Sophia Ashton,32 American author of The Mothers of the Bible, wrote to encourage women in their vocations as mothers. Ashton emphasized the sacred aspect of motherhood and female virtues. In the chapter of The Mothers of the Bible entitled "Sarah and Hagar," Ashton retold the intertwined stories of Sarah and Hagar, the mothers of Abraham's sons, Isaac and Ishmael.33 She interpreted all of Sarah's life in light of her calling as mother. She imagined Sarah as a mother even before the birth of Isaac and portrayed her as the mother and catechizer of the large household of Abraham. Like Hyneman, she designated Sarah as "queen."
Like Aguilar, Ashton filled in the many gaps in the biblical portrait of Sarah, calling on her readers to imagine the scenes she described. She wanted to know more about Sarah as mother and wife, and, to that end, used passages from Hebrews 11 and 1 Peter 3 to infer more about Sarah than the Genesis account allows. She also drew on the expertise of others. She used the six-volume reference work on the Bible written by the British Methodist, Dr. Adam Clarke (1760?–1832).34 Ashton plagiarized Aguilar's The Women
32 For a more complete biography of Ashton see part 1, "Eve—The Mother of Us All."
33 The sections which focus primarily on Hagar have been edited out for the purposes of
34 Adam Clarke, The Holy Bible, Containing the Old and New Testaments, according to the
Authorized Translation; with all the parallel texts and marginal readings: to which are added,
notes, and practical observations, designed as a help to a correct understanding to the sacred writings
(Liverpool, 1813). This work was republished numerous times.
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Book title: Let Her Speak for Herself: Nineteenth-Century Women Writing on the Women of Genesis. Contributors: Marion Ann Taylor - Editor, Heather E. Weir - Editor. Publisher: Baylor University Press. Place of publication: Waco, TX. Publication year: 2006. Page number: 149.
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