Christianity Today 2022 Book Award Finalist (History & Biography)
Foreword INDIES 2021 Finalist for Religion
"A powerful work of skillful research and personal insight."--Publishers Weekly
Biblical womanhood--the belief that God designed women to be submissive wives, virtuous mothers, and joyful homemakers--pervades North American Christianity. From choices about careers to roles in local churches to relationship dynamics, this belief shapes the everyday lives of evangelical women. Yet biblical womanhood isn't biblical, says Baylor University historian Beth Allison Barr. It arose from a series of clearly definable historical moments.
This book moves the conversation about biblical womanhood beyond Greek grammar and into the realm of church history--ancient, medieval, and modern--to show that this belief is not divinely ordained but a product of human civilization that continues to creep into the church. Barr's historical insights provide context for contemporary teachings about women's roles in the church and help move the conversation forward.
Interweaving her story as a Baptist pastor's wife, Barr sheds light on the #ChurchToo movement and abuse scandals in Southern Baptist circles and the broader evangelical world, helping readers understand why biblical womanhood is more about human power structures than the message of Christ.
About the Author
Beth Allison Barr (PhD, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) is James Vardaman Professor of History at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, where she specializes in medieval history, women's history, and church history. She recently served as president of the Conference on Faith and History (2018-2021) and is an active supporter of Christians for Biblical Equality. Barr is a regular contributor to The Anxious Bench, the popular Patheos website on religious history, and has written for Christianity Today, the Washington Post, Religion News Service, The Dallas Morning News, Sojourners, and Baptist News Global. Her work has been featured by NPR and The New Yorker. She is also a Baptist pastor's wife and the mom of two great kids.