Biblical women reconsidered
No commentary contains the final word on the text of Scripture. Rather, our apprehension of the biblical text unfolds in depth over time as God’s Spirit grants careful readers insight so that we can see the truth of God’s word with increasing clarity. And sadly, along the way misinterpretations occur and must be corrected. We believe the Bible is inspired though our understanding remains limited to what we see through a glass darkly.
In Vindicating the Vixens a series of thoughtful biblical scholars look closely at the stories of 14 women: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, the Virgin Mary, Eve, Sarah, Hagar, Deborah, Huldah, Vashti, the woman at the well, Mary Magdalene, and Junia.
In each instance their task involves answering six questions: What does the text actually say? What do I observe in and about the text? What did this text mean to the original audience? What was the point? What truths in this text are timelessly relevant? & How does the part fit the whole?
Suffice it to say these reconsiderations of these stories suggest that some pretty shoddy interpretations have been circulating for too long in the church. Everyone will not agree at every point—not even the book’s contributor’s reach that level of agreement—but being forced to take the text of Scripture seriously is always a bracing and worthwhile experience.
Book recommended: Vindicating the Vixens: Revisiting Sexualized, Vilified, and Marginalized Women of the Bible edited by Sandra Glahn (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications; 2017) 285 pages + bibliography.