Do not "throw the Bible if you are a feminist": theologians publish a women's Bible

The project was launched in Geneva by Elisabeth Parmentier and Lauriane Savoy, two teachers of the Faculty of Theology founded more than four centuries ago (1559) by Jean Calvin, the father of French Protestantism.


The project was launched in Geneva by Elisabeth Parmentier and Lauriane Savoy, two teachers of the Faculty of Theology founded more than four centuries ago (1559) by Jean Calvin, the father of French Protestantism.

Tired of seeing the Bible used to legitimize a "submission of women" , twenty or so Protestant and Catholic theologians claiming to be feminists also came together to publish "A Women's Bible" .

"We have seen around us that there is a great deal of ignorance about Bible texts, many people who do not know them anymore, or who think that they are completely out of date and at [...] least in line with the values. equality, etc. Says Lauriane Savoy, 33.

The project was launched in Geneva by Elisabeth Parmentier and Lauriane Savoy, two teachers of the Faculty of Theology. | FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

The idea was, she continues, to "show that feminist values ​​and the reading of the Bible are not incompatible" .

A Woman's Bible already written in 1898 by a suffragette

"We wanted to work ecumenically, we are Catholics, Protestants from different families of Protestantism and coming from different French-speaking countries, with the idea of ​​representing the diversity of women," said Mrs. Parmentier, 57 years old.

Published a few weeks ago, "A Women's Bible" is also a tribute to a book with a similar title: the "Woman's Bible" , published in 1898 under the direction of the American suffragette Elizabeth Cady Stanton who, already, indignant male interpretations of the Bible.

A different vision of Mary Magdalene

"Our chapters scrutinize wanderings of the Christian tradition, occultations, tendentious translations, partial interpretations, hints of patriarchy that may have led to many restrictions, even prohibitions for women" , explain the authors in the introduction of the work.

An example of feminist reading with Marie-Madeleine or Marie de Magdala. "It's the female character who comes back most in the Gospels," recalls Lauriane Savoy.

"She stays with Jesus, even when he is going to die on the cross when all the male disciples were afraid, it is she who goes to the tomb first and discovers the resurrection [...] it is a fundamental person then that she has been described as a prostitute who was at the feet of Jesus, perhaps even the lover of Jesus in recent fiction , " says Mrs. Savoy.

Put texts in context

Theologians also take care to place the texts in their context and scope, especially when they re-read some letters sent by Saint Paul to emerging Christian communities containing passages that can easily be read as radically anti-feminist.

"It's like taking letters that someone sends to give advice considering that they are valid for eternity ... that's why we fight against a literalist reading that takes texts in the first degree, " says Ms. Parmentier.

Theologians thus approach the Bible through different themes: the body, seduction, motherhood, subordination ... The book ends by giving the word to Mary, the mother of Jesus.

Editor surprised at " success " of women's Bible

And at a time when the #Metoo movement has given new life to the feminist struggle, "each chapter is based on women's existential questions, questions that arise today," Ms. Parmentier added.

The book is "a pretty beginning of success" , welcomes his publisher, Matthieu Mégevand, director of Protestant publishing house Labor and Fides. On the one hand, "we are surprised because, when we put the word 'Bible' in a title, it may tend to put off ," he says. But we also thought it could be interesting given the current feminist issues. "

"Compared to those who say that we must throw the Bible if we are feminist, we, our bet, it is precisely not necessary , " says Ms. Parmentier.

REF: https://www.ouest-france.fr/societe/religions/ne-pas-jeter-la-bible-si-l-est-feministe-des-theologiennes-publient-une-bible-des-femmes-6094704

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