Book Review: “The Handbook Of Women Biblical Interpreters” Edited By Marion Ann Taylor And Agnes Choi (Baker Academic, 2012) -- By: Christine Mary Cos

Journal: Priscilla Papers
Volume: PP 27:3 (Summer 2013)
Article: Book Review: “The Handbook Of Women Biblical Interpreters” Edited By Marion Ann Taylor And Agnes Choi (Baker Academic, 2012)
Author: Christine Mary Cos


Book Review: “The Handbook Of Women Biblical Interpreters” Edited By Marion Ann Taylor And Agnes Choi (Baker Academic, 2012)

Christine Cos

Christine Cos (MAOT and MDiv, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary) was Minister of Education at Pilgrim Church in Beverly, Massachusetts, as well as Bible study teacher and preacher at the First Baptist Church of Medfield, Massachusetts. A licensed minister with the Conservative Congregational Christian Conference, she begins ThD studies at Wycliffe College, University of Toronto, in the fall of 2013.

“Woman’s sphere is wider than we think and women’s influence is perhaps stronger than we like to allow.”—F. Digby Legard1

The Handbook of Women Biblical Interpreters is a long-awaited resource for those who want to engage in a more thorough analysis of Scripture by means of reception history (also technically known as Wirkungsgeschichte or “history of interpretation”).2 While this methodology of biblical scholarship is still developing, resources such as this will enable its advancement while also creating a more level playing field for biblical interpretations from both genders.

The title of Marion Ann Taylor and Agnes Choi’s newly published reference work says it all. This is the first reference volume specifically devoted to women interpreters of the Bible for whom there are extant written works from which modern-day biblical scholars, pastors, and seminarians may glean great insights previously unavailable to a mass audience. While this volume is by no means exhaustive, it brings to the table 180 new voices to add to those who have dedicated their lives to the study and practice of Scripture.

The book’s purpose and structure are outlined in a thorough and lucid introduction by Marion Ann Taylor. This substantial work, consisting of essays written by scholars predominantly from North America and Great Britain, is designed to be a foundation and launching pad for further studies in the history of interpretation.3 The entries span nearly two millennia, from the fourth century up to the twentieth. Post-nineteenth-century women were specifically limited to those who are deceased (so that a woman’s full life’s work could be analyzed) and to those whose work predated the “globalization of the profession of biblical studies and the significant expansion in the involvement of women and ethnic minorities with professional biblical studies in the 1970s and ’80s” (21-22).

Taylor takes the reader through all of the influences and subsequent biblical foci for each of the...

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