The Canaanite Woman

The Canaanite Woman

by Benjamin Bagocius
The Canaanite Woman

The Canaanite Woman

by Benjamin Bagocius


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The Canaanite woman in both Matthew's and Mark's Gospels asks Jesus to heal her daughter from so-called demon possession, what today we might understand as a psychological, genetic, physical, or emotional disorder. Matthew and Mark give the Canaanite woman a handful of verses before moving on to Jesus's next encounter. The Canaanite Woman pauses with her for considerably longer. This woman emerges as a prophet when we notice both her inborn and hard-won wisdom, her strength and resilience as a mother of a child with a complex disorder in a culture of systemic ableism. The Canaanite woman is not an ancient visionary from an outdated story. She is your server at the restaurant. Your business partner. She is the woman lifting weights beside you in the gym, the woman you pass in the grocery store aisle. She might be a man, for men, too, are often primary caretakers of children with rare and complicated disabilities. Maybe you are the Canaanite woman. Or will be. The Canaanite woman has much to teach us about the mystery of love. Let's follow her. She'll lead us to other quiet visionaries along the way, including ones we often pass by: the visionary within the marginalized; the visionary within ourselves.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781666732511
Publisher: Resource Publications
Publication date: 06/17/2022
Pages: 108
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.22(d)

About the Author

Benjamin Bagocius writes and teaches broadly across literature, spirituality, and queer thought and experience. His writing has appeared in On Being, The Other Journal, Modernism/modernity, Studies in the Novel, and elsewhere. An associate professor of the humanities with the Bard Early College Sequence Program in Washington, DC, Bagocius holds a PhD in English from Indiana University, an MFA in creative writing from The New School, and a BA in English from Kenyon College. Bagocius is also founding director of the Institute for Spiritual Poetry, which hosts writing workshops, a journal, and other events. Learn more and reach out at and

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“These poems are contemporary masterpieces, born from an ancient Bible story to widen today’s vital discussions around disability and marginalization. Bagocius holds the modern Canaanite mother Justa in high esteem and captures bits of visionary wisdom from her child Bernice between moments of havoc. The final poem, when Justa wonders how it would have been if Jesus had been a mother, is heart- and mind-opening in its brilliance. An important book to savor and share.”

—Donna Baier Stein, founder & publisher, Tiferet Journal

The Canaanite Woman is like nothing else you’ve ever read. In a richly woven narrative of linked poems in varied voices, Bagocius conjures vivid characters whose lives are shaped by fierce love and loyalty in the face of pain and the oppression of disabled bodies. Traversing the ancient biblical world and our own, this book is an act of radical imagination, a theopoetics of mystery and liberation, a welcome gift that heals.”

—Alexander Levering Kern, founding editor of Pensive: A Global Journal of Spirituality and the Arts, Northeastern University

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