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Priscilla Papers

Book Review: Dictionary of Daily Life in Biblical and Post-Biblical Antiquity

The four-volume Dictionary of Daily Life in Biblical and Post-Biblical Antiquity (DDL) provides a well-rounded overview of life not only across time periods but also across the several cultures of the biblical world. Thirty-three scholars, including editors Edwin M. Yamauchi (Professor Emeritus of History at Miami University) and Marvin R. Wilson (Professor of Biblical and Theological Studies at Gordon College), have contributed to the DDL.

Book Review: Gender Roles and the People of God

Theologian and author Alice Mathews recently said in a Christianity Today interview with Hannah Anderson, “Satan knows that if he can keep women out of service, in the church and in the world, he will have won an enormous victory.” Mathews’s most recent book, Gender Roles and the People of God, takes back some of the territory gained by the enemy.

Book Review: Emboldened: A Vision for Empowering Women in Ministry

Walter Brueggemann dedicates his seminal work, The Prophetic Imagination: “For my sisters in ministry who teach me daily about the power of grief and the gift of amazement.” As he describes the grief and amazement that together shape the prophetic imagination, he also describes the story of many women in ministry—lamenting what is broken in themselves, the church, and the world while also imagining what can be.

Book Review: The New Perspective on Mary and Martha

Recently, as I was listening to a Christian radio station, the female announcer shared that she was feeling guilty about her busy life. She made reference to the biblical “story of Mary and Martha,” typically feeling at fault because she was not taking ample time to “sit at Jesus’ feet” properly. She went on to say that Martha had it wrong because she was more concerned about her chores than she was about being in the presence of the Lord. These two sisters are examples, one positive and one negative.

Book Review: The Message of Women: Creation, Grace and Gender

As part of the “Bible Themes” series within the larger The Bible Speaks Today collection of Bible commentaries and themes, The Message of Women is an exposition rather than a detailed commentary. It explores the life of women in Old Testament times and in the life of Jesus and the subsequent life of the early church. Without actually saying what is suggested by the title of their work, Derek and Dianne Tidball find a message for the twenty- first century church.

Book Review: Her Story: Autobiographical Portraits of Early Methodist Women

Reading Her Own Story is like looking through an ancient, rusty trunk in your great-grandmother’s attic and finding, hidden under yellowing linens and fading daguerreotypes, the journals of a forgotten female relative. The journals make this unheard-of kinswoman come to life in such a way that you feel you know her intimately. She writes of her spiritual journey in all of its joy, splendor, pain, and frustration.

Book Review: Equal to Serve

When I attended the last Sydney Diocesan Synod I was aware that events outside the Chapter House were frequently of greater interest than those inside that hallowed structure. One of the exciting extramural activities was the visit of Mrs.G.G. Hull who spoke lucidly and informatively on the subject of the role of women in the church.

What Mrs. Hull said on that occasion is available on tape from the Anglican Radio Unit and is expanded in this book. The book has as its subtitle, ''Women and Men in the Church and Home".

Book Review: Equal to Serve

"We are to concentrate on the inner characteristics of a person, not on his or her gender." So states author Gretchen Gaebelein Hull, a biblical feminist whose new book, Equal To Serve, comes to grips with the controversial social issues of today. What are the roles of women and men in marriage, parenthood, the workplace? They are to be assumed with complete freedom and shared responsibility, answers Hull.

Book Review: Priscilla's Letter

Ruth Hoppin has spent decades researching Adolf Harnack's hypothesis that Priscilla wrote the biblical Epistle to the Hebrews. A first book, Priscilla, Author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, was published in the late 1960s. Since that time additional relevant material has been published, some of it related to the Dead Sea Scrolls. This book is an update which takes such material into account.

Book Review: I Suffer Not a Woman

Until now, this reviewer had to acknowledge he simply did not understand Paul's statement: "I suffer not a woman to teach nor to usurp authority over the man" (1Tim 2:12).

No explanation rang scripturally true: e.g. "rabbinical male bias" or "a local cultural problem." Exceptions for women teaching or preaching ("only occasionally" or "under male authority" or "if there aren't male missionaries") sounded like semantics.

