Friday, May 5, 2017

Spending Time with The Women of Easter

     While many people are familiar with certain aspects of the Crucifixion and even that the word excruciating was created in an attempt to explain the pain of the execution, many may not be aware that the family and friends of the one crucified may be targeted to be tortured or executed as well just for being there.  This is something Liz Curtis Higgs claims in the book The Women of Easter and this light makes it all the more impressive for those who gathered near the cross and stayed with Jesus in those last hours and even minutes.  John is known to be there and Mary the mother of Christ, but Higgs' book delves deeply into the women that were there as well as the time leading up to Good Friday.  Higgs starts with Mary of Bethany and Jesus bringing Lazarus back to life and continues all the way through the resurrection with all the doubts, questions, blindness, and resultant joy.

     On the whole this book was vastly deep, entertaining, and it drew the reader in in unexpected ways.  Looking at Easter and everything leading up to it through the eyes of these women revealed new angles to consider and helps the reader to connect emotionally in a new way.  However, toward the end, while discussing the importance of God using women (considered so unimportant at that time) to announce the resurrection, Higgs gains a tone that hadn't been apparent until that point. "Can a woman spread the good news? Oh yes she can!" (187). While this is important to know the point that Higgs makes of it throughout this last chapter is almost to the point of insulting.  In Biblical times this may not have been an accepted fact, but to think that this needs to be said (and more than once) with such fervency as if she is saying something new and unthought of seems to put women back a hundred years or more.

     With the one questionable point where Higgs seems to almost put the negative idea back into women's head, the book is otherwise stellar.  And perhaps, the benefit of the doubt should be given on that one point.  Maybe Higgs is simply speaking to those who take Paul's words about women teaching and speaking out of the context of the time and place.  Anyone looking to study women in the Bible or go deeper into the emotional context of Easter should consider reading this book.