In this book, we wish to listen once again to old familiar stories, to listen with new ears and be open to explore possible new meanings.
Why explore these stories?
As Jonathan Pageau says, 'The world is held together by stories'. It seems that from the beginnings of the human species, storytelling has formed the foundations of human culture, offering answers to ultimate questions or presenting unsolvable human dilemmas, all the while creating a web of meaning that shapes how we see ourselves and the world around us.
The stories in this work date back to the first century in the Christian era. They are the foundation stories of Western cultures and have held profound and world-shaping meanings for its audiences - for better or otherwise. As readers of this literature, we would like to pay attention to where these stories hit a chord or a discord with us in the 21' century. How do we, reading through an eco-feminisc lens, encounter these stories and what liberating meaning might we find in them? We may wonder, in face, are they really 'good news' for women, for marginalised peoples, for the Earth in our world today? And if so, how? Stories are always open to interpretation. The face that they can be interpreted in various ways speaks of their depth and richness. In the work that follows, I will be using an eco-feminist critical approach. This is one way of approaching our Scriptures. It is not the only way. I have chosen this approach because it takes seriously women and Earth in all their differences.
The Bible, including the stories we explore here, is a literary artefact: books/ stories written by men, for men and from a male experience of the world. They were also written in a male dominated cultural context and as such reflect that context, where the exclusion of women comes co be accepted as normal. le is important to hold this in mind so as to avoid the seduction of patriarchy which unconsciously affects us all. le has been and at many levels continues to be, the overarching world view of our culture and one which we have imbibed since our first breath.
As Elizabeth Schussler Fiorenza says - in the imagined voice of Herodias, the wife of Herod- 'My sisters, I reach across the centuries to speak to you today: In your search for truth about women of the past, even women of biblical times - beware - because often what you find are stories by men about women.''