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Volume 11

Debra was attending a Christian conference on evangelism in the Spring of 1996. A black woman in her thirties, Debra worked as the urban staff representative in a predominantly white evangelical youth ministry. Read more
Evangelical interpreters, egalitarians and complementarians alike, have slain many trees over Paul’s precise point in citing Eve in 1 Timothy 2:13-15. Is Eve a transcultural example, or merely an example applicable to the easily-deceived Ephesian women and those like them? Read more
January 1984: The plane touched down on shimmering tarmac and my heart trembled with anticipation. At long last I had returned to Africa, the continent of my birth! Leaving behind the -30 C. temperatures of my home city in Canada, I arrived to find +30 C. sunshine in Nairobi, Kenya. Read more
In his book, Women Composers and Hymnists, Gene Claghorn lists 356 women hymn text writers who are North American. A few of the most outstanding are Julia Ward Howe (“Battle Hymn of the Republic”), Annie Sherwood Hawks (“I Need Thee Every Hour”), Mary Ann Thomson (“O Zion Haste”), Katherine Lee Bates (“America, the Beautiful”), Mary Lathbury (“Break Thou the Bread of Life”), and Margaret Clarkson (“So Send I You”). Read more
For the past few years, I have been a close watcher of the Promise Keepers movement. This has included assiduously reading each issue of New Man magazine from cover to cover, keeping up with other movement literature, and in a temporary journalistic capacity attending a Promise Keepers stadium rally (Pittsburgh, July 1996). This included an opportunity to ask questions at two press conferences featuring Promise Keepers media representatives and leaders such as Bill McCartney and Raleigh Washington. At the same time I was watching the stadium event from the exalted heights of the press booth I persuaded a woman friend and fellow Christian feminist from Pittsburgh to spend half a day as one of the thousands of volunteers needed to run such a weekend. As well as getting a substantial box lunch and a special blue volunteer’s T-shirt, she was able to take stock of the general atmosphere while taking orders for taped lectures inside one of the exhibition tents. Read more
As the role of men in families is debated in America, since 1991 the rapidly expanding evangelical (Promise Keepers) men’s movement has sponsored conferences filling major sports stadiums. This organization aimed to reach over a million men in 1996, and to sponsor a million man strong prayer rally in Washington, DC, in 1997. Christian bookstores are creating new “men’s" sections for the many new books on masculinity being produced by most of the conservative Protestant publishing houses. A survey of these books shows that the books do not display a monolithic “return to traditionalism" approach to the changing issues of gender and family relationships. Instead there are at least three additional approaches to gender issues: 1) seeking the “essence(s) of masculinity" by the use of archetypes drawn from psychology, 2) helping men to build new egalitarian relationships with their “sisters in Christ,” and 3) a pragmatic approach from family counselors seeking to help men communicate and help families stay together. These alternative approaches provide room for evangelical men to maintain evangelical distinctives yet also cope with changing social realities. The Promise Keepers movement by the official use of their name seems to be endorsing the pragmatic approach rather than a pure return to traditionalism. Read more
The Hebrew view of marital sex, in contrast with Neoplatonism and early church, was not celibate. The Jews were never prudish about sex. The best evidence of this is the high place Solomon's Song of Songs, an ancient collection of poems on courtship and love, holds in the canon of Hebrew Scripture and in the worship of the synagogues, where it is usually read on the 8th day of Passover. Read more
People both within and without the church have been expressing amazement over the rapid growth of Promise Keepers, the Christian men's movement that was founded by former college football coach Bill McCartney in 1990, and which drew a little over one million participants in 22 cities in 1996. Men involved in this movement are finding the inspiration to live righteously as honest and loving husbands, fathers, and friends. They are learning to take responsibility for their families, to be faithful to their wives, to care for their children, to avoid pornography, to be involved and responsible members of their churches and communities, and to regard people of other races as their equals. In all of this, Promise Keepers offers a bracing antidote to the poison of male irresponsibility that evidently has become pandemic in American society. What can one say in response but what everyone seems to have said already, namely, that PK is doing a vitally good work in the lives of many people in the church today? Read more
“Why don’t you attend as a volunteer, and then we can observe the rally from different angles.” This was Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen’s suggestion. She was coming to Pittsburgh to report for Books and Culture on the 1996 Promise Keepers’ rally to be held at Three Rivers Stadium. I wasn’t sure about the plan. Mary would be there in an official capacity, and that seemed more up-front to me. I didn’t want to be a spy. But she proved persuasive, and at the last minute I offered my services for the second day of the rally. Read more
Make no mistake about it: Women want a men’s movement. We are literally dying for it. If you doubt that, just listen to women’s desperate testimonies of hope that the men in our lives will become more nurturing towards children, more able to talk about emotions, less hooked on a spectrum of control that extends from not listening through to violence, and [that they will become] less repressive of their own human qualities that are called “feminine.”.... Perhaps the psychic leap of twenty years ago [when feminists announced that] women can do what men can do, must now be followed by [the announcement that] men can do what women can do. Read more

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