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In  the  book  of  Esther,  two  extraordinary  women  leaders, Queen  Vashti  and  her successor, Esther, confronted the patriarchal palace system, eventually acting as power brokers on behalf of themselves and others. 

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This article originated as a paper that I presented at the Pacific Coast Region/Society of Biblical Literature meeting, New Testament Epistles and Apocalypse Section, at St. Mary’s College, Moraga, California, in March 2002. I wish to focus here on the distinctive theology of Hebrews and how it relates to gender equality.

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Introduction

My field of research is Adolf von Harnack’s hypothesis that Priscilla is the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews.1 I argue for the theory. There are two main objections to the Priscilla theory that I want to state and refute in order to assure its plausibility.

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Esther shows us that leadership is responsiveness to God and to those who are hurting. It is a readiness to self-sacrifice, and it has everything to do with character, intimacy with God, and closeness to those who are vulnerable.

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Was Priscilla one of the most successful teachers, evangelists, and writers in the early church? A survey of Priscilla’s ministry in Rome, Corinth, and Ephesus reveals a woman whose abilities and life’s circumstances beg the question: Was it Priscilla who wrote Hebrews?

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It wasn’t until 2017 that TIME Magazine honored women silence breakers as their “Person of the Year.” Truth be told, women have been breaking the silence on abuse and harassment for centuries. They have often been God’s hands of compassion and liberation, working to expose evil and topple systems of oppression.

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The book of Esther tells the story of a Jewish woman who rises from obscurity into the royal court as the new queen of King Xerxes. This narrative includes models of leadership that could not be more different from each other.

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Apollos was an impressive speaker; he was eloquent, knowledgeable, fervent, and bold. Priscilla and her husband, Aquila were in a synagogue in Ephesus one Sabbath,[1] listening to him speak about Jesus when they noticed something lacking in his message. Apollos did not know about Christian baptism.

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If you’ve spent any time in church (or in the New Testament text) you’ve heard of the famous couple, Priscilla and Aquila.

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Oral tradition is important for an egalitarian understanding of the Bible—its origins, development, nature, and relevance—because women were among the key players in this stage of the Bible’s development.

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