Thus Saith Eve BOOK REVIEW by Katie M. Deaver


“I am the Queen of Sheba and I am not impressed.”  This is the first line of one of the monologues from chris wind’s book Thus Saith Eve.  This book features 18 stories of biblical women, and a 19th, Lilith, from Jewish mythology.  Each monologue offers a new interpretation and gives a voice to the women that we think we know.

In this book the voices and personalities of women such as Noah’s wife, Mary of Bethany, Zipporah, and Vashti are reimagined in an exciting and empowering way.  Each of the stories also features an appendix where the reader can learn more about the biblical or mythological context of the woman who is telling her story.

As in her other works, wind uses historical people, events, and understandings to build a truly wonderful source of feminist fiction.  In addition to being an extremely enjoyable and thought provoking read, the monologues can also be used for audition and performance pieces.  On her website wind explains that two of the monologues, “I am Eve” and “I am Mary” can be performed with specific musical selections in the background.  You can find those selections linked to her website above.

 

One of the monologues, featuring Mary of Bethany, starts with the line “That’s right.  There were thirteen of us.  One of us was a woman.” I may be a bit biased because Mary of Bethany is one of my favorite biblical women, but the way in which wind is able to bring forth the snarky, smart, and confident essences of these women is truly masterful.  Mary’s story goes on to explain how women have been edited out of the biblical texts throughout the ages and highlights the importance of the Apocrypha and other similar texts.

In the monologues of another Mary, this time Magdalen, wind uses pieces of the resurrection story from multiple gospels to highlight the importance of the women’s role in proclaiming the resurrection.  Mary says, “You see, Christ knew He could trust us to tell the others exactly what had happened.  And we did.  We ran laughing, ecstatic, with joy and love, and told the world who we were and what we had seen.  But sadly, typically, our “words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not” (Luke 24:11).  So weak is your faith, so strong your misogyny.”  In addition to that wonderful last line, I also love the image of joy and love that wind creates in this monologue.  To think of these women, so joyful, so excited to share the news of the resurrection makes me appreciate their role in the biblical story even more.

The monologue “I am Eve” allows Eve to respond to many of the accusations that theology and society have leveled at her.  She says, “I have also been charged with a lack of faith.  Yet I took it on faith in the first place that God told us not to eat from the tree: remember, he gave the command to Adam before I even existed (Gen. 2:16-17).  Further, I had faith in the serpent, I trusted the serpent to be telling the truth.  Is it dishonorable to trust?…God commanded innocence, then held me responsible for an act of innocent intent.”

By imagining and expanding the personalities and voices of these women wind allows us to read the biblical text, as well as understand the history, in a completely new way.  As I read this book I felt like I got to know these biblical and mythological women in a way that I wouldn’t have imagined possible.  In addition to simply being a truly enjoyable fiction read I believe these monologues would also be a wonderful addition to a daily spiritual practice, and look forward to using them in that way myself.

 

 

Dr. Katie M. Deaver, earned her Ph.D. in Feminist Theology at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. Deaver holds a B.A. in Religion and Music from Luther College in Decorah, IA, as well as MATS and Th.M. degrees from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. Her dissertation explored the connections between the Christian understanding of atonement theology and the prevalence of domestic violence in the United States. Her other areas of interest include the connection between power and violence, sexual ethics, and working toward the elimination of the oppression and exploitation of women and girls around the world.

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Categories: Activism, Ancestors, Authorship, Bible, Books, Female Saints, Feminism and Religion, Feminist Theology, Fiction, Foremothers, Gender, General, Herstory

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19 replies

  1. Sounds like great feminist midrash. High time for Christians to fully recognize midrash as one of the ways to transform tradition!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Facebook is still not responding to our multiple requests to stop blocking FAR. Here is the notice I just got: The content you’re trying to share includes a link that our security systems detected to be unsafe:

    feminismandreligion.files.wordpress.com

    Please remove this link to continue.
    If you think you’re seeing this by mistake, please let us know.

    Of course they don’t tell us what we have to do, so we have no way to fix this, and yes when you report it, they tell you they don’t read or respond to the reports but don’t worry, the report could have an effect.

    Please foil fb by posting the url on fb with a note as to why you are resorting to this method.

    https://feminismandreligion.com/2018/07/11/thus-saith-eve-book-review-by-katie-m-deaver/#comment-369598

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Reblogged this on silverapplequeen and commented:
    Add this book to the list!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Carol, I am so disgusted and upset with Facebook that I am pulling out because of this incident … I am appalled… every time I think about this behavior it becomes MORE inexcusable. I will however, do as you ask.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. 1. Katie, thanks for this book review. It seems to be a really good and useful book.

    2. Carol and FAR administrators: I’ve been posting my FAR posts on my FB page for about as long as I’ve been writing for FAR. I just looked at my FB page and read that “looks like spam so we removed it” notice. I clicked on “It’s not spam,” and got a reply that says it “doesn’t meet our community standards.” What standards?? They let people post hate and bullying, but not feminism? Who’s running FB? The prophet Hosea? A Trumpeter? It’s ridiculous. I’ll give your suggestion a try.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. OK, now FB says they “can’t download” the contents of the link. What does that mean?

    Like

  7. I went to my “liked” pages and found FAR easily, but every post is marked as “removed”. It is followed by some photos that are not from us. It looks like someone has taken over the page from the comments section. Probably a good idea to turn off the FB “comments” section if and when this gets sorted out. Comments can also be restricted. It looks like anyone can post now, and an anti-feminist person or group has entered the stage.

    I wonder if we really want to be on FB anyway. People share some pretty personal and intimate stories here. Once they hit FB there is no privacy.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Katie, this sounds like a good book. I’m interested in re-interpreting the Bible stories. For instance, someone recently remarked that in Genesis 2, naming the animals is relational. That has been interpreted and acted upon from the stand point of the patriarchy. But if we interpret it differently, it becomes intimate and connected instead of domineering and oppressive. So in my vision of the story, the man and the woman sit together on the ground. As the other animals come to them they meet eye to eye, and the humans ask “What is your name”. Maybe the other animals asked that question too – and what reply would they get from “Adam” and “Eve”. How do we experience ourselves?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your comment Barbara it truly is a lovely book! I love the way you describe that process of naming and getting to know one another… what a wonderful way to think about that relationship that isn’t centered in the typical “power over” type of framework.

      Like

  9. I am so sorry for all of these facebook frustrations! Please know we are frustrated along with you. Gina is our fb expert and she is working to get things figured out. We did find out that facebook has blocked thousands of pages in the last few days in order to “fix” the pre-election fake news issues so if it is any consolation we are not alone and do hope that facebook will fix the problem soon so we can go back to sharing our voices on that platform, if that still seems like a good way to promote the project. Stay tuned and hopefully things will be working better soon.

    Like

  10. Thanks for telling us about this book, Katie. I’m going to get it and share it with my Bible study group. That should be fun and eye-opening. :)

    Liked by 1 person

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