My Summer Reading Recommendations for Leaders

Light of Assisi: The Story of Saint Clare. How much do you know about Clare of Assisi (b. 1194)? Most of us know about St. Francis. But Clare, his contemporary, outlived him by twenty years and is probably why we have such great access to his story and writings. Think Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton making sure we all rightly remember Alexander Hamilton and you get the picture. 

Raised in an elite home, Clare was quite literate and trained to manage a wealthy household. But Francis helped her slip out with a companion, cut her hair, and launch herself—in quiet defiance—on a path of celibacy, poverty, and service. Radical! Her elite training equipped her to manage people, stand up to opponents, and even inspire popes.  

To our knowledge she was the first person to write/establish a Rule of Life (monastic guidelines) for women approved by the pope, which he granted two days before her death. The Poor Clares continue as an order to this day.   

I listened to the audio version, which lasted about four hours.

Bulletin for Biblical Research Special Issue on “Songs of Women in the Bible”  

The Bulletin for Biblical Research (BBR) is the journal of the Institute for Biblical Research (IBR). IBR is an organization of evangelical Christian scholars with specialties in Old and New Testament and in ancillary disciplines. BBR includes peer-reviewed articles in Old Testament/Hebrew Bible, New Testament, and sometimes cognate literature, from a range of historical and literary approaches. Issue 33, Volume 4 (December 2023) is a special issue dedicated to “Songs of Women in the Bible.”

Articles include the following topics and authors:

Amy Peeler: “‘My soul doth magnify the Lord’: Mary’s Empowered and Empowering Song at the Center of the Christian Faith”

Carmen Imes: “Can I Get a Witness? Miriam’s Song in the Literary Design of Exodus”

Michelle Knight: “The Prophet’s Song of Victory: Judges 5 within a Trajectory of Theological Training in the Book of Judges”

Denise C. Flanders: “The Reversal of (Food) Injustice: The Song of Hannah (1 Sam 2:1–10)”

David Firth: “They Sang and They Celebrated: The Women’s Celebration in 1 Samuel 18:7”

Lisa M. Wray Beal: “Mourning Women, the Voice of God, and the Limits of Lament: Women’s Songs of Lament in Jeremiah”

This resource is an outstanding collection by top evangelical scholars. A lot of fresh insights relating to familiar texts.

Women Who Do: Female Disciples in the Gospels

In Women Who Do: Female Disciples in the Gospels, Author Holly J. Carey does a deep dive into what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. She describes the expectations and social roles for women in first-century Greco-Roman and Jewish contexts and offers close readings of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Acts as she looks at how the authors present ideal discipleship. What emerges is a cohesive narrative-critical case that “the Twelve” are not an equivalent group to “the disciples”—who include Tabitha (Acts 9:36). In fact, the Twelve are set as foils against the faithful, active, and often nameless disciples who populate the narratives.

Women Who Do is essential academic reading for students and scholars seeking a fuller understanding of what it means to follow Christ as seen through the eyes of the Gospel writers. Secondarily, it’s a great text on women in the Bible in their contexts (as opposed to being presented as isolated cameos).

Photo by Kourosh Qaffari on Unsplash

Sandra Glahn, who holds a Master of Theology degree from Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS) and a PhD in The Humanities—Aesthetic Studies from the University of Texas/Dallas, is a professor at DTS. This creator of the Coffee Cup Bible Series (AMG) based on the NET Bible is the author or coauthor of more than twenty books. She's the wife of one husband, mother of one daughter, and owner of two cats. Chocolate and travel make her smile. You can follow her on Twitter @sandraglahn ; on FB /Aspire2 ; and find her at her web site: aspire2.com.

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