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Biblical narratives of barren wives such as Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Hannah, and the mother of Samson paint a picture of God’s sovereignty and faithfulness to fulfill promises to a burgeoning nation. In these narratives, the modern reader encounters polygyny and polycoity,1 wife rivalry, preferential treatment of certain wives and their children, and divorce, all of which are seemingly at odds with our biblical notions of marriage, divorce, and ethical treatment of others. Though scripture is mostly silent on the ramifications of barrenness, it is possible to look beyond the biblical witness to the broader ancient culture in order to understand its impact both on the women involved and society as a whole. Ancient legal, mythical, ritual, and medical records not only provide us with the broader cultural understanding of barrenness, but also, at times, mirror some of the personal and spiritual responses found in the biblical material. As a means of further understanding how this malady impacted ancient near eastern civilization, this article focuses on barrenness in legal records. Read more
Esler is emeritus professor of biblical interpretation at St Mary’s University College, Twickenham, London, and was principal of St. Mary’s when this book was published. His several books have tended to apply social-scientific approaches to NT studies. The present volume does the same for a handful of OT narrative texts. Read more
From beginning to end, the story of Ruth captures the attention of the reader. Though a story of the ebb and flow of ancient human existence—famine and death, gleaning and feasting—the story and the character of Ruth have transcended these ordinary occurrences. Ruth contains many elements that make for good story—tragedy, conflict, romance, and redemption to name a few. This gripping story causes “the emotions of the reader to fluctuate between hope and despair until the very end when what began with multiple tragedies comes to a triumphant and happy conclusion.” Perhaps the evocative nature of the story contributes to the vastly different uses of this book and the character of Ruth. Dante calls her the “gleaner-maid, meek ancestress” of David; Bunyan casts her as Christina’s youthful companion Mercy; and Milton uses Ruth as the paradigm for a virtuous young lady. Indeed, the book of Ruth continues to be one of the most beloved among the OT scriptures. In four short chapters, the author draws the reader into the ancient Israelite experience and tells a delightful story of faithfulness and redemption. When compared with OT literature containing harsh denunciations and warnings for the Israelites regarding their conduct, Ruth’s simple tale describing a time when Israelite society functioned as God intended is refreshing. Read more
In Latina Evangélicas, three Latina theologians provide new insight into the often marginalized voices of Protestant Latinas. This book speaks primarily to scholars, but has valuable content for a wider audience of students and pastors as well. Read more
This book is a wonderful collection of stories written for a young audience about girls in the Bible who dared to either speak up or work in difficult situations. The author has added beautiful fictional details to the stories so that the reader can imagine what life was like for these girls. She really gives the reader a sense of what the context was for these often-told stories.  Read more
Few of us will forget the great recession that began in 2007, when poor financial decisions in the US banking industry had a horrific impact on global markets. Six years later, analysts are concluding that better choices would have been made if more women had been involved in the decision-making. According to a TED talk by Jackie VanderBrug (cbeinternational.org/tedtalk): Read more
"Let me be clear once more. The editors of Greek New Testaments killed Junia. They killed her by silencing her into non-existence" (p. 14) . . . Such strong words are echoed throughout this short e-book from Scot McKnight, illustrating how a historical person was systematically eliminated from Bible translations. Read more
Shirley L. Barron
Lynn Cohick's extraordinarily detailed book shows us an accurate reconstruction of women's ways of life in the Greco-Roman world of the first century A.D. The book seems to be aimed toward academics and other well-informed readers . . . Cohick wishes to tell the story of average women, their life passages, opportunities, limits, joys, and sorrows. She investigates women as daughters, as mothers, as wives, as slaves, as businesspeople, as benefactors, both Jewish and Gentile, as well as those who became Christians Read more
Truly, the most striking message from James' book is that Ruth is not just a lonely woman, in the way of modern romance movies, seeking love and matrimony to complete her happiness. Marriage is not the ultimate goal. Instead, Ruth is a courageous woman, whose mission is to fulfill her vow to show hesed toward Naomi—even if it means breaking gender expectations. This is the great kindness that is spoken of in Ruth 3:10—a great kindness which is echoed in kind by Naomi and then Boaz, and culminates in a phenomenally world-changing, eternity-impacting royal family line. Read more
Jordan Easley
In Gender, Power, and Persuasion, Mignon Jacobs examines the ancient Genesis narratives with fresh insight and clarity. She weaves together both a faithful identification of key texts and a modern "multicritical" analysis of those texts. Indeed, this book is particularly relevant for egalitarians looking for different methodologies to address the gender issues of the familiar Genesis stories.  Read more

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