A Human Called Woman

Here’s a solo album I recorded in 2005, that I re-released last month on Noisetrade where you can download it for free.





  1. Julia, I am one of those who skips over track 3, not because of the songwriting, it is just as strong as the rest of this fine album…I just can’t take the subject. I may have mentioned sometime ago I read Robert Alter’s translations of the Hebrew Bible, he is a great place to go for perspective on difficult stories like that of Judges 19….Alter stresses that many of the extreme stories in the these books may not have in fact actually happened. Of course the ancient near east was a brutal place, but things like “the ban,” in which God commanded Israel to wipe out entire towns-man, boys, and non-virgin women, (and cattle)-are likely not historical. Instead, the stories were told and retold in such a way to emphasize a theological point that became dominant much later than the purported events…namely that God required utter separation and purity from his people.

    I just pulled Alter’s translation off the shelf and reread Judges 19. It is truly shocking. But Alter makes clear that this tale is not historical, it is simply a retelling of Lot in Sodom in Genesis 19. The difference, says Alter, is that in Genesis God actively intervenes in human affairs, and thus the strangers are spared rape via some supernatural blinding of the rapists eyes. Not so in Judges. Human beings are free to mutilate and rape at will in this book.

    To me, it is a relief to realize that the Bible and its attendant horrors are both more, and less, than the inerrantist, spiritualized nonsense that you and I were brought up to believe. It is more in the sense that the Bible is a fascinating and important literature, and can be understood as can any other translated ancient text. But more importantly it is less, infinitely less, than what we were told: it is no “Word of God,” it is a developed, heavily edited human work that evolved over time. And the changes in tone, perspective, and actual theology that are evident in even a cursory reading of the Bible are explainable via rational, scientific types of analyses. What a relief this is.

    I must thank the Bible for inspiring a young woman to reflect on her nature and on society, and to record this brief but very strong little album of songs. I listen to it about once a year, and each time am impressed by the songwriting. This little record has aged well, Julia!

    • Thanks for your comment, Nnox. It’s been interesting pulling this album out again after ten years. My perspective and my faith has done some serious moving since I wrote and recorded these songs, but because they are more art than dogma, I’ve been surprised to find that I still basically believe in this album.

      And that is a lot like my view of the Bible. I used to see it as inerrant, a list of historical facts and figures, a checklist for proper doctrine; and any seeming inconsistencies needed to be explained in order for the whole to be useful. Now I see it as a record of certain people and people groups’ spiritual experience of life. Reading the creation accounts in Genesis as poetry/art/myth (in the best and strongest sense of the word) instead of science or history text makes the reading more significant for me, not less. Not to mention that it makes much more sense. And so on, throughout the biblical text. (I do understand that some of the writings are meant to be historical records, but even in those cases, history was not approached the same way in those times and places as it is in my own time and place, and it helps to understand this.)

      The same with these songs – though I did write them when I was taking a literal view of the Bible, what captivated me and mostly (I think) comes through in the songs is the mythic element, the human, the struggle, the beauty, the true – and this isn’t the first time I’ve thought that if it weren’t for my love of art, poetry, song, imagination, I’m not sure I would still count myself as a person of faith.

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