My copy of Rachel Held Evan’s A Year of Biblical Womanhood has arrived! She’s done a crazy experiment: taking Biblical commands for women as literally as possible for a year to see where she ends up and find out what ‘Biblical womanhood’ really means.
Strong-willed and independent, Rachel Held Evans couldn’t sew a button on a blouse before she embarked on a radical life experiment—a year of biblical womanhood.
Intrigued by the traditionalist resurgence that led many of her friends to abandon their careers to assume traditional gender roles in the home, Evans decides to try it for herself, vowing to take all of the Bible’s instructions for women as literally as possible for a year. Pursuing a different virtue each month, Evans learns the hard way that her quest for biblical womanhood requires more than a “gentle and quiet spirit” (1 Peter 3:4).
It means growing out her hair, making her own clothes, covering her head, obeying her husband, rising before dawn, abstaining from gossip, remaining silent in church, and even camping out in the front yard during her period. With just the right mixture of humor and insight, compassion and incredulity, A Year of Biblical Womanhood is an exercise in scriptural exploration and spiritual contemplation.
What does God truly expect of women, and is there really a prescription for biblical womanhood? Come along with Evans as she looks for answers in the rich heritage of biblical heroines, models of grace, and all-around women of valor
I’m expecting a satire with some thoughtful moments woven through. It’s probably more relevant to an American audience, though I’m sure it’ll have some resonance here. This is not a serious book, it looks kind of fun, though perhaps it reflects some serious confusion among evangelicals.
Nonetheless, she’s received some pretty harsh reviews. Over at Desiring God it’s been condemned as supremely arrogant.
As I read the book, it became increasingly clear to me of one theme: God’s word was on trial. It was the court of Rachel Held Evans. She was the prosecution, judge, and jury. The verdict was out. And with authority and confidence, she would have the final word on womanhood.
Others have said the opposite. Though their position might be considered ‘outside the camp’ by many.
The problem Evans addresses is how the Bible has been used poorly, falsely, harmfully, in certain Christian subcultures in marginalizing women. She makes her point by lampooning a literalist hermeneutic, a rhetorical move that many of her conservative critics have inexplicably missed. Evans is not mocking the Bible, but exposing the illegitimacy and randomness of a literalist reading of the Bible; the book is an exercise in biblical hermeneutics.
I love a good debate, so I’m looking forward to reading it and thinking about it for myself.