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Media Review: What she Said about the Bible (Podcast)

Media Review: I am reflecting on some of the books and media I have reviewed as part of my research into the various views of the life and times of Jesus and his followers.

This podcast is one of the media I really enjoyed about early women Bible interpreters, writers, and preachers.

It is produced by Wycliffe College, a school of theology at the University of Toronto, affiliated with the Anglican Church of Canada. The six total episodes of approx. 45 minutes each were posted in early 2020. It is hosted by Dr. Marion Ann Taylor and Kira Moolman and tells the stories of historical women who taught others about the Bible.

Genre: non-fiction, biblical interpretation, feminist theology, biographies

image of podcast
Wycliffe Theological School Podcast: What She Said (About the Bible)

This Podcast aims to tell women's stories and to share their biblical interpretations so that women of today may stand on their shoulders, rather than re-doing the work that they have done.

Episode One: Christina Rosettis (on Revelations) Katarina Zell (during the Reformation), Elizabeth Mary Mcdonald

Episode Two: Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom's Cabin, a novel with an abolitionist theme published in 1852.

Episode Three: Jarena Lee, a trail-blazing African American preacher in the Methodist tradition; Jarena Lee preached for over 20 years in the early 1800s.

“O how careful ought we to be, lest, through our by-laws of church government and discipline, we bring into disrepute even the word of life. For as unseemly as it may appear now-a-days for a woman to preach, it should be remembered that nothing is impossible with God.” — Jarena Lee, Religious Experience and Journal of Mrs. Jarena Lee, 1849

For millennia, women have been intentionally written out of the Christian narrative., excluded by the history writers, not by biblical mandates.

Episode Four: Josephine Butler, an outspoken advocate for the rights of women, especially prostitutes. Josephine Butler was born in 1828 and wrote, taught, preached, and lobbied for legal changes, better treatment for prostitutes and a raising of the age of consent from 12 since girls were being sold into prostitution. Preached on the Levite and his concubine in Judges 19 and showed listeners that we are inside in safety while Jesus is knocking at the door, like the concubine, raped and killed.

Episode Five: Elizabeth Rundle Charles, a prolific and influential author; wrote a biography of Martin Luther Chronicles of the Schonberg Cotta Family (1862), translated the works of Martin Luther, wrote hymns and wrote over 50 books.

Episode Six: Mary Cornwallis, author of a four-volume commentary on the Bible in 1817, called Observations, Critical, Explanatory, and Practical, on the Canonical Scriptures.

Pros: Easy to listen to, conversational, interesting and inspiring stories of women who were early theological thinkers, writers, and speakers.

Cons: Not well-organized; sometimes tells the story out of order, lacking details like names/dates until the end; no links to biographies of the women in podcast notes.

Dr. Marion Ann Taylor has also co-authored with Agnes Choi the 600-page Handbook of Women Biblical Interpreters, A historical and biographical guide, published 2018 by Baker Academic. Amazon blurb says it includes short biographies of:

Elizabeth Rice Achtemeier, Saint Birgitta of Sweden, Catherine Mumford Booth, Anne Bradstreet, Catherine of Siena, Clare of Assisi, Egeria, Elizabeth I, Hildegard, Julian of Norwich, Thérèse of Lisieux, Marcella, Henrietta C. Mears, Florence Nightingale, Phoebe Palmer, Faltonia Betitia Proba, Pandita Ramabai, Christina Georgina Rossetti, Dorothy Leigh Sayers, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Harriet Beecher Stowe, St. Teresa of Avila, Sojourner Truth, and Susanna Wesley.


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