The score of theologians and historians who are behind A Bible of Women They could have proposed a new commandment: you will not throw away the Bible even if you are a feminist, and you will not reject feminism because you are a Christian. They have preferred to leave it as a mere inspiring guide to a book that emerged in the wave of the feminist movement Me Too and that seeks to change the attitude of "anger" of many women towards the fundamental text of Christianity "So much time used to perpetuate numerous patriarchal stereotypes about women", they explain in the introduction of the work.
The idea arose, says Lauriane Savoy, co-director of the project, in a telephone conversation, about the realization that "there are many women who do not know the biblical texts, but they do have many prejudices, they believe that the Bible is totally obsolete texts, that they are vehicles of stereotypes neither current nor compatible with the values of equality and feminism that we have today ". But for the authors of the Women's Bible, both Protestants and Savoy as Catholics, coming from four different generations and from several francophone countries, from Canada to Cameroon, "You can read the Bible being a feminist, and even reading the Bible can nourish us as feminists. "
Especially because, they argue, You can not understand the world today without the Bible. "It is one of the founding texts of our culture, not only the European one, and it is very important, on the one hand, to know the founding texts in order to understand how history has evolved. But also to respond to anti-feminist arguments, because there are still contexts in which precise extracts from the Bible are used to legitimize the submission of women, and it is important to know the texts, "says Savoy from Geneva, where he teaches practical theology in the University of Geneva, founded in the sixteenth century by Calvin.
And texts difficult to explain with a feminist vision abound in the Bible, the authors acknowledge. As the question of "modesty" and "submission" of women in texts such as the Epistle of Paul to the Ephesians, which occupies one of the chapters of the Bible of Women, or the "limited", distorted or directly ignored paper of women in the Bible.
The question can not be avoided. So, Jesus was a feminist? On the other side of the phone, Lauriane Savoy lets out a laugh. "We do not want to instrumentalize or appropriate God or Christ, but of course we see in his words and actions that Jesus goes first to the minorities, to the less frequents of the society of his time, such as prostitutes or tax collectors who they collaborate with the Roman occupant, "he recalls. "There is that important word that says that prostitutes and publicans will precede us in the kingdom of God," he stresses. "Christ shows the value of each one, goes beyond feminism, it is egalitarianism, they are all children of God".
"The tradition, for centuries, has wanted to limit a lot the female characters; On one side we have Eva, presented as a woman created from the rib of Adam and as the temptation responsible for the fall of humanity, and on the other the figure of Mary, mother and virgin, an impossible model to imitate by women " , points out the theologian. All this, he adds, when there are many other women "brave, with an important role, who do not correspond to stereotypes" in the sacred texts of Christianity. Like the prophetesses Deborah and Hulda in the Old Testament, "Women who hold a position of authority in society and who are heard" Or Mary Magdalene herself, a "fundamental figure for Christianity, a prophetic figure" but who for centuries was presented as a mere prostitute, recalls Savoy.
The work does not come out of nowhere. It has a precedent that is openly inspired, the Bible of the Woman compiled at the end of the 19th century by the American suffragette Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815-1902) and another score of women. But it goes further, stresses the Swiss theologian. "First we thought about doing a French translation and adding critical comments, but we realized that it had already been overcome, not only by feminist theology, but also by male biblical scholars who in the last decades have done many studies on the place of the woman in the Bible. We wanted to make these investigations known. "
The new one Women's Bible Nor is it a current Bible, but rather a 281-page work in which the authors make a critical review of the most controversial passages of the Christian text and interpretations over centuries of them. And it is not addressed to religious or theologians, but to a general public and, above all, both women and men, "who must also reflect on the image of the woman they have and the one offered by the Bible," says Savoy. Published this autumn in French, it could soon reach the Spanish market. According to its editorial, Labor et Fides, two Spanish houses have already shown their interest.