One advantage of the technological revolution is that it is a lot easier to look things up in the Bible now. As a biblical scholar who cut his teeth the hard way by reading and rereading Holy Writ until great swaths were committed to memory, now I find it much easier to visit BibleGateway.com rather than haul out the old print concordance and crack my knuckles before straining a muscle to lift the thing. The other day while looking up a passage for class on BibleGateway, I saw an advertisement that made me cringe. Zondervan, owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, is now offering a “Precious Princess Bible.” I did a literalist double-take at the banner. My imagination began to spin: does this edition offer all the misogynistic passages in pink letters? Should not the owner of all FOX News do all that is possible to keep women in their place?
Even a short list will serve to make the point:
Exodus 21.7: And if a man sell his daughter to be a maidservant, she shall not go out as the menservants do.
Leviticus 27.3-4: And thy estimation shall be of the male from twenty years old even unto sixty years old, even thy estimation shall be fifty shekels of silver, after the shekel of the sanctuary. And if it be a female, then thy estimation shall be thirty shekels.
1 Corinthians 11.3: But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.
1 Corinthians 14.35: And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.
1 Timothy 2.12-13: But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve.
The Bible is hardly a tome to affirm the “precious princess” concept that many modern parents believe they are fortunate enough to claim. No matter how much we candy-coat it, this is salvation with a double standard. One of the truly remarkable aspects of Christianity is the number of women who adhere to it despite the secondary status the foundation document lends to them. Despite a few harsh words, Jesus is depicted as treating women well. But the Bible tantalizingly refuses to tip even his hand in favor of feminism. The Bible is a man’s world. I am personally awaiting the He-Man Combat edition. It would fit many parts of the Scriptures remarkably well.