From Library Journal
A professor of Hebrew Bible at the Divinity School at the University of Chicago, Frymer-Kensky (In the Wake of the Goddesses: Women, Culture and the Biblical Transformation of Pagan Myth) investigates biblical stories about women to ascertain why "a clearly androcentric text from a patriarchal society" has "so many stories that revolve around women." Deliberately omitting a few prominent women (e.g., Eve and Miriam), Frymer-Kensky focuses on four groups of women: the victors, the victims, the virgins, and those with voice (prophecy, necromancy). She finds that "[c]ontrary to all assumptions...the Hebrew Bible, unlike other ancient literature, does not present any ideas about women as the `Other.' The role of woman is clearly subordinate, but the Hebrew Bible does not `explain' or justify this subordination by portraying women as different or inferior." The author argues that the Hebrew Bible's notion of women as subordinate but not inferior became a paradigm for Israel's understanding of its own subjugation by other nations. Although the book occasionally employs sophisticated terminology, its main arguments about the biblical presentation of women are accessible to educated lay people as well as to religious specialists. Highly recommended for academic and public libraries. Carolyn M. Craft, Longwood Univ., Farmville, VA
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"A welcome book, engagingly written. It is a valuable contribution to the growing bibliography of feminist biblical interpretation."
--Dr. Phyllis Trible, University Professor, Wake Forest University Divinity School
"Frymer-Kensky has applied her expertise in the culture and traditions of the ancient Near East to the Hebrew Bible, with remarkable results: Reading the Women of the Bible
contains new insights and brilliant analyses, and a whole set of creative syntheses. This book has much to say about and to women of every era and age, but its spirit, scope, and breadth go beyond any generic limits: men--perhaps even more than women--can and should learn much from it, both about the Bible and the women in it."
--David Noel Freedman, Professor of Hebrew Biblical Studies, University of California, San Diego, and editor-in-chief, The Anchor Bible
"Frymer-Kensky presents the women of the Hebrew Bible freshly and brilliantly, bringing to her study a profound mastery of the literatures and cultures of the lands surrounding the Bible. Here is biblical interpretation that eliminates much of the distance between the text and the reader: These stories illuminate the themes and dangers, hopes and fears, that are characteristic of human life anywhere and at any time. And the entire work is presented in a style and with a grace that delight the eye, the ear, and the heart."
--Dr. Walter Harrelson, Vanderbilt University
"A major voice in feminist reading of the Hebrew Bible, Frymer-Kensky advances our understanding of the gender issues in the Bible by proposing a fresh and suggestive taxonomy of four discourses concerning women. Her persuasive power rests upon her immense capacity to read texts carefully and discerningly. Reading the Women of the Bible
lets us move back and forth between ancient text and contemporary gender issues in a generative way--a most welcome and important read!&quo...