Tuesday, June 17

12x12: Good Girls, Bad Girls

Good Girls, Bad Girls: The Enduring Lessons of Twelve Women of the Old Testament
T.J. Wray

I got this book a few years ago on the annual Religion department field trip to Minnesota! We went to Luther University, which happens to have a pretty sweet book store. I found this, was instantly hooked... and then never read it. Typical, M. Very typical.

What I Loved:
  • The question should really be, what didn't I love about this book. It definitely takes a more academic approach to the Old Testament, which was really comforting to me because I haven't taken a religion class since 2008. It felt like coming home to Simpson.
  • The author took context into account in every story, which was a really great way to read deeper into it. I learned a lot about how biblical women lived day-to-day, slightly deeper than what I heard about in college.
  • The chapters are separated by woman/character, and then by the actual text, some background, what the story can teach us, and lessons to be learned. It actually reads a lot like a sermon, especially when you get to the end of each chapter and the "lessons" we can learn by each woman. Some people might think the lessons were a little cheesy, but I liked them.
  • The author definitely took a different perspective with several "bad girls" than we usually see in biblical literature. For example, in Delilah's story (the one with Sampson), she writes a lot about how Sampson was basically this loose canon, Jewish terrorist, going around killing mass amounts of people whenever he felt like it. When Delilah asks him how to take away his strength, she never lies to him. He's the one who keeps lying to her about how to do it. While we all (probably) grew up seeing Sampson as this mythical hero, he's kind of a huge asshole. If we look at the story from Delilah's perspective - a single woman under pressure from the authorities to turn over a known terrorist who she doesn't even love, the story has a much different feel to it.
What I Wasn't Crazy About:
  • I wish it was longer and included New Testament women too.
Would I Recommend This Book?
  • Yes, yes, yes! I love it when literature makes me look at a well-known story from a different perspective, and this book does it in spades!
  • Now, if you have a more conservative, literal, fundamentalist take on the Bible, I don't know if you'll like this book. It's not that the writer is "liberal," but she definitely looks at that history of biblical women and keeps everything in historical context. She doesn't assume every story is factually true - to the contrary, she often mentions how these stories are written hundreds of years after the fact, and they all serve a political purpose or valuable lesson (like to warn against foreign wives and influences). This news isn't really news to me, but it may be contrary to some beliefs. Maybe that's a good reason to read it, anyway.
  • While this book wasn't life-changing or world-rocking for me, it was a really interesting book and I liked literally everything about it. I'd definitely recommend it!
Have you ever read this book? Would you recommend it?

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