Tough Conversations: Teaching Biblical Gender Violence in Aotearoa New Zealand

  • Emily Colgan
  • Caroline Blyth
Part of the Religion and Radicalism book series (RERA)


In this chapter, Emily Colgan and Caroline Blyth offer a short reflection about some of the “tough conversations” that academics may have with students when teaching biblical texts of terror. Within classroom spaces, academics must navigate a minefield peppered with resistant student voices and challenges, where there are ever-present possibilities to engage with students in ways that are either damaging or therapeutic. Reflecting on their own attempts to journey through this hazardous space, they share their thoughts, learning opportunities, and experiences of teaching biblical texts of terror; particularly, they contemplate how to teach these texts responsibly, given their own cultural location within Aotearoa New Zealand—a country that has one of the highest rates of gender violence in the developed world. As the final chapter of this volume, Colgan and Blyth’s reflection serves as an invitation for readers to think about their own engagements with biblical texts of terror in light of the chapters that have come before; it also throws down the gauntlet to those engaged in biblical studies education to persist in these “tough conversations” and thereby commit to challenging rape culture and gender violence within both the pages of the Bible and their own communities and cultural contexts.


  1. Day, Linda. 1999. Teaching the Prophetic Marriage Metaphor Texts. Teaching Theology and Religion 2 (3): 173–179.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. New Zealand Family Violence Clearinghouse. 2014. United Nations Report on Status of Women Released. New Zealand Family Clearinghouse Website, Accessed 21 Sep 2017.
  3. OECD. 2017. Violence Against Women. Accessed 30 Sep 2017.
  4. UN Women. 2011. Progress of the World’s Women: In Pursuit of Justice. Geneva: UN Women. Accessed 21 Sep 2017.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emily Colgan
    • 1
  • Caroline Blyth
    • 2
  1. 1.Trinity Methodist Theological CollegeAucklandNew Zealand
  2. 2.School of HumanitiesUniversity of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand

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