This post was originally going to be a quick note about how much I like Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Not only was she an outspoken feminist during a time when women in the US couldn’t even vote, but she was also an outspoken critic of religion, despite the protestations of many of her fellow feminists. Scripture back then was often quoted to prove that men were better than women. Kind of like now. Only worse.
And then I wanted to make ECS quotation buttons, which was very difficult because my buttonmaker only makes 1.5″ buttons, which are cool but not very big. Your options when buying a buttonmaker are “cool and small” or “very large and unbelievably dorky.” So. Anyway.
While looking up good ECS quotations, I realized that I had never read The Woman’s Bible, the seminal work she wrote along with a committee of badasses like Matilda Josalyn Gage. The Woman’s Bible was in part a response to women’s exclusion from Biblical scholarship, like when the Church of England produced Bibles revised solely by men in the late 19th Century. It was also a way to provide women with an answer to those who quoted the Bible in support of women’s continued subjugation. There were some on the committee who believed that the misogynist reading of the Bible was a deliberate misinterpretation of the text, while others (like Gage) thought the text was anti-woman in and of itself.
That complexity is what intrigued me, so I decided to try to get my hands on a copy. Because I live in a world of copyright, it didn’t occur to me at first that it was in the public domain, so I searched on Amazon. I was delighted to find this free Kindle eBook (if you prefer, here it is on Project Gutenberg), which I downloaded and started reading last night. So far, it’s a quick, easy, and interesting read.
The fact that it’s so good, and also free, made me wonder why on Earth it would be rated at just 2.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon. I went back and had a look at the reviews, and there I discovered an absolute treasure trove of religiously inspired ignorance. You see, people were searching on Amazon for a study Bible with notes specifically for Christian women, no doubt describing in simple terms why they should happily submit to their husband as he does to God. Lured in by the positively Satanic freeness of The Woman’s Bible, they happily clicked, either not knowing who Elizabeth Cady Stanton was or not noticing the author name at all.
Upon reading Stanton’s introduction, they found ideas like this:
So perverted is the religious element in [woman’s] nature, that with faith and works she is the chief support of the church and clergy; the very powers that make her emancipation impossible.
Others say it is not politic to rouse religious opposition.
This much-lauded policy is but another word for cowardice.
The only points in which I [ECS] differ from all ecclesiastical teaching is that I do not believe that any man ever saw or talked with God. I do not believe that God inspired the Mosaic code, or told the historians what they say he did about woman, for all the religions on the face of the earth degrade her, and so long as woman accepts the position that they assign her, her emancipation is impossible.
Those unsuspecting theists who bothered to read and understand the intro were horrified, while others thumbed past it blissfully unaware until eventually they gave in to the growing concern that something was amiss. The poor, poor dears. These are their stories.
(Author name links to the full post, which I have occasionally condensed to just the most entertaining part. Click the link to see some brave intellectuals defending women’s suffrage. Post title is in bold. All typos are [sic].)
This is in no way a Bible. I only read the first few pages and I believe anyone who agrees with this blasphemy is NOT a Christian.
Worst piece of feministic sacriligeous piece of crap I’ve had the misfortune to read
If I could I would rate this book minus 5 stars. The fact that this author has the gall to call this piece of horsecrap a “bible” is a shame and disgrace. Everybody is entitled to their own opinion, but when you write a book calling the Word of God an “incomplete” and “imperfect” work, and calling it the Bible, you are false teacher, and should be avoided like the plague. I fear for the very soul of the person who wrote this drivel.
B. Olakan (in reply to above):
Many “Christian feminists” do not realize that rebellion against God’s clear instructions is witchcraft (See 1 Samuel 15:23), by the Bible’s definition. Just like Eve in the garden, they are never satisfied with the rules God has laid down, but they must push the envelope, and cause untold hardship to the human race.
Feminism is rebellion against God’s clear laws. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. 1 Samuel 15:23
B. Olakan (subsequent comment in response to pushback from others)
And those who have followed feminism are reaping the benefits. They are leading lonely lives and unstable marriages. Their carcasses lay all over the place.
