Thursday, November 03, 2016

CEB Women's Bible

Like other bloggers on the RevGalBlogPal site, I was thrilled to catch the invitation to read and review the Common English Women's Bible. As an Episcopal priest I tend to use the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible and am fond of the Oxford Annotated edition, which I purchased while in seminary. As a woman and a priest I have struggled with the dominant male voice in the church, often at the complete exclusion of female voices. So, over the years I have actively sought out all resources and Bible commentaries by women and from a woman's perspective. Thus I was immediately drawn to review this Bible, and have high hopes for its translation, its accuracy and clarity. I am also hopeful that this interpretation will provide new insight into well known texts by lifting up women's stories which may otherwise lie in more obscure positions in the Biblical text. 

Due to some sort of shipping glitch I did not receive the CEB until a few days ago. Unlike some who have had this Bible for a few weeks and have used it for their daily devotions, I have had little chance to engage the text. Still, my focused review and reading of some of the texts, leaves me hopeful that this Bible will become a favorite. Every Tuesday I preside at a weekday Eucharist in the parish. A small handful of elderly women attend. I always lift up a female saint from the official Episcopal book of saints, and speak about the witness of women in the church and the world. I anticipate that this Bible will become an active part of that service and the Bible study that follows. I think the women will appreciate hearing from and studying through a Bible that is focused on both accurate translations and the point of view of women. I especially like the sidebar notes that the Bible contains, unpacking the text in richer detail. 

My only dismay is that, despite the effort to call Jesus "human one" every reference to God (at least those I have read in the Psalms) uses male pronouns. It would have been more helpful to use both male and female pronouns for God, and even occasionally no pronoun - God she, God he, God God. That would have opened up the image of God in a fuller, richer, more expansive, perhaps even provocative way. 

Overall, thank you for this Bible. It is not your typical "woman's Bible." 

The CEB Women’s Bible.  (c) 2016. Abingdon Press.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided this book without cost from the publisher and was not required to give a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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