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The Lost Coin: Parables of Women, Work and Wisdom (Biblical Seminar 86) [Hardcover]

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Item Specifications...

Pages   344
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.21" Width: 6.37" Height: 0.98"
Weight:   1.43 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Aug 27, 2002
Publisher   Sheffield Academic Press
ISBN  1841273228  
EAN  9781841273228  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
A collection of feminist interpretations of parables about women and women's work. The authors, who include Pheme Perkins, Barbara Reid and Adele Reinhartz, aim to fill a gap in the scholarly literature on parables, bringing to life vignettes from ancient Mediterranean women's lives and offering insights into the place of women in the ministry of Jesus, the early church, and Christian theology. This volume is designed as a resource for scholarship, teaching and preaching.

Buy The Lost Coin: Parables of Women, Work and Wisdom (Biblical Seminar 86) by Mary Ann Beavis from our Christian Books store - isbn: 9781841273228 & 1841273228

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More About Mary Ann Beavis

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Mary Ann Beavis is Assistant Professor, Department of Religious Studies, St. Thomas More College, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada.

Mary Ann Beavis has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Biblical Seminar (Paperback)
  2. Paideia: Commentaries on the New Testament
  3. Wisdom Commentary

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
The Lost Coin: Finding true worth...  May 24, 2003
As Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenze says the foreword to `The Lost Coin: Parables of Women, Work and Wisdom' begins, `Thirty years ago nobody had ever heard or dreamt of feminist biblical studies. Today the articles and books offering ever more sophisticated feminist biblical interpretations abound.' This book is part of that growing tradition, and represents the first such work to look specifically at parables through this particular lens. This is somewhat surprising, given the importance of parables in the teaching of Jesus. However, the traditional view of parables finds that most of the actors and characters in the parables are men. This book will challenge the reader's view.

The title itself, `The Lost Coin' signifies the search for the lost in the parables themselves. Where are women? Where are women's voices and women's concerns? As Beavis states in her introductory chapter, `Even a parable that seems solely occupied with the relations between men may imply female characters.' Looking at the peripheral characters and how they might be affected (the mother of the prodigal son is held up as an example) gives new insight in interpretation and analysis of the parable.

There are five primary sections to the book. The first section looks at parables with easily identifiable and prominent female characters. The parables of the woman searching for the lost coin, the persistent widow, and the wise and foolish virgins are prominently featured (the persistent widow is represented in three different essays each exploring different aspects). The section concludes with an essay recasting the parable of the prodigal son, looking at it from a perspective of possible family abuse - what would make the son want to run away? Why do we assume the failing on the part of the son?

The second section deals with parables of women's work. Looking at sociological and historical data outside the bible to illustrate `typical' patterns of women's work, and aspects of women's labouring that in some regards has not changed through the ages (Schottroff presents evidence that `female labourers earned half as much as men in antiquity'; Wire and Hearon's look at women as cooks and bakers continues a familiar pattern through much of the world today).

The third section looks at particularly Johannine images of the bride and the mother/birthgiver. These images from John's gospel are often overlooked given the difference between the synoptic gospels and their narrative styles and the content and style of John. The parables are in some ways given short shrift in John, but as Rushton states, `Although "John" may well have done a particular disservice in obscuring this tradition, by a stroke of brilliance the shapers of the text recorded its core in the tope of a metaphor.' The strand of images we have in John as mother and bride are obscured and open to interpretation on several levels, but certainly allow for new feminist ideas to illuminate the text.

The fourth section looks at parables of wisdom/Sophia. The idea of wisdom being a feminine image is prominent in the Hebrew scriptures, and carries over into much of Jesus' own speech. Jesus personifies Jerusalem and Wisdom as feminine, mothering figures who weep for and protect their children; however, Wisdom is also vindicated by her children. Reid likens this to the current climate in the church.

`Wisdom's female children in the church today continue to experience the frustration of having been schooled in her Word and in her ways, yet find resistance, rejection, and even vilification when they attempt to proclaim the Word or preside at the Eucharistic table. This gospel parable can offer hope to women today with its assurance of vindication for all of Wisdom's children.'

The fifth and final section is itself a new parable, written by Christin Lore Weber. It is more in the manner of a short story than a parable (most parables being relatively short). It is a mythic parable, and one that will perhaps not resonate well with those looking for a more traditional message. This parable is offered without commentary - Jesus frequently gave commentary to the disciples, but not to the crowds. This parable is meant for the crowds.

Overall, `The Lost Coin' offers a fascinating look at parables. Much material for reflection and for preaching in new and refreshing ways can be gathered from the pages of this text. The recovery of lost or obscured images and voices is a primary task for the authors; the presentation not only of new interpretations but also of new questions to be asked is also important here. What difference will this make? That is not an easy question; indeed, it is a question to be asked in each community separately.

Many of the essays introduce principles of exegesis and historical analysis, but some familiarity with hermeneutic approaches and biblical studies is assumed. However, this is not a text meant solely for an academic audience. It would be very useful for church-based bible studies and small community groups who wish to look at parables in a new way.

I would like to turn for a moment at the conclusion to one particular chapter, `Women's Work and the Realm of God', by Holly Hearon and Antoinette Clark Wire (because Holly Hearon is a friend of mine, I shall give pride of place to highlighting her chapter). This chapter looks at women's work, particularly baking and spinning, as these are traditional occupations for women in ancient times as well as in most of the world today. Hearon and Wire examine the issues following multiple strategies that look at historical, textual, linguistic, ideological, and current readership concerns. Finally, the authors invite the readers to take these things into consideration and `revision ourselves differently: not as exploited workers in the patriarchal household, but as the hands of God who promises a new economy for the household of God.'


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