Reviews - What do customers think about The Fruit of Her Hands: A Psychology of Biblical Women?
Great for discussion, and in defense of Mrs. Job Apr 21, 2008
I'll recommend this book for our group of women who have been discussing women of the Bible for some 6 years now. The linguistic understanding of Eve as the "Helpmeet - Opposite" is both gratifying and clarifying. Page 35 presents a really satisfying statement, "A woman's real modesty is not to think of herself as less than she is, but it is to know who she is and to make use of her abilities..." As a former professor of the psychology of women, I can't help noticing, however, that throughout the book there are rather stereotyped descriptions of the differences between men and women, a kind of "Men are from Mars; Women are from Venus" approach (with a Biblical emphasis, of course.)
Given my personal interest in forgiveness, I particularly liked the statement ( page 78) "[the insistence on repentance and atonement] is critical both for the perpetrator of misconduct, as well as for its victim" and the comments that followed.
I did feel that some of the references would not have been clear to me had we not already spent time studying these women in detail. The organization, which I'm sure was difficult to settle on, led on the other hand to some intrusive repetition.
I have to keep this short, so let me get directly to the treatment of Job's wife (119-120). It is unfortunate, I believe, that her whole relationship to Job has been distorted by the one statement, differently quoted in different sources, that suggests she is encouraging him to curse God and die. As far as I know, there is no one who believes Job was a real man, though his character may have been modeled after someone specific. But the story is a part of Wisdom literature, and, with the support of Brevard Childs (sadly now deceased) I was encouraged to model her after the woman of valor (Proverbs). I find it hard, then, to see hers as the conditional love of a hard-hearted woman, but rather the supportive shared mourning of a woman whose ten children have all died, along with the wealth that she has helped Job to develop. And the intimacy of the two times Job mentions her suggests, rather, a supportive closeness. I don't believe that the wisdom lesson was so superficial as to cast women in the role of destroyers.
Ah, see what I mean? It would be wonderful to be able to carry on this discussion.