Customer Review

151 of 173 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Vulnerable, Creative, and Engaging Book, October 16, 2012
This review is from: A Year of Biblical Womanhood: How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on Her Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband "Master" (Paperback)
There are three things that stand out to me about this book:

1. There is nothing written in it that deviates from pre-existing evangelical Christian scholarship from an egalitarian perspective.

2. Rachel's project and book provide a creative and engaging point of entry into this difficult and controversial subject matter.

3. The writing is superb and vulnerable. My wife is quite critical of nonfiction books, and she loved it. I can't offer a better endorsement than hers!

In the days to come you're going to hear a lot of folks who are critical about Rachel's methods and conclusions, and I'd like to address both of them.

For starters, the method of the project struck me as a tool for both personally engaging with the relevant scriptures and for organizing the book as a whole. If you read the book, you'll find that she's simply trying to relate to all of the different ways that evangelicals have defined "biblical womanhood." She interviewed people from a variety of perspectives and dug deep into quite a bit of research that she tactfully weaves throughout the book. One moment you're laughing about the powdered sugar she burned on top of her apple pie and the next minute she's explaining the different historical interpretations of Proverbs 31 and the Hebrew behind it.

She uses the project's method as a way to help her both empathize with different perspectives and to deepen her reflections. In all fairness, the method of the project is also a clever way to market the book, but if that's all you see, then you're missing out.

As to Rachel's conclusions, I don't say this as a critique, but there's really nothing all that new in this book. You can dig up plenty of evangelical scholars who say that exact same thing as her. The beauty of this book is that Rachel makes the work of these scholars extremely accessible and personal. She is never flip or irreverent with her use of scripture, and throughout the pages you can sense the tensions caused by the Bible throughout her life. She lives the tension of which verses we choose to apply literally and which we chalk up to cultural differences.

Overall, the genius of Rachel's writing is that she can make complex theology both easy to understand and extremely personal. She opens up her life to readers in this book and shares her struggles with the theology behind biblical womanhood. That she's made so many care about our presuppositions about the roles of women is a tribute to her vulnerability, skill as a writer, and creativity.

NOTE: I received an advanced readers copy of this book to review.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 7, 2012 9:13:39 AM PST
T. Turner says:
"She uses the project's method as a way to help her both empathize with different perspectives and to deepen her reflections."

The problem is that she so clearly misunderstands or misrepresents the different perspectives in question and her book does little more than mock them.

Posted on Nov 18, 2012 6:26:49 PM PST
[Deleted by the author on Dec 23, 2012 4:06:15 PM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 26, 2012 7:36:14 PM PST
Steve Thomas says:
Devoting a year of your life to making significantly disrupting changes in your lifestyle is a large investment. This book sounded like a "no saint like an old sinner" diatribe.

I don't invite insurance peddlers and multilevel marketers into my home, and I certainly don't want to invite fervid missionaries into my brain. I'm not sold on reading this book - but by pointing out that she hasn't drunk the grape Lik-M-Ade, you've gone along way to making me willing to invest a few pennies and some priceless hours with this author.

Thanks for having the courage to post your insights; you've said a lot with a few words.

Posted on Apr 29, 2013 2:31:26 PM PDT
Good Words says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]
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