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Handbook of Women Biblical Interpreters: A Historical and Biographical Guide Hardcover – October 1, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

"An elegantly written collection of entries examining women's influential reflections on Scripture and their own female identity. Each entry provides an enticing glimpse of a woman's engagement with the biblical text and frames her contribution in its historical setting. These readings of Scripture speak afresh into our own time, enriching and invigorating our understanding of the Bible."
--Lynn H. Cohick, Wheaton College

"This exhilarating volume can justly be described as one of the finest fruits yet to be harvested from the past half century of work on women's history and women's relationships to the interpretation of the Bible from the early church to the present. Taylor has included a judicious but generous selection of women biblical interpreters; individual contributors rank among the world's experts; and the articles themselves frequently treat readers to excerpts from these women's original writings. The stories encapsulated here are by turns surprising, fascinating, wry, poignant, and heartening."
--John L. Thompson, Fuller Theological Seminary; author, Reading the Bible with the Dead

"A fascinating glimpse into the stories and writings of women across two thousand years of history. We are introduced to such diverse biblical interpreters as Elizabeth Achtemeier, Marie Guyart, Hildegard of Bingen, Julian of Norwich, Dorothy Sayers, Sojourner Truth, and Harriet Beecher Stowe. Bringing together 180 female interpreters into a single volume provides a rare gift since women's voices have often been neglected in the history of interpretation. This handbook is a unique and valuable resource for any seeking to understand Scripture by listening to the historical community of faith."
--Jeannine Brown, Bethel Seminary

"What an extraordinary, fascinating, enthralling, moving, and mind-expanding volume! This guide has achieved a vital recovery of interpretive sources and makes it clear that these interpreters must be explored and seriously considered not only by those thirsting to find women's voices but also by anyone who desires to be comprehensively informed about the true scope and history of biblical interpretation."
--John Goldingay, Fuller Theological Seminary, and Kathleen Goldingay

"To cover so many women, many of whom were silenced or forgotten, and to do so with evenness and compression is a remarkable achievement. Anyone interested in the history of biblical interpretation, preaching, and Bible teaching will find essential, captivating reading in these pages."
--Paul Scott Wilson, Emmanuel College, University of Toronto

From the Back Cover

"This handbook is a gold mine, a must for all who care about women and religion or the history of the reception of the biblical texts. Page after page, article after article I found myself riveted by what I was learning."
--Dale C. Allison Jr., Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

"This handbook is as important as it is fascinating--important for its unparalleled ability to give ear to voices long forgotten and often silenced and fascinating for the way it turns the spotlight on the difficult but spectacular story of how women have engaged the Scriptures as they worked to take their rightful places in pulpits, at lecterns, and around the tables of biblical interpretation. I found myself sometimes amazed, sometimes humbled, and often inspired."
--Joel B. Green, Fuller Theological Seminary

"This deeply researched and beautifully organized volume fills a huge gap, one which most biblical scholars and church historians never noticed was there. It yields insight into how richly and variously the Bible functioned in diverse communities from late antiquity to modern times as reflected in the lives and writings of remarkable women. The history of biblical interpretation will never look the same again."
--Ellen F. Davis, Duke Divinity School

"This most welcome handbook provides a wealth of information about an overlooked dimension of the history of biblical interpretation. The array of interpreters covered here is breathtaking. Marion Ann Taylor has made a real contribution with this expertly edited volume, which recovers and analyzes women's voices. This splendid work deserves a primary place among biblical interpretation resources and much praise for its extensive and exciting discoveries."
--Donald K. McKim, editor, Dictionary of Major Biblical Interpreters

"What a gift and an invitation this book is! For too long I have been frustrated at my own lack of knowledge about the history of women's interpretive engagement with the Bible. Marion Taylor's astonishing book changes everything. The judicious choice of women interpreters, the succinct but informative articles, and the immensely valuable bibliographies suddenly make it possible to teach and to write about women's interpretation of the Bible throughout history."
--Carol A. Newsom, Emory University

"Through pioneering and painstaking research, the Handbook of Women Biblical Interpreters brilliantly puts on display the insights and reflections of women on the most important book in the history of the world. I have been waiting eagerly for this handbook, and I will henceforth consult it frequently and with delight. All serious students of the Bible need to add it to their collection--especially those who don't think they need it."
--Timothy Larsen, Wheaton College

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Baker Academic (October 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080103356X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801033568
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.7 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,416,110 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Lynn A. Gamphor on December 7, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Not easy to find women of biblical interpreters. Joyce Baldwin I knew of as a protégé of D. J. Wiseman whose father P.J. Wiseman was an early scholar on the Babylonian genesis. Joyce was a very gracious and precise lady.
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Format: Hardcover
The study of women interpreters has regretfully been neglected in the recent interest in the history of interpretation. Often this enterprises focus on the ecclesiastical leaders whose writings have been past down. The focus on male interpreters paints an incomplete picture and is a failure to show the full voice of how Scripture has been understood throughout the ages. In the pre-modern period much of women’s influence has been lost because they did not produce formal writings but their influence should not go unnoticed.

One can think of Paula (347–404) who traveled with Jerome and set up a monastery for for women and also a hospice for travelers (400). Through the writings of Jerome we can paint a picture of her hermeneutics focusing both on the spiritual and historical meaning of Scripture. Undoubtably, Paula would have had a major influence on the women of this time in her monastery. There is also Macrina, the sister of Basil the Great and Gregory of Nyssa, who was a teacher and leader in female monasticism (338). Gregory calls her “my teacher in all these things” and her influence on him was great. Just a glimpse into the influence these women played in the history of Christianity opens our eyes to a fuller view of history.

These are just two small examples of how this handbook helps give a voice to women throughout history. It is important because many of the overviews of past interpreters of Scripture predominantly focus on male interpreters because they have had the loudest voice throughout history. This collection of entries seeks to remedy this and show the voice of women throughout history in the interpretation of Scripture.
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Format: Hardcover
Oh my goodness. I would have to say that this book is one of a kind, and I must buy it as soon as I come into some money. I can't get over how comprehensive this book is--covering pretty much every woman who has written a treatise, pamphlet, or commentary pertaining to the Bible. It's a great reference guide for those who are theologians, but for the rest of us, it's immensely fascinating, and fun. I particularly loved the history of a woman who wrote her alcoholic husband's sermons in rural England. Or maybe the story of the woman who decried the English Civil War and got shut up in prison for being a prophetess in the 17th century. Just. Get your hands on it.
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