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Handbook of Women Biblical Interpreters: A Historical and Biographical Guide

Marion Ann Taylor, Agnes Choi

The history of women interpreters of the Bible is a neglected area of study. Marion Taylor presents a one-volume reference tool that introduces readers to a wide array of women interpreters of the Bible from the entire history of Christianity. Her research has implications for understanding biblical interpretation–especially the history of interpretation–and influencing contemporary study of women and the Bible. Contributions by 130 top scholars introduce foremothers of the faith who address issues of interpretation that continue to be relevant to faith communities today, such as women’s roles in the church and synagogue and the idea of religious feminism. Women’s interpretations also raise awareness about differences in the ways women and men may read the Scriptures in light of differences in their life experiences.

This handbook will prove useful to ministers as well as to students of the Bible, who will be inspired, provoked, and challenged by the women introduced here. The volume will also provide a foundation for further detailed research and analysis.

Interpreters include Elizabeth Rice Achtemeier, Saint Birgitta of Sweden, Catherine Mumford Booth, Anne Bradstreet, Catherine of Siena, Clare of Assisi, Egeria, Elizabeth I, Hildegard, Julian of Norwich, Thérèse of Lisieux, Marcella, Henrietta C. Mears, Florence Nightingale, Phoebe Palmer, Faltonia Betitia Proba, Pandita Ramabai, Christina Georgina Rossetti, Dorothy Leigh Sayers, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Harriet Beecher Stowe, St. Teresa of Avila, Sojourner Truth, and Susanna Wesley.

Published by Bakker Academic in 2012

Chapters for “Katharine Bushnell” (pp. 100-103) and “Lee Anna Starr” (pp. 473-475).

From the Inside Flap

“An elegantly written collection of entries examining women’s influential reflections on Scripture and their own female identity. Each entry provides an enticing glimpse of a woman’s engagement with the biblical text and frames her contribution in its historical setting. These readings of Scripture speak afresh into our own time, enriching and invigorating our understanding of the Bible.”
Lynn H. Cohick, Wheaton College

“This exhilarating volume can justly be described as one of the finest fruits yet to be harvested from the past half century of work on women’s history and women’s relationships to the interpretation of the Bible from the early church to the present. Taylor has included a judicious but generous selection of women biblical interpreters; individual contributors rank among the world’s experts; and the articles themselves frequently treat readers to excerpts from these women’s original writings. The stories encapsulated here are by turns surprising, fascinating, wry, poignant, and heartening.”
John L. Thompson, Fuller Theological Seminary; author, Reading the Bible with the Dead

“A fascinating glimpse into the stories and writings of women across two thousand years of history. We are introduced to such diverse biblical interpreters as Elizabeth Achtemeier, Marie Guyart, Hildegard of Bingen, Julian of Norwich, Dorothy Sayers, Sojourner Truth, and Harriet Beecher Stowe. Bringing together 180 female interpreters into a single volume provides a rare gift since women’s voices have often been neglected in the history of interpretation. This handbook is a unique and valuable resource for any seeking to understand Scripture by listening to the historical community of faith.”
Jeannine Brown, Bethel Seminary

“What an extraordinary, fascinating, enthralling, moving, and mind-expanding volume! This guide has achieved a vital recovery of interpretive sources and makes it clear that these interpreters must be explored and seriously considered not only by those thirsting to find women’s voices but also by anyone who desires to be comprehensively informed about the true scope and history of biblical interpretation.”
John Goldingay, Fuller Theological Seminary, and Kathleen Goldingay

“To cover so many women, many of whom were silenced or forgotten, and to do so with evenness and compression is a remarkable achievement. Anyone interested in the history of biblical interpretation, preaching, and Bible teaching will find essential, captivating reading in these pages.”
Paul Scott Wilson, Emmanuel College, University of Toronto

From the Back Cover

“This handbook is a gold mine, a must for all who care about women and religion or the history of the reception of the biblical texts. Page after page, article after article I found myself riveted by what I was learning.”
Dale C. Allison Jr., Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

“This handbook is as important as it is fascinating–important for its unparalleled ability to give ear to voices long forgotten and often silenced and fascinating for the way it turns the spotlight on the difficult but spectacular story of how women have engaged the Scriptures as they worked to take their rightful places in pulpits, at lecterns, and around the tables of biblical interpretation. I found myself sometimes amazed, sometimes humbled, and often inspired.”
Joel B. Green, Fuller Theological Seminary

“This deeply researched and beautifully organized volume fills a huge gap, one which most biblical scholars and church historians never noticed was there. It yields insight into how richly and variously the Bible functioned in diverse communities from late antiquity to modern times as reflected in the lives and writings of remarkable women. The history of biblical interpretation will never look the same again.”
Ellen F. Davis, Duke Divinity School

“This most welcome handbook provides a wealth of information about an overlooked dimension of the history of biblical interpretation. The array of interpreters covered here is breathtaking. Marion Ann Taylor has made a real contribution with this expertly edited volume, which recovers and analyzes women’s voices. This splendid work deserves a primary place among biblical interpretation resources and much praise for its extensive and exciting discoveries.”
Donald K. McKim, editor, Dictionary of Major Biblical Interpreters

“What a gift and an invitation this book is! For too long I have been frustrated at my own lack of knowledge about the history of women’s interpretive engagement with the Bible. Marion Taylor’s astonishing book changes everything. The judicious choice of women interpreters, the succinct but informative articles, and the immensely valuable bibliographies suddenly make it possible to teach and to write about women’s interpretation of the Bible throughout history.”
Carol A. Newsom, Emory University

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