Women in the Story of Jesus: The Gospels through the Eyes of Nineteenth-Century Female Biblical Interpreters

Women in the Story of Jesus: The Gospels through the Eyes of Nineteenth-Century Female Biblical Interpreters

Women in the Story of Jesus: The Gospels through the Eyes of Nineteenth-Century Female Biblical Interpreters

Women in the Story of Jesus: The Gospels through the Eyes of Nineteenth-Century Female Biblical Interpreters

Synopsis

Historical female perspectives on women whose lives were changed by Jesus

This volume gathers the writings of thirty-one nineteenth-century women on the stories of women in the Gospels -- Mary and Martha, Anna, the Samaritan woman at the well, Herodias and Salome, Mary Magdalene, and more. The selected excerpts represent various literary genres, including commentaries, Scripture biographies, essays, travel diaries, children's lessons, and sermons.

Retrieving and analyzing neglected works by Christina Rossetti, Sarah Hale, Elizabeth Wordsworth, and many other nineteenth-century writers, Women in the Story of Jesus illuminates the biblical text, recovers a neglected chapter of reception history, and helps us understand and apply Scripture in our present context.

Excerpt

In his introduction to The Cambridge Companion to Biblical Interpretation, John Barton wonders if there is anything left to discover about the Bible. His answer confirms our own thinking on this question: there is not only primary research still to be done to shed light on the world of the Bible and its meaning, there is also research needed on the interpretation and reception of the Bible. Although each generation and each interpreter asked different questions and discerned different meanings from the text, important family resemblances can be traced in the way succeeding generations of interpreters heard the message of the Bible. the recent interest in the reception history of the Bible reinforces the value of listening to the variety of interpretive voices throughout history.

Women’s writings on the Bible have been the subject of increased interest in at least three academic fields over the last few decades. Literary scholars have recognized the influence of the Bible on literature and have studied the ways women interpreted the Bible in their literary output. Historians have argued that European women and men both read and interpreted biblical texts to discuss patriarchal practices. Biblical scholars have looked for women interpreters of the Bible as examples and foremothers for women working in the field today. Building on the early work of literary scholars,

1. John Barton, The Cambridge Companion to Biblical Interpretation (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 1.

2. One example of this kind of work is Patricia Demers, Women as Interpreters of the Bible (New York: Paulist Press, 1992). Examples have multiplied in the last decade.

3. See Gerda Lerner, The Creation of Feminist Consciousness: From the Middle Ages to Eighteen-Seventy (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993), particularly the chapter “One Thousand Years of Feminist Biblical Criticism,” 138–66.

4. See Marla J. Selvidge, Notorious Voices: Feminist Biblical Interpretation, 1500–1920 (New

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