Whispering the Word: Hearing Women's Stories in the Old Testament

Jacqueline E. Lapsley, Author . Westminster John Knox $19.95 (154p) ISBN 978-0-664-22435-6

Lapsley, who teaches at Princeton Theological Seminary, explores four Old Testament stories that feature women. In her discussion of Rachel's confrontation with Laban, found in the book of Genesis, she shows that Rachel's words for menstruation and "the way of women" can be interpreted as social critique. Lapsley then turns her attention to Judges 19–21, chapters that depict disturbing violence against women, arguing persuasively that the narrator didn't approve of rape and dismemberment, but rather wanted to show that violence toward women leads to widespread violence writ large, and that this domino effect requires a theological response. In the story of Moses' mother and sister saving baby Moses from death, Lapsley finds a portrait of women's values, and in a final discussion of the book of Ruth, Lapsley argues that Naomi is a woman "shaking a fist... at God for the injustices of the world." Lapsley's readings not only draw attention to the words and experiences of biblical heroines, but also model suggestive strategies for interpreting other biblical texts. Although this innovative book will be read mainly by academics, Lapsley's introduction—in which she explains the basics of feminist biblical interpretation—is so lucid that any interested readers will be able to follow along. (Dec.)

Reviewed on: 10/10/2005
Release date: 01/01/2006
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 168 pages - 978-1-61164-443-2
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