Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Review: Cullen Murphy's The World According to Eve: Women and the Bible in Ancient Times and Our Own

There are parts of the Bible I tend to avoid -- and a surprising number of them involve women.

You know what I'm talking about:
  • Jephthah's sacrifice of his daughter,
  • Amnon's rape of Tamar,
  • the laws in Leviticus about women's impurity,
  • and yes, even Paul's advice that "women should be silent in church."
That's why I'm thankful for Cullen Murphy's book. In just eleven chapters, it combines an introduction to feminist theology with a discussion of the Bible's "problematic" texts about women.

And yes, this is a lot more fun than it sounds. Murphy can write -- he's worked for Vanity Fair, The Atlantic Monthly and the comic strip Prince Valiant. What's more, he's a practicing Catholic who's faith is balanced by his concern for his daughter's future in the church.

This is the kind of book you read several times, then loan out to friends. And who knows -- it may even move you to preach on some of those texts you've been avoiding.

You know -- the ones that concern roughly half the people on this planet?

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