cover image Really Bad Girls of the Bible

Really Bad Girls of the Bible

Liz Curtis Higgs. Waterbrook Press, $13.99 (288pp) ISBN 978-1-57856-126-1

Despite the title's italicized intensifier, this sequel to Higg's 1999 bestseller Bad Girls of the Bible profiles many kinds of women, not just bottom-feeding femme fatales. In fact, Higgs does such a remarkable job telling their stories that many of the Good Book's ""bad girls"" become downright sympathetic. There are the ""Bad for a Reason"" kinds-characters like Jael, who gamely drove a tent peg through the head of an enemy of Israel. Higgs also looks at the ""bad, but Not Condemned,"" including the hemorrhaging woman who was healed by touching Jesus' garment (though Higgs never adequately explains what, if anything, that woman did to merit ""bad girl"" opprobrium). ""Bad Moon Rising"" characters include the seductive bathing beauty Bethsheba, while Jezebel's nasty daughter, Athaliah, and Herod's wife, Herodius, are ""Bad and Proud of It."" Higgs first fictionalizes each woman's story, using a contemporary protagonist and an American setting for each vignette, then explores the biblical narrative with detailed line-by-line explications and characteristic side-splitting humor. Higgs is a refreshingly astute biblical commentator, challenging the widespread believe, for example, that Salome was a nubile adult temptress-Higgs shows quite convincingly that the dancing Salome was probably only a prepubescent pawn in the hands of her powerful mother, who wanted John the Baptist's head on a platter. Throughout, Higgs ably points readers to ""good girl"" tips they can apply from the Bible's cautionary tales. (Sept.)