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

Introduction

All writers must go from now to once upon a time; all must go from here to
there; all must descend to where the stories are kept; all must take care not
to be captured and held immobile by the past. And all must commit acts of
larceny, or else of reclamation, depending how you look at it. The dead may
guard the treasure, but it's useless treasure unless it can be brought back into
the land of the living and allowed to enter time once more–which means to
enter the realm of the audience, the realm of the readers, the realm of change.

∼Margaret Atwood1

Biblical scholars must bring out hidden treasure from interpreters long ignored and forgotten by the academy. A significant number of Englishspeaking women published works of biblical interpretation in the nineteenth century. Most of these women's writings have been forgotten; their voices are no longer heard. Until now, these important texts have been overlooked by most academic reconsiderations of the religious life and theological education of nineteenth-century Britons and Americans. The time has come to let these women reenter time and speak for themselves.

The recovery of women's lost writings is important because these works invite us to reconsider both the roles women played in the religious life of their communities and the influence such women had both on other women and men through their roles as educators and scriptural interpreters. These writings shed light on women's culture in the nineteenth century and provide important data on women's roles in society and in the church. They give witness to the variety of approaches and literary genres used by women interpreters. They contain lost exegetical traditions and insights of women and offer remarkable examples of gendered exegesis as women read the Bible through

1 Margaret Atwood, Negotiating with the Dead: A Writer on Writing (Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 2002), 178–79.

-1-

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