From Publishers Weekly
In this brief and engaging work on Jesus' interactions with Mary and Martha of Bethany, Olson shows her chops as a professor of biblical studies (she teaches at Brigham Young University), paying very close attention to the gospel texts. She begins with the famous story of Mary of Bethany sitting at Jesus' feet, listening to him teach, while her sister Martha bustled about and was "cumbered about much serving." But Mary, Olson cautions, did not choose the "better" part by eschewing housework for study, but rather "that good part." Neither path is better than the other, Olson says; for both women, one thing was needed: to fully embrace truth and serve Christ. Olson contextualizes the story with first-century customs and religious observations, relating it to other narratives about Lazarus's death and resurrection as well as Mary's controversial anointing of Jesus with spikenard. Olson mixes the biblical explorations with stories from her own life, including her relationship with her grandmother (who comes across as at once tender and formidable). Although this book is intended for an audience of Mormon women and draws occasionally on the Book of Mormon and the teachings of LDS leaders, it deserves a wider readership for its fresh and thoughtful rendering of familiar New Testament stories. (Apr.)
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About the Author
Camille Fronk Olson, associate professor of ancient scripture at Brigham Young University, served as dean of students at LDS Business College before joining the BYU religion faculty in 1993. She earned a master's degree in Near Eastern Studies and a Ph.D. in sociology of the Middle East from Brigham Young Univiersity and has published numerous articles and chapters in various compilations. She has served on the Young Women General Board and Teacher Development Curriculum Committee for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.