Intro to Bib Lit- Critical Review

Intro to Bib Lit- Critical Review - Whispering the Word by...

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Whispering the Word by Jacqueline Lapsley: A Critical Review
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Whispering the Word was written by Jacqueline E. Lapsley and was published in 2005 by Westminster John Knox Press. The book was written as a commentary upon the analysis of Old Testament stories involving pertinent female characters, in the female perspective, in order to deepen biblical understanding of the roles of women in the Old Testament as well as the understanding of Scripture as a whole. Lapsley holds that a feminist interpretation of various Old Testament texts greatly contributes to the scholarly aspect as well as the personal spiritual nature of the Bible. For this reason, she hopes to deepen readers’ abilities to study and read Scripture with a broader scope of theological understanding. Lapsley first delves into the history of feminist perspectives on the Bible and its interpretive effects on the way females are viewed in the text. She pinpoints three distinct perspectives of feminine scholars which serve to guide the way people have traditionally interpreted the Bible with feminist interests. These three categories are: loyalists, revisionists, and rejectionists. The “loyalist” approach is one characterized by the acceptance of the biblically legitimized oppression of women as a problem, yet at the same time, blaming the problem on the interpretation of the Bible rather than on the text itself. In other words, loyalists are “loyal” to the Bible’s actual text, revering it as a perfect document, and hold that the oppression of women found in its stories is due to the way the Bible is interpreted and understood by humans. The “revisionist” approach to feminist interpretation, according to Lapsley, is one that acknowledges the patriarchal aspects of the Bible but does not consider them as definitive. This approach understands the text as a heavily patriarchal, or male- favoring, text but at the same time it acknowledges the secondary “behind the scenes” stories that contain smaller traditions, female-favoring traditions, that must be teased out in order to notice. The main characteristic of the revisionist approach is the search for these
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“countertraditions” which shed some light on the role and importance of females in the Old Testament. The “rejectionist” approach completely rejects the Bible as authoritative, which is the polar opposite of the loyalist approach. This approach induces a large amount of skepticism and suspicion of feminist interpretation, as well as biblical study as a whole. Lapsley identifies herself as most closely representative of the revisionist perspective. She holds that the ideas and strategies of interpreting Scripture through a feminist lens that she proposes were derived mainly from work done in analyzing countertraditions, which is the foundation of the revisionist approach. Her approach to the case studies of the Old Testament discussed in Whispering the Word is essential to the overall understanding of feminism in the
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This note was uploaded on 01/27/2010 for the course RELIGION 220 taught by Professor Boyd during the Spring '10 term at Hope.

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Intro to Bib Lit- Critical Review - Whispering the Word by...

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