Out of the Garden: Women Writers on the Bible

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"Essays of considerable literary erudition and sophistication that... dislodge dull stereotypes to enable both women and men readers to see the Bible with fresh eyes."
—Los Angeles Times Book Review
As the one work that has held moral and religious sway over the Judeo-Christian tradition for thousands of years, the Bible is unsurpassed in world literature. For women, its meaning is particularly complex; traditionally, the Bible has been used to keep women in their place, but it has also been a book of enduring ...
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Out of the Garden: Women Writers on the Bible

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Overview

"Essays of considerable literary erudition and sophistication that... dislodge dull stereotypes to enable both women and men readers to see the Bible with fresh eyes."
—Los Angeles Times Book Review
As the one work that has held moral and religious sway over the Judeo-Christian tradition for thousands of years, the Bible is unsurpassed in world literature. For women, its meaning is particularly complex; traditionally, the Bible has been used to keep women in their place, but it has also been a book of enduring inspiration. Out of the Garden marks a new stage in women's relations to the Bible: this is the first collection of essays in which women read and respond to the Bible out of pleasure and curiosity—free to explore what is really relevant to women's lives.
Drawing on their own experiences and interests, Louise Erdrich, Cynthia Ozick, Fay Weldon, Phyllis Trible, Rebecca Goldstein, June Jordan, Ursula K. Le Guin, and twenty-one other writers boldly, imaginatively—and sometimes reproachfully—address the Old Testament stories, characters, and poetry that mean the most to them. Thoughtful, challenging, and playful, these beautifully written essays explore the Bible in fresh new ways. Out of the Garden reclaims the Bible for women and shows readers that the Bible is a source we can return to again and again.
"A many-splendored achievement...This grand collection is a bold revitalization of our relation to our tradition. It offers the reader the gorgeously varied company of strongly delineated temperaments as they take on the compelling, threatening figures of our imaginative forebears."
—Harold Bloom
Author of The Book of J and TheWestern Canon

Marking a new stage in women's relations to the Bible, these thoughtful, challenging, sometimes playful essays, written by Louise Erdrich, Ursula K. LeGuin, Elizabeth Swados, and 25 other female writers of the first rank, will enchant the audience that helped make The Book of J a phenomenon.

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Editorial Reviews

Ilene Cooper
Writers as diverse as Louise Erdrich, Cynthia Ozick, Fay Weldon, and Barbara Grizzuti Harrison take on the Bible with generally fascinating results. The editors' task was to bring the oft-neglected feminine perspective (that is, the perspective of both the original, biblical players and contemporary women writers) to the fore. The result of this effort runs the gamut, from theologian Phyllis Trible's scholarly essay on Jezebel and the prophet Elijiah, to Patricia J. Williams' very personal account of the adoption of her son in the context of the story of pharaoh's daughter claiming the baby Moses. As to be expected, there is unevenness here, both in the choice of subject matter and in the quality of the writing, but overall, the selections are thought provoking and even disturbing, in the best sense of that word. The most interesting lesson, perhaps, especially for those not familiar with the scriptures, is how sparingly women are described in the Bible. Their absence, as Rachel M. Brownstein notes in her essay, invites "projection, identification, embroidery." These 27 essays provide just that and in the process give women much to ponder.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780449906927
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 7/19/1994
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 352

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