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Archive for February, 2013

Diana Lyn Severance – Feminine Threads – 2013/005

The Back of the Book (from Amazon):  From commoner to queen, the women in this book embraced the freedom and the power of the Gospel in making their unique contributions to the unfolding of history. Wherever possible, the women here speak for themselves, from their letters, diaries or published works. The true story of women in Christian history inspires, challenges and demonstrates the grace of God producing much fruit throughout time.

Diana Severance (PhD, Rice University) is a historian with broad experience teaching in universities and seminaries.

NotJustLaura’s Review:  I’ve wanted to read this book for a long time.  In fact, I’ve nearly bought it on at least three occasions but walked away because it looked kind of dense in the paperback edition and, well, sometimes I have a sneaking suspicion that I have too many books!  I finally bought the Kindle edition about a week ago when I was feeling depressed and needed something wholesome to pick me up, dust me down and set me back on my feet.  The denseness I’d rejected previously now seemed like a welcoming blanket of words in which I could lose myself with the Kindle taking a lot of the effort out of the reading.

Getting lost in a book is my fall-back position when I’m unwell but it only works when the writing’s good.  Trying to get lost in poor writing when you’re already feeling low is not recommended.  Fortunately, Ms Severance is a master.  In this book, she gives a comprehensive but concise  survey of Christian women’s history from New Testament times right up to the present day.  I found that she gave enough context to each of the movements or individuals mentioned that I never felt lost within the text and, indeed, have usefully filled several gaps in my knowledge.

Ms Severance is writing from a Western, Protestant, non-feminist perspective and makes that very clear in her opening statements.  I’m Western and non-feminist so we were on the same page a good deal of the time.  However, I’m also a Roman Catholic convert and found that some of her statements about the Roman Catholic Church didn’t match with my experience of it.  That said, I fear these views are prevalent in Protestant circles and this can only be due to a failure to communicate on the part of Roman Catholic Church herself.


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