Book Review: Women In The Bible For Dummies

Women In The Bible For Dummies, by Rev. John Trigilo Jr. and Rev. Kenneth Brighenti

This book, one of several in this series and others like it I have read [1], and I have to say that I was somewhat surprised by how good this book was.  I figured the book would be rather irreverent and somewhat hostile to the Bible, but while this book was written for dummies, it was not written by dummies.  This is not to say that the book is flawless or that its view of the Bible is precisely in agreement with me, because it is not, but the obok actually ended up being a thoughtful and nuanced and easy-to-read and easy-to-enjoy look at women in the Bible.  As someone who enjoys reading about the subject, this book was quite a thoughtful surprise, as I expected this to be a far less enjoyable and worthwhile book than it was.  Both men and women who read this book expecting something to enjoy, they will find plenty of it, although it may not reach the level reverence one would expect from a biblical book, it certainly is far more elevated in its tone and approach than quite a few books on its subject matter.

This book is organized in a typical manner for the series as a whole.  Covering over 300 pages of material, there are six parts, opening with four chapters on connecting with the women of ancient history by looking at the women of the Bible at a glance, delving into history, context, and translation, discerning the roles of women, and looking at judges, prophetesses and lady wisdom.  After this the second part of the book looks at the six most famous women of the Bible:  Eve, Mary of Nazareth, Mary Magdelene, Ruth, Judith, and Esther.  The third part of the book looks at how women influenced lives through generating the patriarchal dynasty, spawning a kingdom, staying faithful through adversity, ruling, as well as serving in the Gospels and in the early Church.  The fourth part of the book looks at women of public debate or disdain whose roles are highly controversial and contentious, which the authors take with a great degree of compassion and thoughtfulness.  The fifth part consists of nameless but still important wives, mothers, daughters, and widows.  The sixth part consists of the part of tens, where the authors give various additional thoughts in list form.  Each chapter contains the usual “technical stuff” and “remember” sidebar information on occasion.

As might be seen from a look at its contents, this book is not free of worthy criticism.  For all of the obvious praiseworthy regard that the authors have for both women and the Bible, the authors manage to show themselves as less biblically inclined than a critical reader may hope.  For one, the authors consider Judith to be a biblical woman, showing a desire to pander to Catholic and Orthodox audiences.  In giving such a high degree of regard to an obviously fraudulent book in Judith, which has historical anachronisms that are obvious to anyone with even a rudimentary knowledge of ancient near eastern history, the authors cheapen the status of genuinely biblical books.  Also worthy of criticism, although understandably so, is the way that the authors rely on a great deal of art in order to try to explain the Bible.  Of course, the art does not resemble the Bible in a great many ways, from the biblical standard of modesty to concerns of historical and textual accuracy, but for a variety of reasons the Bible has always been an important model for artists.  Aside from these criticisms, readers will find a great deal to enjoy in these pages, making this both an accessible and a worthy introduction to the subject of women in the Bible.

[1] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in Bible, Biblical History, Book Reviews, Christianity, History, Maternal Lines and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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