Priscilla Papers was first published in January of 1987. The broader organization, Christians for Biblical Equality, followed about a year later. Thus 2017 is CBE International’s thirtieth anniversary and is being celebrated as a “Year of Jubilee.” This expanded issue of Priscilla Papers functions as part of this Jubilee celebration. In it you will find a compendium of evolving evangelical egalitarian thought stretching back to our beginning and beyond.
We have chosen to reprint six exemplary articles from years gone by. We begin as the first issue began, with an article by Kari Torjesen Malcolm. The subsequent five articles have been chosen from the several which have won accolades from the Evangelical Press Association. We are also including a piece by Rebecca Merrill Groothuis—a scholar who has long been important to CBE International and to evangelical egalitarianism. This item is included, not only because it functions as a high-quality example of a vast body of egalitarian literature, but also because it has previously existed in places where many of our readers would not see it. We offer excerpts from Groothuis’s booklet-length publication, The Feminist Bogeywoman (Baker, 1995). Our anniversary volume ends with three book reviews. The first is a review of Tara Beth Leach’s Emboldened: A Vision for Empowering Women in Ministry (InterVarsity, 2017), written by Mandy Smith. The second, written by Dorothy Greco, reviews Alice Mathews’s Gender Roles and the People of God: Rethinking What We Were Taught about Men and Women in the Church (Zondervan, 2017). Finally, Molly Kate Brannock reviews The Dictionary of Daily Life in Biblical and Post-biblical Antiquity (Hendrickson, 2014-2017).
While looking through back issues and selecting items to reprint, I browsed my own 2011 article, “What Can We Say about Phoebe?” Doing so made me think of ways that I would try to improve that article if it were to be reprinted. For example, I could have investigated the designation “sister,” which Paul uses as he introduces Phoebe at the beginning of Romans 16: “I commend to you our sister Phoebe. . . .” I mention this because I suspect the several authors whose work is in this issue would also appreciate the chance to update their work. Nevertheless, we have decided to consider the articles in this issue to be true reprints as opposed to updated revisions. Had a different person selected articles for this anniversary issue, the results would surely be quite different—one of the pleasant challenges of having so many high-quality articles from which to choose. We trust that you will value this year-ending aspect of CBE International’s Year of Jubilee.