Bible Review 14:4, August 1998

Bible Books

The Many Images of Biblical Women

Missing Persons and Mistaken Identities: Women and Gender in Ancient Israel

Phyllis A. Bird (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1997), 291 pp., $19.00 (paperback)

Although the origins of modern feminism are difficult to pin down, one commonly cited point of beginning is the publication of Mary Wollstonecraft’s Vindication of the Rights of Women in 1792. During the following century, women focused primarily on the right to vote. But some feminist leaders in this country, including Elizabeth Cady Stanton, organizer of the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848 and the National Woman Suffrage Association with Susan B. Anthony in the 1870s, believed that discrimination against women involved not just voting rights but also religious issues.

In 1895, to address what she perceived as traditional Christianity’s disdain for and even neglect of women, Stanton published The Woman’s Bible, an analysis of sections of the Hebrew Bible and New Testament in which women are denigrated—or are conspicuously absent, according to Stanton.a

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