Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Vindicating some so-called "vixens" in the Bible

The title Vindicating the Vixens may have an alliterative flair, but it somewhat distorts the point of the book unless the meaning of "vixen" is stretched beyond its normal use. The subtitle, Revisiting Sexualized, Vilified, and Marginalized Women of the Bible, gives a clearer picture of what to expect. Both the preface and introduction give an apologetic for the work. "This is not some book written by theologically liberal, wannabe scholars attempting to be politically correct or manipulating the text in order to be culturally relevant" (22).

While I have no reason to doubt the sincerity of the authors, I found some arguments almost as much of a stretch as applying the term "vixen" to Mary, the mother of Jesus and dedicating a whole chapter to her. For example, the chapter on Eve argues that her act of giving the forbidden fruit to Adam was apparently not an attempt to encourage him to disobey God's command not to eat of it.

The chapters with the best arguments (that is, those that make their case primarily from Scripture, church history, and common sense) were the following:

Tamar: The Righteous Prostitute
Bathsheba: Vixen or Victim?
Deborah: Only When a Good Man is Hard to Find?
Mary Magdalene: Repainting Her Portrait of Misconceptions

I certainly learned from reading this book, but the arguments in some chapters were not as compelling as I had expected them to be. Many authors stray from their subjects to provide extended commentary on matters that, though related, seemed outside the scope of the book.

I received a media copy of this book from the publisher in order to write my review.

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