Catherine Hunt Putnam30 was an American writer whose son, George Putnam, owned the firm that published Mrs. Ellet's Family Pictures from the Bible. In writing The Gospel by Moses in the Book of Genesis; or, The Old Testament Unveiled (1854), Putnam aimed to recover a spiritual sense of Genesis through typology. In her preface to the volume, Putnam claimed that she did not read this spiritual sense into the text, but discovered it within the text. She used three categories to discuss Genesis. "The Letter" gave the verses to be considered; under "Note," she gave an explanation of the spiritual sense of the Genesis passage. "The Spirit" listed other scripture verses that complemented her spiritual reading of Genesis.
Putnam knew that readers might find her interpretation troublesome. She asked them "to lay aside preconceived notions, and look into these things in the spirit of candid inquiry," and so discover "that many a scripture whose dead letter yielded nothing to their perception but barren historic detail, is really a 'well of salvation,' out of which they may draw 'living water'""John 4:11–13".31 Putnam's book was the result of thirty years of study, so she asked readers not to be too hasty in their judgment, as she had not been hasty in drawing her conclusions.
Putnam interpreted Abraham as a type of Christ and Sarah as a type of the church. This interpretation allowed her to read the wife-sister story in Genesis 12 in an entirely different way. She disregarded the historical sense
30 For a more complete biography of Putnam, see part 1, "Eve—The Mother of Us All."
31 Catherine Putnam, The Gospel by Moses in the Book of Genesis; or, the Old Testament
Unveiled (New York: Edward H. Fletcher, 1854), xi.