Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.82 shipping
Born of a Woman: A Bishop Rethinks the Virgin Birth and the Treatment of Women by a Male-Dominated Church Paperback – September 17, 1994
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
From Library Journal
Spong, an Episcopal bishop and best-selling author ( Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism , HarperSanFrancisco: HarperCollins, 1991), provides a courageous look at the biblical stories of the birth of Jesus, and their implications. Spong is careful to acknowledge previous scholars and to distinguish fact or knowledge from speculation. He encourages a midrashish or imaginative approach to the Gospels and points out how literalism of scripture and creed in the Virgin Mary references led to sexism in church teaching. This book is a marvelous combination of scholarly, speculative, and imaginative reflection written in language accessible to the theologically unsophisticated. Highly recommended.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“How a one-sided portrayal of the Mother of God has been used to keep real women under wraps.” (Clarissa Pinkola Estés, author of Women Who Run With the Wolves)
“Spong restores a flesh-and-blood humanity to the mother of Jesus.” (Ron Hansen, author of Mariette in Ecstasy)
“A marvelous combination of scholarly, speculative, and imaginative reflection written in language accessible to the theologically unsophisticated. Highly recommended.” (Library Journal)
If you buy a new print edition of this book (or purchased one in the past), you can buy the Kindle edition for only $2.99 (Save 68%). Print edition purchase must be sold by Amazon. Learn more.
For thousands of qualifying books, your past, present, and future print-edition purchases now lets you buy the Kindle edition for $2.99 or less. (Textbooks available for $9.99 or less.)
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
Born of a Woman re-examines the birth narratives in scripture. Rather than debunking them as inconsistent or trying to explain how the different stories can be reconciled as literally true, he takes a different track. What deep truth made these images and symbols appropriate to express them? What were the writers using as their source or inspiration if not the historical facts? Rather than seeing prophecies fulfilled in the literal way that is often assumed, he looks at the fulfillment in a different way: Early Christians were Jews and used their own culture and history to interpret the Christ experience. How else would they process something so overwhelming and life changing?
If you are a litteralist who fears having your safe and familiar world shaken up, it's not for you. If you have been a litteralist and your world is already shaken, then this may be a place to find something to hold on to... a way to see the scriptures through new eyes, and still value them as true in a way you never considered.
If you are not a litteralist but want to find real meaning in the scriptures and are not always sure how they could be seen as real or relevant then his work is for you. He goes into depth on details I never noticed, and does so in an interesting and readable way.
His work is for Christians who do not always feel comfortable with Church, and wish there was a place where they wouldn't feel that their thoughts are not within Church 'doctrine'( and might not be welcome to express out loud). His work may also be a starting point for people who describe themselves as 'spiritual' but are not sure how such an ancient book can be read as honest and meaningful in the modern world.
If you ever thought the Bible was dull or illogical, or if you are an atheist and want to understand how any rational modern person could take something like the Bible seriously, this is for you.
Many readers would like this, some would hate it. By this time you probably know if you would hate it. If you are not in that group, then you might like it even more than you expect. That was my first experience with Spong; I wouldn't have paid (ANY) money for a "religious" book but it was at the library and had a catchy title. I was hooked!
On pg.51, regarding Paul’s statement about God exalting Jesus after his death on the cross, Spong writes: “This adoption of Jesus ... into God was the first and original form in which divine sonship for Jesus was claimed by Christian people. This is primitive Christianity.... The implication of God’s adoption is that Jesus becomes God’s Son when the adoption, or exaltation, occurred. The divine sonship claim for Jesus appears originally to have been tied to Easter as the moment of exaltation rather than to Jesus’ birth, and certainly not to his conception.”
The gospel of John, however, with its prologue (John 1:1): “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” soon took over the birth narratives and as Spong writes on pg. 167, “became the incarnate Word and the preexistent Lord who was born to the virgin Mary by the impregnation of the Holy Spirit.”
“Born of a Woman” is filled with Bishop Spong’s easy-to-read thoughts and comparisons, often in soaring prose. There is so much more to say about this book, which is one of my all-time favorite “quest” books, but I wanted to include a few quotations that I thought were particularly cogent.
According to Spong, I will now call myself a “realist” because he says that realists “are the ones who know that the heart cannot finally worship what the mind has already rejected” (pg. 176). Oh, Amen to that!!
What a writer! What a man! As a fellow Episcopalian, who wonders how much longer I can call myself “Christian” according to many in my church, we need more brave and vocal clergy like Bishop Spong!!!! Before I finish my quest for what I believe in, I plan to read ALL of Spong’s books (among others, of course).
Examining both the infancy narratives of Luke and Matthew, as well as discussing the comparative virgin birth traditions as they would have been understood by someone hearing the gospels in the 2nd century CE, Spong makes a case that the virgin birth is far more allegorical and symbolic than historical - and that if it isn't historical, it does not change the fundamental message of Christianity.
Following past that discussion, Spong examines the role of women in the church - both early and modern. The elements of Elisabeth and Mary, as well as Anna and the historical Jewish women in the geneologies are examined for their symbolic meaning to someone intimately familiar with the scriptures.
All in all, a fascinating read by a fascinating author.