Review: National Geographic Women of the Bible
Jean-Pierre Isbouts is a well-qualified historian, but not a theologian, so he comes to the topic of Women of the Bible from this perspective. He shares interesting historical and archaeological information about a random selection of women, namely Eve, Hagar, Sarah, Rachel, Zipporah, Deborah, Bathsheba, the Queen of Sheba, Judith (Apocrypha), Esther, Elizabeth, Mary (Jesus’ mother), Mary (Magdalene), Mary and Martha and the women at the cross. Isbouts also shares historical information about marriage customs, housekeeping, food and clothing, education and childbirth from this geographic and cultural period.
One of his most interesting insights is that compared to other cultures, women were more highly esteemed in Israel than elsewhere in ancient cultures. This is shown by the many stories we have of women in the Bible and the important roles they played in the narratives.
The magazine has a large number of photos of various artworks by famous artists depicting the artist’s impression of various biblical women, plus a small range of archaeological photos which I found more interesting.
Overall, while this magazine isn’t always accurate to the biblical accounts, it’s a brief and fascinating insight into the lifestyles of women in Bible times.