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Fri 23 Jul 2021 @ 0:54
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Author(s): Mary Ann Beavis, HyeRan Kim-Cragg, Barbara E. Reid
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Hebrews seems like unpromising material for feminist interpretation, although it is the only New Testament writing for which female authorship has been seriously posited. Mary Ann Beavis and HyeRan Kim-Cragg highlight the similarities between Hebrews and the book of Wisdom/Sophia, which share cosmological, ethical, historical, and sapiential themes, revealing that Hebrews is in fact a submerged tradition of Sophia-Wisdom.
They also tackle the sacrificial Christology of Hebrews, concluding that in its ancient context, far from symbolizing suffering and abjection, sacrifice was understood as celebratory and relational. Contributions from Filipina (Maricel and Marilou Ibita), Jewish (Justin Jaron Lewis), historical (Nancy Calvert-Koyzis), and First Nations (Marie Annharte Baker) perspectives bring additional scholarly, cultural, religious, and experiential wisdom to the commentary.
The aim of this commentary is to provide feminist interpretation of Scripture in serious, scholarly engagement with the whole text, not only those texts that explicitly mention women. A central concern is the world in front of the text, that is, how the text is heard and appropriated by women. At the same time, this commentary aims to be faithful to the ancient text, to explicate the world behind the text, where appropriate, and not impose contemporary questions onto the ancient texts.
The commentary addresses not only issues of gender (which are primary in this project) but also those of power, authority, ethnicity, racism, and classism, which all intersect. Each volume incorporates diverse voices and differing interpretations from different parts of the world, showing the importance of social location in the process of interpretation and that there is no single definitive feminist interpretation of a text.
Mary Ann Beavis has master's degrees in religious studies and theology from the University of Manitoba and the University of Notre Dame and a PhD in New Testament studies from Cambridge University (UK). She is currently professor of religion and culture at St. Thomas More College, University of Saskatchewan (Saskatoon, Canada). Her areas of academic interest and expertise include Christian origins, feminist biblical interpretation, Christianity and Goddess spirituality, and religion and popular culture. She is the author of several single-author and edited books as well as many peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, and book reviews. She is the founding editor of the Journal of Religion and Popular Culture. HyeRan Kim-Cragg is Lydia Gruchy Professor of Pastoral Studies at St. Andrew's College, Saskatoon, Canada. As a practical theologian, her main areas of teaching are religious education and worship. Influenced by postcolonial theory, feminist theology, and migration, her most recent book is The Encounters: Retelling the Bible from Migration and Intercultural Perspectives, co-authored with EunYoung Choi. Her most recent articles appear in Liturgy in Postcolonial Perspectives, Church in the Age of Migration: A Moving Body, and the journal Religious Education.
"This volume, co-authored by Mary Ann Beavis and HyeRan Kim-Cragg, is a surprisingly good read. I say surprisingly because Hebrews is one of the densest and (supposedly) non-feminist books in the New Testament. Beavis and Kim-Cragg bring a scholarly, occupational, and ethnic diversity to an otherwise (seemingly) monolithic work." -- Teresa J. Hornsby, Professor, Religious Studies, Drury University "Mary Ann Beavis and HyeRan Kim-Cragg's refreshing, liberating, and empowering commentary makes the book of Hebrews come alive. Hebrews provides new insights, provocative interpretations, and imaginative ways of reading the letter to the Hebrews. It combines superb scholarship with lucid writing and will make a splendid addition to anyone's library. Hebrews is wisdom for the ages." -- Grace Ji-Sun Kim, Associate Professor of Theology, Earlham School of Religion "The reader will find in this accessible and challenging commentary a wonderfully wide range of sources and approaches to the text. Of special note are background materials from Judaism and parallel poetic renderings from Aboriginal Scriptures." -- The Rev. Bonnie B. Thurston, Ph.D. Author of Maverick Mark: The Untamed First Gospel