January 2, 2014

Catholic Women’s Bible

The word “catholic” means universal, which aptly describes the Catholic Women’s Bible with its timeless, universal appeal to women everywhere. As stated in the introduction by Woodeene Koenig-Bricker (one of my favorite contemporary devotional writers): “We have tried to highlight some of the women without whom God’s plan for humanity would not have unfolded as it has…. Their situations and circumstances may be different from ours, but the longings and dreams haven’t changed.” With colorful inserts to acquaint us with women throughout the Bible, we “come to realize that these women are not just figures out of a distant past. They are our sisters.”

In addition to these unique features, the visually-appealing cover speaks of light and levity and seems to draw the reader to look up and into the pages of scripture.

Published by Our Sunday Visitor, those scriptures comes to us in the revised New American Bible, which includes deuterocanonical books often referred to by Bible publishers as “apocryphal.” Also, other Christian publishers often place deuterocanonical books between the two testaments or after Revelation, whereas a Catholic edition interweaves the books according to their primary category.

At the beginning of this Bible, for example, “The Names and Order of the Books of the Bible” lists “Biblical Novellas” (Tobit, Judith, Esther, and I and II Maccabees) as located between the books of history and books of wisdom. Then, besides Job , Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon (or Song of Songs), “The Wisdom Books” include The Book of Wisdom and The Wisdom of Ben Sira (aka Sirach), whose inspired words continue to inspire those of us who read them.

In referring to the deuterocanonical or apocryphal books, we’re talking, of course, of the Hebrew Bible aka Old Testament. In any New Testament Bible published by any publisher, you will find the same books in the same order with the same devotion among Christians – male or female – in any church anywhere. However, Christian women who want to relate to the women of the Bible will welcome this lovely edition where we meet such interesting but often overlooked people as “Mrs. Noah: Standing by Her Man” or Asenath “Joseph’s Egyptian Wife” or the prophetess Anna with her “intuitive nature” or “Mrs. Peter: The Woman Behind The Man,” each of whom helps us to learn more about ourselves and one another and, ultimately, the “Bride of Christ: The Church.”

©2014, review by Mary Harwell Sayler

Catholic Women’s Bible, paperback

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