March 8, 2019 — Who does not know the wonderful story of Martha and Mary in Luke’s Gospel? Martha receives Jesus at home. Stressed by domestic care, she resented her sister Mary who chose instead to listen to Jesus. Jesus replied: "Martha, Martha, you are worried and agitated about many things. Only one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the right part, which will not be taken away from her. "(Luke 10:38-42)
What if the text did not speak of household chores, but of the fact that Martha was performing the duties of a female deacon in the early Church? "It was a great surprise to the women theologians who took up the original text in Greek. They discovered that there is no mention of stewardship or meals in this text. Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza highlights the discovery that in Greek, what is translated as "service" is diakonia… which also means: a ministry!", can we learn by reading the book Une bible des femmes (a womens’ bible).
This collective work is the initiative of some twenty French-speaking women theologians, Protestants and Catholics from Europe, Africa and Quebec. In twelve powerful texts, these theologians offer us a feminist reading of certain passages of the Bible that speak of women.
"We can do a feminist reading of the Bible, like any other work. Unfortunately, Bible readings have always been done by men and for men," explains Pierrette Daviau in her interview on the show Plus on est de fous plus on lit from Radio-Canada.
Pierrette Daviau is a Quebec theologian who co-edited the book with her colleagues in Geneva, Élisabeth Parmentier and Lauriane Savoy. She wanted to show that feminist values and Bible reading are not incompatible. "Several religions have been against women, oppressed them, used them. This is not only the case for the Catholic religion, she says. The Bible was a kind of support for this somewhat technical study of texts that referred to more sexist content or that put women under oppression."
With no less than 45 articles or reports, this book has generated a tremendous amount of enthusiasm in the media of the French-speaking world. And rightly so! Well written and accessible, Une bible des femmes reads like a beautiful story, a story that is not often heard. A story that is unfortunately only told on the occasion of a certain March 8 each year…