Books by Rose Sallberg Kam

Released: March 1, 1995

A good, but less than earthshaking, discussion of biblical women, designed for study, reflection, and inspiration. Freelance writer Kam believes that by questioning the social and cultural biases of the writers of the Bible, women can find new interpretations and insights in their own struggles against what is still a male-dominated society. She envisions this book as an aid in that quest. Following an introduction on how to use her volume and a prologue that describes the life situation of women during biblical times and the multiplicity of deities (male and female) worshiped then, Kam presents the stories of most of the women of both the Old and New Testaments. Each chapter, devoted to a woman or group of related women, follows a similar format. A background section provides the context of the story both in the text itself and in its historical setting. This is followed by a retelling of the story, paraphrased in order to avoid the allegedly sexist language of the original material. For each section, Kam then provides a homiletical meditation, followed by a prayer, a series of ``connections'' (questions for discussion and further reflection), and a bibliography for further reading. Of particular interest is her discussion of the prophet Huldah, who is sought out by the priest Hilkiah, on behalf of King Josiah, to judge the authenticity of a newly found book of the Law; Kam portrays Huldah as the founder of biblical criticism. Kam disputes that Rahab (the Canaanite woman who aided the Israelite occupation of her homeland) was a prostitute, even though she is so identified in the biblical text. Rebekah, Isaac's wife, is vividly depicted as a powerful woman and a manipulative matriarch for Israel. Absent are Zelophehad's five daughters, whose actions changed Israelite inheritance laws, and Orpah, who is seen as a mere foil in the story of Ruth and Naomi. Based almost entirely on the work of white feminists, the volume could have benefitted by more attention to scholarship by women of color. Best suited to a women's study group or Sunday school setting, the volume may be used as well for personal daily devotions. Read full book review >