This bible is a new age book and not the Word of God. Twists scripture to form untruths. If you are a Christian, this “bible” is not for you….dangerous
This is not a BIBLE at all
Where do I begin? This should not be called a “Woman’s Bible” by any means. Instead it should read “A Specific Woman’s Misunderstanding of the Bible.” If the author had attended a bible study, or had theological training, or even been a Christian, this book would not exist. The author tried to explain spiritual truths with a carnal outlook…what a tragedy.
Stefanie (in reply to above)
Wow, you are very uneducated about one of the most important women in US history. Maybe you should learn a little about the woman before claiming she knew nothing of theology. You just don’t like the fact that after studying it she came to a different conclusion than you did on the worthiness of organized religion.
B. Olekan (in reply to above)
Are you kidding me? She might be important in US history. But as far as spiritual truths are concerned, she is a nonentity, and definitely unqualified to pen any book with the word “Bible” in its title. What foolish arrogance!
This “bible” is not a bible at all, but is authored by Satan,the father of lies, and is the heretical imaginations of a deceived mind, who, in pride, has re-written portions of God’s Word to suit her carnal pride. The title of the book is deceptive, and could lead people into the deception that she has fallen prey to. She is very deceived, and is not “born again”, otherwise she would recognize the truth about the Trinity, and also she is not Biblically well-read, or she would recognize that Jesus Himself said “I will send the Holy Spirit and HE WILL LEAD YOU INTO ALL TRUTH.” NOT “SHE”!!! Poor woman…may God have mercy on her soul, or she will go where all unbelievers go…to the lake of fire.
Linnie Robinson (a Christian)
Pat Georgia (in reply to a reply to a reply to the above)
My point was that [Elizabeth Cady Stanton] was “biblically well-read”. Which one is the “REAL BIBLE”? I guess you mean one of the many versions that have been translated and edited by men?
Linnie Robinson (in reply to above)
Yes, Pat, Such as the King James version, or the New American Standard. In both versions the Holy Spirit is referred to as “He”, by Jesus. He is the final authority on who and “what” the Holy Spirit is, so I rest my case. And Jesus was a MAN, WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT!
Wendy (A++ use of uppercase, here)
Do Not Read
This is not a true Bible, The auther takes certain excerpts from the Bible and illistrates her DILUTED opinion.
womens bible by stanton…..no stars
i was under the impression that i was downloading a womens bible and all i received was a lie.
No functionality whatsoever
This reads exactly like a book…if you want access to Revelation…it’s going to take you a long time to get there.
I’ll just leave this here as a pick-me-up: there was at least one person who was searching for the Bible, ended up with this, and liked it:
Kindle Download – The Woman’s Bible
Not quite what I expected, not the KJV; great historical facts included; free item – no complaints there! Thanks, Amazon!
And call me optimistic, but I think this person probably got a lot to think about, despite the 1-star review she gave, and the comments on her review are mostly great:
I too was decieved
I believed I was getting a devotional as well and as I can appreciate the importance of the history of the Women’s Suffrage Movement. I certainly don’t believe this book has any purpose today. I began reading it and made it about a quarter the way through, feeling very uncertain of it from the very beginning. I tried to appreciate it as a piece of history, but eventually deleted it. As a Christian I believe that you cannot pick and choose pieces of the Bible to suit your purposes. Faith in God is believing THE TRUTH in it’s entirety without material proof. I pray that none take this book for more than it really is.
Following the publishing of The Woman’s Bible, Elizabeth Cady Stanton was pushed to the fringes of the movement she helped inspire. Susan B. Anthony took center stage in her place – she, too, was skeptical of religion, but I suppose she wasn’t nearly as uppity about it as Stanton.
So I hope that if you haven’t, you read and enjoy Stanton’s work, and maybe even give it a nice review on Amazon. Here’s what I’m thinking of writing:
[5 stars] Great replacement for women’s devotional
I originally bought this to aid in my devotional, and I wasn’t sure it was for me after reading the first 50 pages or so. But trust me, the ending is worth it! Praise Jesus.
Okay, not really.
BTW, I did eventually make two quote buttons: one for ECS and one for Susan B. Anthony, even though I had to condense a bit. I think they still work well enough to wear to women’s Bible study on Sunday.
And one final happy note: I just saw this link for a free download of Feminism is for everybody by bell hooks. Enjoy!