Feminism, like all advocacy, is centrally about absence and presence. It is about recognizing that people who have been ignored and marginalized are in fact right here, and there, and everywhere. And if women are not everywhere, feminism asks, "Where are they?"
University of Chicago theologian David Tracy has called feminist scholarship "the next intellectual revolution." Cullen Murphy's new book, The Word According to Eve: Women and the Bible in Ancient Times and Our Own (Houghton Mifflin, 1998), details the study of the Bible by the past century of American feminists. His account features both leading scholars, from Bernadette Brooten to Elisabeth Schssler Fiorenza, and popularizers-cum-agitators, whether Elizabeth Cady Stanton in the last century or Mary Daly in our own. In the style he has honed as managing editor of the Atlantic Monthly, Murphy gives us vivid glimpses of the people behind the publications.
As a respected journalist, Murphy naturally would pride himself on comprehensiveness—especially because marginalizing, much less ignoring, anyone involved in this matter would be egregious. Alas, Murphy's book does marginalize or ignore anyone who is not in the broadly liberal tradition of biblical studies. The absence of any feminist scholar who takes the Bible as divinely inspired revelation—and there are such people—is a poignant absence indeed.
Evangelicals in particular are conspicuously invisible. Alvera Mickelsen and Gretchen Gaebelein Hull—widely known in evangelical circles—show up in Murphy's bibliography but not in his text. Wheaton College and Fuller Theological Seminary appear only as part of the rsum of Karen Jo Torjesen, a former evangelical who left a teaching position ...1
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