cover image Eve Isn’t Evil: Feminist Readings of the Bible to Upend Our Assumptions

Eve Isn’t Evil: Feminist Readings of the Bible to Upend Our Assumptions

Julie Faith Parker. Baker Academic, $22.99 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-1-5409-6539-4

Parker (Valuable and Vulnerable), a visiting scholar at Union Theological Seminary, tackles scripture from a broad-thinking, feminist perspective in this impassioned outing. Interweaving close scriptural analysis and personal anecdotes, the author reframes Eve as “a curious seeker of knowledge who yearns to understand ethics so she can make her way in the world”; Rahab, a prostitute often valorized by biblical scholars for sheltering Israelite spies, as a victim of “male conquest”; and—with the help of an astutely retranslated Hebrew passage—Job’s wife as a woman who “understands her partner’s unwavering faith” rather than the “unthinking fool” she’s often deemed. Parker spends most time on the Hebrew Bible, though a chapter titled “My Favorite Feminist Jew” argues that Jesus treated women as “full people who deserve as much respect as men, which... is the heart of feminism.” Elsewhere, the author provides an especially welcome reassessment of sexual and gender diversity in scripture. Enriched by snippets of autobiography—including discussions of the sexism Parker has encountered in professional settings and as a pastor—these interpretations build a persuasive case that the Bible is a complex and flexible text that need not be antithetical to feminism (“Like Eve, we can question and engage what we... discover through the Word of God”). This smart and impressive analysis will take its place beside such works as Beth Barr’s The Making of Biblical Womanhood. (Sept.)

Correction: An earlier version of this review misidentified the author’s current academic institution.