NOTABLE BY THEIR ABSENCE:
An Annotated Survey of Some Works in Biblical Studies
Revealing Attitudes about Women in Christianity
Marilyn A. Hudson, M.L.I.S
It does not take long for someone engaged in research to quickly note that in the scores of volumes written to comment, illustrate, explain, or defend Christian thought, there is a an absence. Through the pages women are often totally missing, sections of scripture focusing on a woman are not explored, and cultural biases are interjected into translations and exegesis.
In the process of researching the subjects of notable women of the Bible, the following examples were located. Seeking to find and note commentary on women such as Miriam, Deborah, Huldah, and others. What was found revealed the often extreme biases, sexism, and disregard of anything related to women in scripture.
Hastings, James, ed. The Speakers Bible. Vol. 11, Baker, 1971.
Seeking to find additional insights into the story of the prophet Huldah, it was surprising to find that the work did not even address the event in Chronicles 2.
Simeon, Charles. Expository Outlines of the Whole Bible. Zondervan, 1955.
Although originally published in 1847, the work had been updated. This work too chose not to address Chronicles 11:1-16.
Carter, Charles W. 1 Corinthians and Ephesians. Wesleyan Bible Commentary. Eerdmans, 1965.
“The superior position of man due to the face that he was first created…in the image of God…the highest of all creatures. Woman was…made from man, and is thus subservient to him…” (pg. 189). Then goes on to do some fancy footwork with Paul to affirm there was no domination in Christianity.
Parker, Joseph. Preaching through the Bible. Baker, 1971.
In reference to 1 Cor. 11.14 and the discussion of women and the church. “The apostle is speaking about a subject…of no interest to us…the principle is of perpetual value and application. (pg. 261).
Wilson, William. Wilson’s Old Testament Word Studies. McClean, Virginia: McDonald Pub., n.d.
“to rule, to have dominion” (pg. 363).
Genesuis, William, et al. A Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament. Oxford, 1955.
“rule, dominion, realm” and ‘rule of heavenly bodies” as in Gen. 1.16 (pg. 606).
Nelson’s expository dictionary of Old Testament. Nelson, 1980.
“To rule, reign or have dominion” as the sun and moon in Genesis 1.18; 3,16; 24.2 (pg. 341).
Bromiley, Geoffrey W. Theological dictionary of the New Testament. Eerdmans 1985.
Gyne - :Judaism viewed women as greedy, inquisitive, vain, and frivolous” (pg. 135).
Tasker, R.V.G. The Gospel according to St. Matthew. Eerdmans, 1981.
Despite the fact that in the healing of Peter’s mother Jesus breaks rules of touching a woman and values her enough to heal her, the only thing the commentary writer can say is the section is “interesting” because of the evidence Peter had a house (pg. 89).
The Anchor Bible. Matthew. Volume 26. Doubleday, 1971.
The healing of Peter’s mother is merely lumped with other general “healings” (pg. 93).
Barrett, C.K. First Epistle to the Corinthians. Harper & Row, 1968.
While saying woman is downtrodden in Christianity, the author continues by saying woman “was brought forth from man, and was intended from the begin
The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, vol. Romans-Galations. Zondervan, 1976.
In reference to the eleventh chapter of 1 Corinthians, notes that although God created Adam and Eve and gave them dominion, Paul’s argument is based solely on ‘man’s prior creation’. Yet, “lest he be misunderstood”…Paul argues that man and woman are equal in the Lord and mutually dependent (pg. 255b).
Elwell, Walter A. Encyclopedia of the Bible. Baker, 1988.
The order of creation and eve’s sin and the subordination of woman “are universal principles rather than cultural norms…not open to varying interpretations” (pg. 2158).
Dods, Marcus. Expositor’s Greek Testament. Vol. 1. Eerdmans, n.d.
“not interesting for anything said” (pg. 140-141).
Findlay, G.G. The Expositor’s Greek New Testament. Eerdmans, n.d.
In reference to 1 Cor. 11.7-16, “man as the direct reflexion (sic) of God, woman as derived and auxiliary” yet in comments on verse 7 later, he contradicts this saying she is not his reflection but his “counterpart”
The Interpreter’s Bible. Vol. X. Abingdon, 1953.
Notes the probable rabbinic source of the emphasis on the male focused creation and then contradicts himself in v. 11 (pg. 125-126).
Jamieson, Faucett, and Brown. A Commentary, critical, experimental, and practical in the Old and New Testaments. Eerdmans, 1948.
Regarding Matt 8 (pg. 53) little treatment but concerned over if it was a “little fever” or a”big fever”.
Metz, Donald S. 1 Corinthians. Beacon Bible Commentary, volume 8. Beacon Hill Press, 1968.
Argues ‘man and woman are equal’ though for ‘administrative purposes the woman is subordinate to the man’, yet this is followed by “so all the ranks and all levels disappear in His grace and service’ (pg. 416). Woman was created a helpmeet to the man, who was created in “the image of God” (pg. 415).
Spence and Ezell. Pulpit Commentary, vol. 19. Eerdmans, 1978.
“woman is not directly the glory of God…she is the glory of the man directly…man is the sun, woman the moon” (pg. 378).