The Gospel According to Eve: A History of Women’s Interpretation (Part 2)

Thursday, June 8, 2021

Rebecca S. Blackburn

The Gospel According to Eve: A History of Women’s Interpretation

Written by Amanda W. Benckhuysen

Paperback: 978-0-8308-5227-7

pub: 2019-10-29


eBook : 978-0-8308-7365-4

Purchase eBook $22.49

(For Part 1, please click here)

In a survey of history there will always be gaps. Many of the interpreters surveyed in this book are women of means from Europe and America. Benckhuysen is forthcoming, noting the “lack of access and knowledge of women’s writings from the Majority World” and calls for more attention to these areas of scholarship.[1] Considering the variety of ways women have engaged the Bible throughout time and across the globe, we must imagine further scholarship will reach for histories both written and unwritten, identifying hermeneutical contributions in literary, oral, and artistic modes.

Other features of this survey call for deepening the liberative possibilities of interpretation. Benckhuysen’s audience is the Christian community, and the women included in this survey represent a variety of Christian perspectives. Some of these perspectives rely on Christian supersession theologies to justify women’s worth, such as Hannah Crocker’s assertion that woman was subjugated to man until Christ redeemed humankind.[2] Many readings found in this survey are also limited by sex and gender binaries and heteronormativity, such as one might expect from such a sampling of history. Grappling with these gaps will hopefully lead readers to take up the mantle of interpretive audacity demonstrated by the women surveyed in this book and continue “to enlarge our understanding of Scripture.”[3]

The Gospel According to Eve is a valuable resource for Word-centered communities seeking to advance women’s dignity and freedoms in the home, church, and society. Students of reception history will see a great example of how scholarship in that field can speak to and influence contemporary, pressing issues. Readers attentive to the Bible and its interpretations will find wisdom amongst the pages of this volume. In offering their own biblical readings, these women interpreters modeled the value of careful interpretation and the necessity of diverse voices contributing to interpretive efforts.[4]They also believed that interpretation done properly would foster greater love for God and others.[5]The work of so many women across the centuries does indeed offer hope, strength, and wisdom to those who wish to engage and be shaped by the Bible. They remind us to interpret with care, interpret together, and interpret toward love.

Rebecca S. Blackburn

Doctoral student at Chicago Theological Seminary

[1] Benckhuysen, The Gospel, 4.

[2] Benckhuysen, The Gospel, 176.

[3] Benckhuysen, The Gospel, 5.

[4] Benckhuysen, The Gospel, 230-232.

[5] Benckhuysen, The Gospel, 232-233.