The Book of Ruth is an all-time Bible favorite. In four chapters, it builds a clear plot with narrative tension heightened with sexual innuendos; and it ends well. Since the 1990s at least, studies produced an array of portrayals of the heroes of the tale beyond the traditional idyllic readings. Gaps and fissures have been explored to cover its ideological premises. Feminist readings denounce the way patriarchalism used the figures of Naomi, Ruth and Boaz to bolster its social hegemony. Ruth has been presented as a coquette, Naomi as a pimp or a scold, Ruth and Naomi as lesbians, Boaz as exploiter of the proletariat, unstraight, sugar Daddy or impotent.
The growing types of LGBTQ+ orientations might offer more characterizations still; and Veganism has yet to grind Ruth’s gleanings and Boaz’s bridal gift.
Yet, time is ripe to steer a course between idyllic readings and critical ones. There is more to gender asymmetries and patriarchy than the devaluation of women. Women always have power. Neither Naomi or Ruth are powerless victims.
This volume maps an uncompromising way forward between patriarchy and advocacy.
This volume will be first published online and then as a print book.
Published: Nov 1, 2026