As a theologian and all around Bible geek, I’m sure most of you thought I would be geeking out to The History Channel’s miniseries on The Bible. But I’m not. I’m not even watching it. Sure back in the day when The History Channel actually showed history, I probably would’ve been geeking out. But this is the channel who now airs shows like Ancient Aliens and Swamp Loggers, so I didn’t watch. I have to say after reading what some of my friends thought about it, I’m glad I missed it. Then I read this scathing review by Wil Gafney, Black Samson and White Women on the History Channel, and I’m really glad I’m not wasting my time:
A partial list of the women who have been cut from the narrative include: Yocheved, Moses’ mother and the Hebrew midwives Shiphrah and Puah, Zipporah, Moses’ wife and her sisters so that Moses is not the product of a strong community of women all of whom save his life in different episodes, but a lone ranger, a man who became a hero on his own. Hoglah, Milcah, Maacah, Noah and Tirtzah, the daughters of Zelophehad who are mentioned in more biblical books than there are Gospels, for whom God changed inheritance laws in the Torah that women might receive an inheritance – not worthy of attention. The great woman-warrior, Prophet and Judge (sharing those titles with Moses and Samuel and no one else, not even Joshua) Deborah, who ruled the nation – excised. Hannah, the theological revolutionary who taught the priesthood how to pray – unnecessary.
Once again I’m reminded why I wrote my book. Not only are women marginalized and neglected in Sunday School and church, but they are also marginalized and neglected in secular venues. Even when the Bible gets national coverage in its own miniseries, the strong women who obeyed Godde, led their countries, shaped the covenant, and led their people to victory are left out. They’re brushed to the side. They are firmly placed in the shadows. May be I should’ve named the book What You Didn’t Learn from The History Channel.
Do you want to learn about Hoglah, Milcah, Maacah, Noah, and Tirtzah, Zelophehad’s five daughters, who convinced Godde to change her mind on Israel’s inheritance laws? They have their own chapter in What You Didn’t Learn in Sunday School. Deborah has her own chapter too. So does a wife of David’s that probably wasn’t mentioned in The History channel’s miniseries: Abigail. She prevented an angry David from wiping out her entire household. Abigail stood up to David and his army, showing great courage and wisdom. Find out what you didn’t learn in Sunday School, and find out what The History Channel isn’t going to tell you. Learn about these incredible women who didn’t shut up and sit down. You can buy you copy of What You Didn’t Learn in Sunday School: Women Who Didn’t Shut Up and Sit Down at Wipf and Stock Publishers and Amazon.