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Whispering the Word: Hearing Women's Stories in the Old Testament [Paperback]

By Jacqueline E. Lapsley (Author)
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Item description for Whispering the Word: Hearing Women's Stories in the Old Testament by Jacqueline E. Lapsley...

In the past twenty-five years there has been an explosion of work focusing on women in the Old Testament. However, because much of this work has reflected a perspective that is either uninterested in or hostile to theological implications of the text, many Christian feminists wonder if they can simultaneously maintain their commitment to principles of gender equality and their faith in the Scriptures, particularly the Old Testament. Writing in response to feminist biblical scholars who approach the Old Testament with a hermeneutic of suspicion, Princeton theologian Jacqueline Lapsley offers Christian feminists strategies to hear the subtle ideas and voices of the less powerful within the Old Testament texts. Reading and interpreting a number of Old Testament narratives in which women are prominent, Lapsley considers how these stories may reflect God's word for us. In doing so, she demonstrates how the narrative often attempts to shape the moral response of the reader by revealing the intricacy and complexity of the moral world evoked. In this gentle shaping of the reader's ethical sensibilities, she argues, is where God may be whispering a word for us.

Publishers Description
In the past 25 years there has been an explosion of work focusing on women in the OT. Significant work has been done in attending to critical issues raised by the patriarchal nature of the texts, but the question of how to hear these texts as the word of God is often left unaddressed. Many Christians who call themselves feminist wonder if they can simultaneously maintain their faith in feminist principles of gender equality AND their faith that God is speaking to them and the church through the Scriptures. Jacqueline Lapsley addresses this issue, as she reads and interprets a number of narratives in which women are prominent in order to reflect critically on issues of gender but with the ultimate goal of considering how these stories may reflect God's word for us. Lapsley proposes three strategies: (1) attending to women's words; (2) attending to the narrator's perspective; and (3) attending to textual worldview--which she applies to specific tex

From Publishers Weekly
Lapsley, who teaches at Princeton Theological Seminary, explores four Old Testament stories that feature women. In her discussion of Rachel's confrontation with Laban, found in the book of Genesis, she shows that Rachel's words for menstruation and "the way of women" can be interpreted as social critique. Lapsley then turns her attention to Judges 19-21, chapters that depict disturbing violence against women, arguing persuasively that the narrator didn't approve of rape and dismemberment, but rather wanted to show that violence toward women leads to widespread violence writ large, and that this domino effect requires a theological response. In the story of Moses' mother and sister saving baby Moses from death, Lapsley finds a portrait of women's values, and in a final discussion of the book of Ruth, Lapsley argues that Naomi is a woman "shaking a fist... at God for the injustices of the world." Lapsley's readings not only draw attention to the words and experiences of biblical heroines, but also model suggestive strategies for interpreting other biblical texts. Although this innovative book will be read mainly by academics, Lapsley's introduction-in which she explains the basics of feminist biblical interpretation-is so lucid that any interested readers will be able to follow along. (Dec.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Citations And Professional Reviews
Whispering the Word: Hearing Women's Stories in the Old Testament by Jacqueline E. Lapsley has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • Publishers Weekly - 10/10/2005 page 58

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Westminster John Knox Press
Pages   154
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.9" Width: 5.9" Height: 0.5"
Weight:   0.65 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 1, 2006
Publisher   Westminster John Knox Press
ISBN  0664224350  
ISBN13  9780664224356  

Availability  0 units.

More About Jacqueline E. Lapsley

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Jacqueline E. Lapsley (PhD, Emory University) is associate professor of Old Testament at Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, New Jersey. She is the author or editor of several volumes on the Old Testament and ethics.

Jacqueline E. Lapsley was born in 1965.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Criticism & Interpretation > Old Testament
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > General
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Feminist
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > General

Christian Product Categories
Books > Bible Study > General Studies > General

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Reviews - What do customers think about Whispering the Word: Hearing Women's Stories in the Old Testament?

Fair and balanced perspective on difficult Old Testament stories  Oct 27, 2007
Jacqueline Lapsley does a great job of giving a balanced perspective on some difficult stories involving women in the Old Testament. While coming at the text from an academically critical perspective, she also incorporates her faith into the material setting her work apart from other scholars. The book also serves as a good introduction to feminist exegesis, exploring different approaches to reading the text and, in my opinion, finding a good and fair approach to reading the text faithfully. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in Old Testament studies as well as those interested in getting started at looking at the bible from a feminist perspective.
Good analyses of half a dozen women of the Hebrew Bible  Mar 14, 2007
I bought this book for a project I am doing on the Pilegesh (concubine) in Judges 19-21. Lapsley is scholarly giving the nuances of the original Hebrew language and proposing some alternative theories, but is not difficult to read. One thing that stands out about this book is that Lapsley writes from a Christian viewpoint, thus "Old Testament" as opposed to "Hebrew Bible". Also unlike the majority of Bible scholars Lapsley actually incorporates G-d into her analyses.
Great for Discussion Groups / Study Groups  Jan 27, 2006
Thoughtful and interesting, this book provides new insights into familiar stories. Plenty of material for discussion and reflection!

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