Women in the Bible

COVID-19 Update. In light of the developing situation with COVID-19, and in line with the latest government guidance, Cliff College has cancelled all face-to-face teaching delivered on-site from Friday March 20th to the end of June. During this time the college will also also be reviewing on-site courses currently planned for July and August. With sadness we have had to cancel this particular course within the Short Course programme, as we are sure you will understand. However we remain in contact with all those who had already booked this course and are now exploring the rescheduling of this and other courses later in the year. If you have any questions, please contact the Short Course Administrator, Pete Anderson (shortcourse@cliffcollege.ac.uk). 

We would like you to journey with us to the exciting world of the women in the Bible.  Studying the female figures in the Bible has gained a lot of interest in the past years and keeps on raising important questions for contemporary followers of Christ. Who were these women in the Bible? How should we understand their stories? Do they have anything to say to women in the contemporary church? It is these questions and many more that we shall address in this Women in the Bible weekend course.

This weekend (which is open to both women and men) is for you if you want to know your Bible at a deeper level, want a greater insight into some of the key characters of the Bible, want to reflect on how the Bible can better inform understandings of contemporary life, and want to hear afresh the voices of historical and contemporary women.

The ‘Women in the Bible’ weekend course is one of a series of events being sponsored by The Bible, Gender and Church Research Centre, based at Cliff College.

Course Leaders: Kirsi Cobb & Holly Morse

Kirsi Cobb is Lecturer in biblical studies at Cliff College, and co-director of the Bible, Gender and Church Research Centre. Kirsi’s main research interests are women’s studies and biblical interpretation. Her PhD dissertation was on the biblical figure of Miriam and the multiple ways her story can be read when using different methods of hermeneutics. Her recent research projects center upon reading troubling and violent passages in the Hebrew Bible such as Hosea 2 and Miriam’s Song in Exodus 15:21, using lenses of trauma theory, autoethnography, revenge and abuse. Her research seeks to find ways to better understand such disturbing themes in the Bible and read women’s stories in more empowering ways. In her spare time Kirsi likes hiking, street dance and watching movies. She is also currently looking for a cat. Originally from Finland, her colleagues call her ‘excitable’!


Holly Morse is Lecturer in Bible, Gender and Culture at the University of Manchester, and co-director of the Bible, Gender and Church Research Centre. Holly has a DPhil from the University of Oxford, where she wrote her thesis (forthcoming with Oxford University Press) on the biblical figure of Eve and her cultural reception, focusing on marginalised readers and readings. Her ongoing research interests include the Hebrew Bible, gender, visual arts, female biblical interpretation, and hermeneutics. She has written on biblical literature, gender, trauma, abuse and the visual arts. She has published on biblical reception criticism, appropriations of biblical women within the Women’s Movement, and revenge porn and slut shaming in the biblical prophets. In her spare time, Holly enjoys dressmaking, drawing, and visiting art galleries.

Course details

From the initial session on Friday evening through to lunchtime on Sunday, participants will be exploring these issues through lecture, seminar and workshop, and together reflecting on the importance of this ministry.

The course will touch upon some key figures and passages in both Testaments. If you have ever wondered if Eve was a temptress or if Paul actually meant that women should wear hats to church, this is the course for you. We will delve deeply into the world of these and other biblical characters and  address some deep seated beliefs and questions regarding these topics. However, we are not content to simply understand these passages but we will also raise the important question of how the Bible can be applied to the contemporary lives of women in the Church, especially when in the past these texts have been more often than not used to harm rather than empower women.

Welcomed and introduced by Ian White, Senior Tutor; Cliff College, who heads up the Short Course programme, the course content will be delivered by Dr. Kirsi Cobb from Cliff College and Dr. Holly Morse from the University of Manchester. In May 2019 Kirsi and Holly co-founded the BGC (Bible, Gender and Church) Research Centre. The Centre aims to foster research in biblical gender studies through various projects that will affect change in the Church and academia, so the both women and men can be empowered ‘to live life to the full’. This week-end course on women in the Bible is one of many events to be held by the Centre.

The Bible, Gender and Church Research Centre

The BGC Research Centre focuses on biblical and practical gender studies, and how these intersect and inform the lives of women and men in the contemporary church. The Sophia Network’s ‘Minding the Gap’ report recently demonstrated that, although women make up 65 per cent of the church in the UK, 62 per cent of these women have experienced some form of sexism in church. More than half of the respondents also indicated that this was a problem that existed on an institutional rather than on an individual level. The full report can be found on the BGC webpage. These statistics and others make it clear that research on gender, both in the Bible and the church, is sorely needed. The BGC Research Centre aims to foster research in biblical gender studies, as well as through various projects to affect change in the church and academia so that both women and men can be empowered to ‘live life to the full’.

The centre is a joint initiative between Cliff College and The University of Manchester.


Dates: TBA


The cost of £170.00, includes morning and afternoon refreshments, evening meal on Friday, all meals Saturday & breakfast and lunch Sunday, 2 nights en-suite accommodation, and all teaching materials.

A non refundable deposit of £30 secures your place. The balance of fees should be paid on arrival.

We are delighted that Methodist Women in Britain have offered some bursary funding towards this course. Contact MWiB for more details.

For booking contact:  shortcourse@cliffcollege.ac.uk / 01246 584203

Cliff College is a registered charity: No. 529386

Call: +44 (0) 1246 584200


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