Lost Women of the Bible offers character studies of some of the lessor known women of the Bible, featuring women such as Noah's wife and Hagar. Carolyn Curtis James uses more of a devotional meditative style to explore the characters. In all honesty, that style just didn't work for me, probably due to my own preference to less abstract Bible study. I've had the book for sometime, struggled to finish it. That said, Curtis James brings up many excellent points and offers new insight into some of the biblical women.
Curtis James approached the study from the point of view of a women who doesn't stereotypes of the Christian woman. As she says, "The pattern for women handed down to us in the church simply doesn't fit all sizes and shapes that women come in these days." Singles, for instance do not fit that mold. "However, many of us---more than ever before---are alone, not simply through the death of a spouse but often because we never married or are divorcd. Many are single parents. We are better educated and have more career opportunties than any previous generation." Curtis James believes the Bible speak to Christian singles. "Although singleness was exceedingly rare in ancient Hebrew culture, no one knows if Miriam, Mary and Mary Magdalene ever married. In a jarring break from the culture (and without diminishing the family), the New Testament anchors a woman's identity and purpose to her relationship with Jesus rather than her parentage, her marital status, or her children."
Though much of her work is more of a character study, Curtis James does address ancient languages. In her study of Eve, she writes on the meaning of ezer. "Further research indicates ezer is a powerful Hebrew military word who significance was have barely begun to unpack. The ezer is a warrior, and this has far-reaching implications for women, not only in marriage but in every relationship, season, and walk of life." She also takes a new view of the role of circumsion in the spirital life of women. "Far from excluding women, the rite of circumscion made women indispensible. Obviously no man can reproduce physically by himself."
Curtis James strength, however, is her ability to put herself in the position of biblical women and see from their perspective. In speaking of the "promise" to Abraham in Genesis 12:1-2, Curtis James highlights the lack of promise for Sarah. "He talked about Abraham's calling and Abraham's future. God hadn't spoken a word about Sarah. God's silence concerning Sarah must have chilled her to the bone," she writes.
She also parralells Hagar's life with women in the modern church. "We wonder secretly in the church when women's gfits and ministries are valuded less than men's or when 'kingdom work' is protrayed in manly terms and located outside the home. It hits us hardest when we're going through some personal crisis where we feel like a prop in someone else's story or when God himself seems too busy helping others to pay much attention to us." Curtis James points out that God "found" Hagar in the wilderness, which means He went looking for her. He wasn't too busy for her. In fact, Custis James points out that God saw Hagar. "Her (Hagar's) next two actions reveal what real theology is all about. First, she does the unthinkable. She gives God a name. No one else in Scripture--male or female-- ever names God. Hagar does. She names him El Roi: 'the God who sees me.' The new name she gives to God expresses her most basic theological conviction: she is not invisible to God."
Curtis James offers other such insights into the women of the Bible, and does a great job not only seeing the struggles of women in the church, but seeing the struggles of women in the church through the lens of the stuggles of women in the Bible. This would be a great study book for group.