Hebrews 11: Women of Faith

Editor’s note: this creative reinterpretation of Hebrews 11 focusing on the roles that women played in forming the Judeo-Christian faith story was originally shared at the Gathering Place Sabbath School at the Loma Linda University Church. It appears here courtesy of the author.  


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/11697
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this is quite an interesting flight of fancy, and quite provocative…perhaps my only criticism is that it seems to represent an intent to invest biblical women with the thought and feeling patterns of modern women, which may not be valid…i think biblical women, for the most part, likely thought in terms of their world, and assumed those dimensions in their thinking, with few exceptions, eg., the five daughters of Zelophehad; the woman from Canaan with a demon-possessed daughter…did noah’s wife really exercise faith by following him into the ark, or did she have no choice that she, or anyone, would have considered…it is the case that the subjugation of women in the bible lasted for many, many centuries, and this doesn’t seem possible had it not been for their implicit consent…the subjugation of women certainly didn’t last in america and elsewhere when they began to object…

but there’s no denying that if biblical women thought and felt like modern women - and we can’t say they certainly didn’t, at least on a partial level - it is the case, as this piece suggests, that the faith of biblical women was greater than the faith of the men in their lives…in any case, thinking of biblical women in our terms makes them more interesting, and relevant…

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Jeremy vanderman, just also my thoughts on the matter ! We have to live our life in environments quite different to the one of Sarah and Mary and Junia and Priscilla and Lydia ,the business woman out of the “Luxury” section - - -

  • see, and what about Ruth or Bathseba ??? - the latter one switching world history - see 1. Kings 1 !
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> By faith Eve lived with the ignominy of being the first sinner. She experienced the pain and uncertainty of giving birth to the first human offspring on the planet, without a midwife or any other woman to help her know what was happening. By faith she survived the realization that her sin caused not only Abel’s murder but would cause innumerable other deaths, and the death of One to come.

I take some exception to this portrayal of Eve. The bible makes clear that Eve was “Beguiled” by the serpent and even though she was the first to sin she was mislead by Satan. Genesis makes clear that Adam, knowing that Eve had committed evil, but not wanting to loose her, ate the apple knowingly going against God. Adam chose Eve over God. I feel he was the one who brought down our world. We don’t even know for sure that God would have created another women for Adam, had he not KNOWINGLY eaten the fruit. I am a male, but I understand that man created the mess we all live in.

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interesting point…it kind of makes you wonder about Paul’s assertion that god has winked at sins of ignorance in the past…

This is an excellent article for many reasons.
First, it is creative and insightful. It is giving us a feminist version of the Apostle Paul’s very masculine presentation of Hebrews 11.
Secondly, it is inspiring to present the way God has utilized the talents of women in so many varied settings facing so many challenges.
Thirdly, it is most timely in light of current events in Europe going on right now to consider the role that women are playing as warriors, Mothers, sisters, heroines for freedom in the Ukraine crisis.
Thank you Barbara for reminding us men how much we are indebted to women always.

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Thanks. To re-imagine Hebrews through different stories breathes new life into the understanding of faith.

But what’s the difference between living faithfully and enduring oppression? If silent victims are affirmed as faithful, does that do anything beyond putting a holy stamp on oppression? Is our reading of the biblical narrative capable of shifting from recognising that ancient women were abused an undervalued to empowering women today? Or do we need new stories of women who won’t accept being treated as second class, who escape the shadow of men to demand to be honoured as God’s daughters in their own right?

What great questions, Paul.

Do you have any thought about this?

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