Hebrews seems like unpromising material for feminist interpretation, although it is the only New Testament writing for which female authorship has been seriously posited. Mary Ann Beavis and HyeRan Kim-Cragg highlight the similarities between Hebrews and the book of Wisdom/Sophia, which share cosmological, ethical, historical, and sapiential themes, revealing that Hebrews is in fact a submerged tradition of Sophia-Wisdom. They also tackle the sacrificial Christology of Hebrews, concluding that in its ancient context, far from symbolizing suffering and abjection, sacrifice was understood as celebratory and relational. Contributions from Filipina (Maricel and Marilou Ibita), Jewish (Justin Jaron Lewis), historical (Nancy Calvert-Koyzis), and First Nations (Marie Annharte Baker) perspectives bring additional scholarly, cultural, religious, and experiential wisdom to the commentary.
Mary Ann Beavis has master's degrees in religious studies and theology from the University of Manitoba and the University of Notre Dame and a PhD in New Testament studies from Cambridge University (UK). She is currently professor of religion and culture at St. Thomas More College, University of Saskatchewan (Saskatoon, Canada). Her areas of academic interest and expertise include Christian origins, feminist biblical interpretation, Christianity and Goddess spirituality, and religion and popular culture. She is the author of several single-author and edited books as well as many peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, and book reviews. She is the founding editor of the Journal of Religion and Popular Culture.
HyeRan Kim-Cragg is Lydia Gruchy Professor of Pastoral Studies at St. Andrew's College, Saskatoon, Canada. As a practical theologian, her main areas of teaching are religious education and worship. Influenced by postcolonial theory, feminist theology, and migration, her most recent book is The Encounters: Retelling the Bible from Migration and Intercultural Perspectives, co-authored with EunYoung Choi. Her most recent articles appear in Liturgy in Postcolonial Perspectives, Church in the Age of Migration: A Moving Body, and the journal Religious Education.
"I found this multi-vocal feminist exposition of Hebrews as a `submerged tradition of Sophia' innovative, imaginative and an intriguing read."
Gordon Campbell, Journal for the Study of the New Testament
"This volume, co-authored by Mary Ann Beavis and HyeRan Kim-Cragg, is a surprisingly good read. I say surprisingly because Hebrews is one of the densest and (supposedly) non-feminist books in the New Testament. Beavis and Kim-Cragg bring a scholarly, occupational, and ethnic diversity to an otherwise (seemingly) monolithic work."
Teresa J. Hornsby, Professor, Religious Studies, Drury University
"Feminist theological commentary has long shed much-needed corrective light on venerable Christian tradition from the margins, but it's currently evolving to a whole new level in the robust Wisdom Commentary series. Coming on the heels of magisterial single volume commentaries like the three editions of The Women's Bible Commentary and the Feminist Biblical Interpretation: A Compendium of Critical Commentary on the Books of the Bible and Related Literature, this new multi-volume series digs even deeper into the biblical tradition with both outstanding critical scholarship and impressive verve. Nuanced and deeply sensitive in its interaction with the scriptural text, this commentary is outstanding in every respect."
Mark M. Mattison, Christian Feminism Today
"After reading the present volume, I have requested the library at my university to subscribe to the entire Wisdom Commentary series and I am looking forward to the publication of further volumes."
Christian A. Eberhart, The Catholic Biblical Quarterly
"Students of Hebrew would do well to have this book on their shelves. It listens to the sermon in diverse and fresh ways."
Currents in Theology and Mission
"In the wake of this fine commentary, it is clear that the Epistle to the Hebrews-in the context of Philo and the Wisdom of Solomon-is widely welcoming and open to the articulation of the feminine in all things theological. That, however, was not nearly so clear prior to this commentary. That is the important gain of this compelling volume: we now can read the letter afresh with eyes open and alert to its sapiential, gender-challenging dimension that is voiced in a literary--historical context and that insists on being taken with theological seriousness."
Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary
"A delightfully complex commentary on Hebrews that will be useful to anyone wishing to connect scripture with contemporary questions of justice."
The Christian Century
"The Wisdom Commentary series is like no other. Students of Hebrews would do well to have this book on their shelves. Readers are called to the interpretive circle to build upon and even disagree with these interpretations in a common effort to gain Wisdom."
Amy L. Peeler, Wheaton College, Currents in Theology and Mission
"Liturgical Press's Wisdom Commentary is long awaited and lives up to our eager anticipation. The scholarship is impeccable and fair-minded. This commentary will be beneficial to scholars, students of theology, preachers and church Bible study groups. It challenges harmful and imperialist interpretations of Hebrews that will open hearts and minds to new meaning and inclusivity."
Susan Willhauck, Atlantic School of Theology, AAR Women's Caucus Website
"The reader will find in this accessible and challenging commentary a wonderfully wide range of sources and approaches to the text. Of special note are background materials from Judaism and parallel poetic renderings from Aboriginal Scriptures."
The Rev. Bonnie B. Thurston, Ph.D. Author of Maverick Mark: The Untamed First Gospel
"The value of this commentary is that it combines the approaches of historical and literary studies with theological criticism; theological criticism understood as involving a theological evaluation of the problematic cultural and ideological mindsets of the biblical text."
Grace & Truth
"Mary Ann Beavis and HyeRan Kim-Cragg's refreshing, liberating, and empowering commentary makes the book of Hebrews come alive. Hebrews provides new insights, provocative interpretations, and imaginative ways of reading the letter to the Hebrews. It combines superb scholarship with lucid writing and will make a splendid addition to anyone's library. Hebrews is wisdom for the ages."
Grace Ji-Sun Kim, Associate Professor of Theology, Earlham School of Religion