Book Review : Jesus and the Gospel Women
The front cover of Jesus and the Gospel Women understates the amazing insights that Joanne Collicutt McGrath shares in this book. As Christians reading the Gospel accounts it’s difficult for us to put aside our cultural bias. Yet Joanne can do this because she comes from an unusual background which she describes as matrifocal. Her mother comes from one of the very few societies in the world, the Khasi people of India, that has a claim to being a matriarchy. Therefore, her view of Judaeo-Christian patriarchy is that of a “perplexed outsider” rather than an “oppressed insider.” This perspective brings a deeper understanding of Jesus’ interaction with women.
Joanne’s insights are further enhanced because she is an Anglican priest and psychologist. She is a senior lecturer and convenes the MA programme in psychology of religion at a British university. Yet her book isn’t an academic treatise but a practical look at how Jesus’ interacted with those he encountered, especially women.
Drawing on her psychology training and her understanding of Scripture, Joanne explains how Jesus meets our three soul needs: to know that we are not on our own (Christ is with us), that things don’t have to be this way (through Christ things can change), and that we are needed and called to “Get up and grow up!” (Christ gives our lives meaning and purpose).
I found this book life-changing as Joanne presents a view of Jesus that is consistent with the Gospel accounts, yet richer and more compelling than I have found elsewhere.
Overall a very worthwhile read.