the Hidden Perspectives project due to her in depth knowledge of gender in the Hebrew Bible. She currently lectures at Auckland University and has recently become part of the Hidden Perspectives books series team. Below is a fascinating interview with Caroline.
I’m originally from Edinburgh, and, before I became interested in Biblical Studies, worked there as a mental health nurse for 13 years. I went back to University in 2000 and did an MA at Edinburgh Uni, focusing on Biblical Studies and Hebrew. I kind of fell in love with the subject, so stayed on to do my PhD, where I looked at gender violence in the Hebrew Bible, comparing biblical attitudes to rape with contemporary rape myths and rape culture. After working part time at Edinburgh Uni for a couple of years, I moved to Auckland in 2011, when I got a lecture post in Biblical Studies at the University of Auckland. It was a big change for me, but made a bit easier by the fact that my partner is a Kiwi and she was delighted to come home – and to help me acclimatize to the Kiwi lifestyle!
How did you get involved with the Hidden Perspectives book series?
I was fortunate enough to be put in touch with the wonderful Katie Edwards by a colleague here at Auckland, Dr Robert Myles. Katie and I then met up at the Society of Biblical Literature conference in Chicago, 2012, where she told me more about the Hidden Perspectives book series. I’m really committed to biblical scholarship that opens new doors and directions within the field, and that encourages new (and previously excluded) voices into discussions around biblical texts, so I was smitten from the start about the series and the whole Hidden Perspectives project and am really delighted to be a part of it.
I’m involved in two projects for the book series. Along with Robert Myles, I’m co-editing a volume titled Sexuality, Ideology, and the Bible: Queer Readings from the Antipodes. As you can guess from the title, it will be a collection of essays by biblical scholars from Aotearoa NZ, Australia, and the Pacific Islands considering various themes relating to biblical sexuality from a queer perspective. My second project is a book that I’m currently working on, which looks at the numerous afterlives of my favourite biblical character – Delilah! – in popular culture, focusing in particular on her various representations as a femme fatale. I’m really excited about both these projects, especially as they are going to be part of the Hidden Perspectives series.
What are your thoughts regarding the Hidden Perspectives project so far?
I love it! As I said above, I’m quite passionate about opening up biblical scholarship to new audiences and interested readers, and I think Hidden Perspectives does this brilliantly. I’m coming over to the UK later in the year, and plan a visit to Sheffield, so am really looking forward to experiencing (and hopefully participating in) some Hidden Perspectives events first hand!