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Margaret Kostenberger’s Jesus and the Feminists, Reviewed by Mara Lief Crabtree

Although Kostenberger attempts to be substantive and fair in her presentation of each scholar’s contribution to feminist discussion and theology, the book is lacking in the exegetical and interpretive substance of the relevant biblical passages that weigh heavily in the context of a scholarly examination of feminist theology. Kostenberger’s final word, rather than a scholarly conclusion, states an admonition meant to further support the male-headship and complementarian viewpoints. In this it appears she alludes to feminist scholars in positing an apparent warning: “We must be careful not to subvert the message of Scripture regarding Jesus but treat God’s Word with utmost respect as attentive listeners rather than ideological critics. We must take our place in a stance of submission to God’s’ Word, putting ourselves beneath it rather than sitting in critical judgment over it. Women as well as men must draw near to God’s Word ‘to listen’ rather than ‘to offer the sacrifice of fools’ (Eccl. 5:1)” (220). Margaret Kostenberger’s study deserves merit in its sincere attempt to examine and assess the contributions of feminist scholars, but one would hope for a concluding statement more gracious to the earnest and sincere efforts of her scholarly colleagues.

Reviewed by Mara Lief Crabtree

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About the Author: Mara Lief Crabtree, D.Min. (Wesley Theological Seminary), MPS (Loyola University, New Orleans), MA (Regent University), is Associate Professor of Spiritual Formation and Women’s Studies at Regent University School of Divinity. Ordained in the Communion of Evangelical Episcopal Churches, she serves as a Tidewater Chapter Chaplain and Region II US Representative for Virginia Chapters in the International Order of St. Luke. Faculty page. Faculty blog.

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