David Jordan, November 6, 2014 (view all comments by David Jordan)
This is an enormously enjoyable book for anyone who is interested in learning about the journey of a conservative Christian woman in the American south who goes from biblical literalist to thoughtful progressive with a simple experiment: attempt to follow Scripture's instructions for women word-for-word. The result is amusing, even hilarious, as the author attempts to navigate the difficulties of becoming a "biblical woman" in contemporary evangelical culture. This is a very encouraging and thoughtful treatment of what it means to be a faithful Christian woman in the midst of a Christian culture that is confused about its identity, especially where women are concerned. Highly recommended.
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I recant! This is a really excellent book, not very cute but very engaging and sometimes funny, that deconstructs cults of "scriptural womanhood" with a kindly, respectful, and illuminating eye to biblical scholarship, multi-faith perspectives, and cultural anthropologies.
As one who has recently learned classical Hebrew, I was very pleased with Held Evans's use and explanation of terms in the Hebrew Bible. It is oddly novel of her to notice that claims about what scripture enjoins are best considered through original-language text-- and her consultation with Jewish women, a Israeli rabbi's wife in particular, is very welcome, yet proportioned to be palatable for readers who typically find scholarship a snooze.
As one who was raised as a liberal Christian, I equaly appreciate Held Evans's explanation of assumptions common to conservative Protestantism-- both her gentle descriptions and her treatment of them as options.
And it was a treat to read accounts of Held Evans's ventures into and toward faith-cultures that aren't hers, including not only practicing Judaism but Anabaptism and quiverful groups. Treating the woman she met and who offered her hospitality as equals who find things of value in their practices and seeking to understand that value takes the reader into interesting territory, largely new to me, without distasteful snark.
This is a treasure of a book for those interested in thinking about (or practicing) roles and duties assigned or granted to women in the Bible or today's United States. And it has much to offer readers of all sorts of faith and faith experience.
Jennifer Short, March 27, 2013 (view all comments by Jennifer Short)
This is one of the funniest books I've ever read. The author tackles a different "female" virtue of the Bible each month for a year, not taking into account how customs may have changed. She camps out during her "unclean" time of the month as not to defile objects in her home, she learns to be gentle which isn't easy during football season, and her attempts at making her own clothing are just downright hilarious!
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