This week’s Summer Links is all about resources! Something that keeps surfacing in discussions is the need for more complete and accurate teaching about women in the bible. So here are three books from our personal bookshelf and two web links to help meet that need. Hopefully you’ll find them as helpful as we have!
Oh, and don’t forget to enter the Junia Project Blog Contest which ends Monday, August 25!
From Kate’s Bookshelf
Reclaiming Eve: The Identity and Calling of Women in the Kingdom of God by Suzanne Burden, Carla Sunberg, and Jamie Wright
From the Back Cover: “Inferior. Second-best. Marginalized. Christian women often view themselves negatively and feel that no matter how hard they try, they are never good enough. Reclaiming Eve sets the record straight. Tucked into the pages of Scripture is a blueprint for women that sets them free to serve Christ alongside their brothers, as full persons in building God’s Kingdom.”
Favorite Quote: “A closer study, and even a stroll through Eve’s lengthy Wikipedia page, revealed a troublesome reality: throughout Christian history, Eve was often seen as a temptress. A Sexual Temptress. This led many church fathers to express the view that women couldn’t be trusted, that they were a danger waiting to happen…More troubling to me than the disparaging comments casting Eve as a bad girl was the complete lack of scriptural support to back them up. We’ve got Eve issues, all right, but it’s not the Bible’s fault.”
I was inspired to read this book because my friend Dr. Carla Sunberg is one of the authors. On top of being the new President of Nazarene Theological Seminary, she’s pretty much the coolest person alive.
Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus: How the Jewishness of Jesus Can Transform Your Faith by Ann Spangler and Lois Tverberg
From the back cover: “What would it feel like to sit at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus, sensing his power and learning firsthand about his kingdom? By immersing yourself in the culture, customs, prayers, and feasts of first-century Jews, you can enrich your own understanding of the Bible and of Jesus – drawing near to the greatest of all rabbis.”
Favorite Quote so far: “Wouldn’t you love to have joined the boisterous crowd in Martha’s house that evening? To have sat with Mary and those incredibly fortunate disciples who were able to travel with Jesus, to listen to him and learn from him for the three years of his public ministry? What would it have been like to have been counted among Jesus’ closest friends? To have him stay at your house whenever he was in town?”
This book has proven to be a great mixture of scholarship and readability, which makes it perfect for group study.
From Gail’s Bookshelf
Back to the Well: Women’s Encounters with Jesus in the Gospels by Frances Taylor Gench
From the Back Cover: “Exploring six Gospel texts in which women encounter Jesus, Gench examines each story’s language, structure, and literary and sociocultural context, and recounts many traditional and contemporary interpretations. In the process, she opens up new possibilities for reading these texts.”
Favorite Quote: Gench writes about the Canaanite Woman, the hemorrhaging woman and Jairus’s daughter, Martha and Mary, the Samaritan Woman, the woman accused of adultery, and the bent woman in the synagogue. “A Bent Woman, Daughter of Abraham” was my favorite chapter by far. The biblical narrative tells of a severely crippled woman who shows up where Jesus is teaching.
“Interestingly, her eighteen years of suffering have not enervated her spirituality, for she makes her way to the synagogue on the sabbath. We are not told that she has come in search of miraculous healing, and we must presume that she has come simply to worship God. Indeed, Jesus takes all the initiative in her restoration: ‘When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, ‘Woman, you are set free from your ailment” (v. 12)…Jesus is represented as taking note of her presence, interrupting his teaching, and calling her forward from the margins to the center of the worshipping community” (pp. 86-87).
One of the things I appreciated is that Gench critiques both the feminist and traditional interpretations she presents, leaving me space to consider which aspects would be consistent with my evangelical view of scripture.
Encyclopedia/Jewish Woman’s Archives – Research well-known women like Abigail and lesser-known women like the Wise Woman of Abel Beth Maacah. Add the word “Bible” after the name for better search results. Entries are written by both Jewish and Christian scholars and are well-referenced.
Priscilla Papers Academic Journal – Free for members of Christians for Bible Equality. If you haven’t joined CBE subscribe here to get access to hundreds of articles like these on Anna, Abigail, and Junia. (There are also plenty of free articles to get you started.)
Please SHARE these resources with your pastor and other church staff or friends who teach, preach, or just enjoy studying the Bible. See you next week!
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