cover image Nobody’s Mother: Artemis of the Ephesians in Antiquity and the New Testament

Nobody’s Mother: Artemis of the Ephesians in Antiquity and the New Testament

Sandra L. Glahn. IVP Academic, $24 trade paper (208p) ISBN 978-1-5140-0592-7

In this fine-grained analysis of the gospel’s view on women’s religious roles, Glahn (Vindicating the Vixens), a professor of media arts and worship at the Dallas Theological Seminary, meticulously dissects a passage in which the apostle Paul seems to imply that women should be “saved through childbearing” rather than seek to provide spiritual instruction. As a woman who’d suffered through eight harrowing pregnancy losses and three failed adoption attempts, the author “needed to know” whether her gift for Bible instruction was unusable because she’d “failed to do the very thing for which I was created.” The short answer is a resounding no; the long answer is found in Glahn’s extensive research into Artemis, a goddess worshipped in Ephesus, the ancient Greek town where Timothy—the recipient of Paul’s letter—resided. Glahn proposes that Artemis was a midwife goddess thought to usher women through the perils of childbirth; in writing that women would be “saved” through childbearing, Paul assured Timothy that new Christian converts would likewise be carried through the process of conversion by their faith in Jesus. Mining an impressive wealth of research, including artifacts, Ephesian inscriptions, and literature from the likes of Homer and Pliny the Elder, Glahn makes an exacting case that Paul’s words described a “specific time-bound situation”—debunking interpretations tying women to childbirth and barring them from church leadership for subsequent generations. It’s a rigorous and much needed reassessment of a passage long used to silence women in the church. (Oct.)