“We need both men and women. We need both of their voices at the table.... The more diversity of voices we have at the table, the more opportunity we have to hear how God might be speaking through the Scriptures to us today. I think recovering women’s voices is really important and including women’s voices is really important so we can hear more fully the truth of God’s word for us.” — Amanda W. Benckhuysen
Listen in as WAP director Karen Guzmán interviews author and Biblical scholar Rev. Dr. Amanda W. Benckhuysen, discussing her new book The Gospel According to Eve: A History of Women's Interpretation in which she explores scholarship written by women over several centuries and considers its implications for Biblical interpretation.
“And perhaps, instead of a legacy of tears, hardship, and sorrow for women, Eve’s story will come to be heard as a call and invitation to respect, celebrate, and honor God’s blessing to the world in the daughters of Eve.”
Thus ends Amanda Benckhuysen's new book on the history of women’s interpretation on the first few chapters of Genesis. The Gospel According to Eve is a thorough yet readable romp through history — mostly in Europe and the US — that introduces us to a host of amazing and interesting women who for various reasons took to the Scriptures as they sorted out God’s calling in their lives in their particular cultural moments.
I met Amanda a few years ago at a Women in the Academy and Professions’ event in her town and have enjoyed interacting with her since. When I learned she was writing this book, I asked if she’d be willing to do a podcast interview with me and was thrilled when she agreed.
I grew up in a home with parents in somewhat traditional roles — my dad mowed the lawn and my mom did the laundry and cooked most meals. But my mom worked full-time and I had a lot of strong female role models, many of whom were her single friends. When I went off to college, I jumped into my campus fellowship with both feet and soon was leading Bible studies and serving in other leadership roles. Imagine my surprise when in my senior year, a couple of the men on our leadership team didn’t want me to be president though I had the most vision and experience and was the only one who wanted the job. This was my inauguration into feeling “less than” because of my gender.
I am grateful to Amanda for introducing me to all these new friends from throughout history, who, like me, felt this way and then discovered as they look into the Scriptures — particularly at Genesis 1-3 — that far from being less than, women are image bearers of God and given the same mandate to love God and steward his world. Far from being “modern” — a response to second wave feminism or contemporary cultural pressure — challenges to patriarchy and its effects have been happening through the ages as a response to reading Scripture. Interestingly, many were not looking to overthrow cultural mores. Their main intent was to be faithful readers of Scripture and faithful followers of Jesus in the places he’d called them.
I hope you enjoy this conversation with Amanda and, like me, find inspiring and encouraging friends in the pages of her book.
— Karen Guzmán
Find Amanda's newest book, The Gospel According to Eve: A History of Women's Interpretation, at InterVarsity Press.