Let Her Speak for Herself: Nineteenth-Century Women Writing on the Women of Genesis

By Marion Ann Taylor; Heather E. Weir | Go to book overview

Preface

The headless woman on the cover reminds us that history has forgotten women who interpreted the Bible. This book is part of the long process of recovering the voice of women interpreters. The idea for the book began with a question.

A few years ago, when Marion Taylor was teaching a class on the History of Old Testament scholarship, a student asked if she could do her term paper on a significant woman in the field of Old Testament studies. Taylor's initial response was to suggest a number of twentieth-century women who had made a significant contribution to the field. The focus of the course, however, was biblical studies in the nineteenth century, and Taylor was left wondering about women interpreters before the second half of the twentieth century. Donald K. McKim's Historical Handbook of Major Biblical Interpreters did not help in her quest.1 Of the 101 individuals covered in McKim's book only two twentieth-century women (Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza and Phyllis Trible) were included. McKim recognized the omission of women and non-Western interpreters in his introduction and invited others to supplement his volume by producing additionally needed resources.

Taylor's search for women interpreters continued. She was convinced that women had read and interpreted the Scriptures throughout history and that some records of women's interpretations must exist, although women's voices were never included in any courses or readings she had done as an Old Testament scholar, specializing in the history of interpretation. She found that other women had recognized the gap in knowledge of women interpreters of scripture. Patricia Demers examined women interpreters as an English scholar.3 However, Demers's book is quite short and her own engagement

1 Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 1998.

2 McKim, x.

-xv-

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