Shoshana Razel Gordon-Guedalia
Shoshana Razel Gordon-Guedalia focuses on Hindu Dharmasastra, Catholic Canon Law, Islamic Fiq and Sharia, and Jewish Rabbinics—examining religio-legal mechanisms meant to facilitate the evolving face of lived religion, and the degree of skill with which decisors throughout history use them. A good decisor must ever sift enduring legal principles from dust of superstitious lore that accumulates on history’s journey. “Law,” says Donald Davis, Spirit of Hindu Law, “is the theology of ordinary life.” Quotidian concerns must therefore be fused with those theological and religio-legal. Her Lethal Wives and Impure Widows examines the confusion between purity as ritual law, and misogynistic lore—attributing menace to impurity, devouring threat to nurturer—focusing upon widow marriage taboos in Jewish and Hindu tradition. Her Unholy Escape, examines the sacerdotal ideological dialectic of Householder and Renunciant in the four aforementioned traditions, and the profound systemic, religio-legal, social, and personal ramifications each paradigm leaves in its wake when rubbing against ethical imperatives—personal responsibilities not to be shirked by God fearing, religious individuals of integrity. Gordon-Guedalia studies the phenomenon of married renunciant who abandons family for ‘holy’ calling. Is such a figure lauded or scorned? What of religio-legal status? How does the system treat the abandoned family? This study involves tradition specific understanding of attitudes towards celibacy and renunciation as alternative paradigm to householder—socio-historical evolutionary acquaintance with, and critical knowledge of the religio-legal and theological underpinnings of each system, in each tradition, in its multi-faceted forms.
Mother of five, published poet, fiction, non-fiction, journalistic, and scholarly writer, aspiring Orthodox rabbi, sermonizer and teacher of Talmud, Gordon-Guedalia holds degrees in Jewish Thought and in Creative Writing and Literature and a teaching certificate from the Israeli army. She is a teaching fellow in the Study of Religion. She is a teaching fellow in the Th.D. program.