Choosing the Better Part?: Women in the Gospel of Luke

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Overview

Because the Gospel of Luke includes more stories about women than any other Gospel, many find it is the most helpful in the search for equality for women in the Church today. However, feminist interpreters have discovered that Luke's portrait of women is ambiguous at best and hazardous at worst. Choosing the Better Part? focuses on the sayings of Jesus and on the passages in the Gospel of Luke in which women figure as characters. It suggests that these stories be reinterpreted and reconsidered from a feminist ...

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Overview

Because the Gospel of Luke includes more stories about women than any other Gospel, many find it is the most helpful in the search for equality for women in the Church today. However, feminist interpreters have discovered that Luke's portrait of women is ambiguous at best and hazardous at worst. Choosing the Better Part? focuses on the sayings of Jesus and on the passages in the Gospel of Luke in which women figure as characters. It suggests that these stories be reinterpreted and reconsidered from a feminist perspective, so that readers may know how to choose the better part" toward equality and inclusivity.

While there certainly are women disciples in Luke and Acts, their role is presented by the third evangelist as clearly different from that of the men. They are portrayed primarily as silent and passive. Their ministry is carried out behind- the-scenes, supporting the more visible, public ministries of the male disciples. This commentary shows that there is more than one way to read the biblical tradition and that it matters vitally how one reads it.Choosing the Better Part? examines a number of possible approaches to the texts (critical, literary, and narrative) and uncovers their presuppositions and their consequences helping both women and men, particularly those who preach and teach the Scriptures, to do so in a way that will promote a Church of equal disciples, where gender differences no longer dictate ministerial roles.

Reid has written this work not as the definitive interpretation of the Lukan stories of women, but as an aid in critical biblical study, coupled with reflection on experiences of the global community and reliance on the Spirit to "choose the better part" to bring fullness of life for al. Barbara E. Reid, OP, holds a PhD in biblical studies from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and is assistant professor of New Testament studies at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. Her scholarly interests center on Luke- Acts,Paul, and feminist interpretation of Scripture. Her most recent articles appeared in Biblical Research, The Bible Today, and New Theology Review.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

This is a solid and well-written book, one that offers a host of enticing leads for preaching and teaching.
The Bible Today

More important even than the fresh interpretations of texts on women in the Gospel of Luke are Reid's methodological precision and the care with which she accompanies readers on the journey into and through these texts. In addition to offering rich background material and meticulous textual analysis, she describes the benefits and pitfalls of various reading strategies that will allow a liberating voice the 'better part' to be heard through, beneath, or even against Luke's words. This book is an essential resource for the classroom, Bible study group, and preacher's library alike.
Sharon H. Ringe, Wesley Theological Seminary

The frequent discussions of interpretive possibilities for contemporary women make this a very useful guide to the Gospel as a whole and in its individual passages for all who try to integrate the message of Jesus into their lives.
Carolyn Osiek, RSCJ, Catholic Theological Union

O.F.M.Robert Karris
J.[Some] of Reid's chapters are gold mines of feminist interpretations and bibliography as she shows her readers how to "choose the better part" of reinterpreting Luke against his patriarchal intentions....This reviewer lauds the many life-giving and liberative interpretations presented in this book, especially those on Elizabeth, Mary, Anna, and "The Woman Who Showed Great Love"....
Society of Biblical Literature
Robert J. Karris, O.F.M.
[Some] of Reid's chapters are gold mines of feminist interpretations and bibliography as she shows her readers how to "choose the better part" of reinterpreting Luke against his patriarchal intentions....This reviewer lauds the many life-giving and liberative interpretations presented in this book, especially those on Elizabeth, Mary, Anna, and "The Woman Who Showed Great Love"....
Society of Biblical Literature
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814654941
  • Publisher: Liturgical Press, The
  • Publication date: 8/28/1996
  • Pages: 264
  • Product dimensions: 5.38 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.66 (d)

Meet the Author


Barbara E. Reid, OP, is a Dominican Sister of Grand Rapids, Michigan. She holds a PhD in biblical studies from The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, and is professor of New Testament and vice president and academic dean at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. Her most recent books are Taking Up the Cross: New Testament Interpretations Through Latina and Feminist Eyes (Fortress Press, 2007), The Gospel According to Matthew (Liturgical Press, 2005), Parables for Preachers (3 volumes; Liturgical Press, 1999, 2 , 2001), and Choosing the Better Part? Women in the Gospel of Luke (Liturgical Press, 1996). She is general editor for Wisdom Commentary Series (forthcoming from Liturgical Press).
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Table of Contents

Abbreviations
Preface
Ch. 1 Choosing the Better Part: Methodological Choices 1
Ch. 2 Luke, His Audience and Purpose 15
Ch. 3 Women's Participation in Discipleship and Mission in Luke and Acts 21
Ch. 4 Elizabeth and Mary: Women on Spirit Birthing Hope 55
Ch. 5 Anna: Prophetic Widow 86
Ch. 6 Simon's Mother-in-Law: Healed for Service 96
Ch. 7 The Widow of Nain: Voiceless Protester Against Death 103
Ch. 8 The Woman Who Showed Great Love 107
Ch. 9 Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Susanna: Ministering Galilean Women 124
Ch. 10 Jairus' Daughter and a Woman with a Hemorrhage: Resuscitation and Bold Faith 135
Ch. 11 Pitting Mary Against Martha 144
Ch. 12 Bent No More and Glorifying God! 163
Ch. 13 A Woman Mixing Dough 169
Ch. 14 A Woman Searching for a Lost Coin 179
Ch. 15 A Persistent Widow 190
Ch. 16 A Widow Who Gives All 195
Ch. 17 The Galilean Women: Disbelieved Witnesses 198
Ch. 18 Conclusions: New Meaning from Ancient Texts 205
Bibliography 209
Index of Scripture Quotations 228
Index of Authors 243
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  • Posted December 25, 2013

    Now I see things so differently and more clearly!

    Barbara Reid does a fantastic job explaining scripture passages that I have so often wondered about. We never hear her version in Sunday sermons and homilies. Yet, her take on these passages make so much sense. I loved this book!

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