“This was a historic breakthrough in biblical scholarship. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the great women’s rights activist, was the main editor. It’s a commentary on the Bible from a feminist perspective, published over a century ago and produced by women biblical scholars of the time. Its contributors were a small voice in the academic world and this brought their voices together. More than any other text on the oppression of women, this work had a profound influence. The contributors re-read the biblical texts in ways that detach them from sexist and patriarchal interpretation. For example, Eve is seen as the mother of wisdom. She’s the first to be curious because, as the text says, she saw that the apple was good to eat and would make her wise. Adam, of course, just takes and eats: he doesn’t need a reason. I discovered this Bible while working on the book of Esther. The way these women read that text, especially the character of Vashti, is quite profound. Vashti is the queen who Esther replaces. She’s essentially described as the first feminist, refusing to be ogled by the king and his friends at their big drinking party. She exposes their patriarchal insecurities. The Woman’s Bible tackles many other passages, such as the one that says women should be silent in church, and undermines their use. In the New Testament, Paul interacts with Junia, an apostle in the church, and a couple, Priscilla and Aquila, who were Christian missionaries. The Bible acknowledges that authoritative leaders of the early church included women. A hundred years on, it’s still well worth reading.” Read more...
The Best Versions of the Bible
Theologians & Historians of Religion