Women of Holy Week: An Easter Journey in Nine Stories by Paula Gooder
In the style of her bestselling Phoebe, Paula Gooder uses her extensive biblical expertise to retell the events of the Crucifixion, Resurrection and Ascension through the eyes of nine female characters she imagines accompanying Jesus during these momentous days. Accompanied by nine colour illustrations, each story brings to life the tension, drama and shock of the events of Holy Week, banishing any over-familiarity and helping readers enter into the Passion narrative in a deeper, more meaningful way. Originally given as a series of addresses at Southward Cathedral during Holy Week 2021, these nine stories are for all who long to encounter Jesus afresh through the Easter Story.
I read about this book on a Twitter account and thought it would be an interesting read on the run up to Easter and I was not disappointed.
The women in Jesus’ life are quite often overlooked in the bible. This is partly due to the period in which the bible was written and how women were valued and treated in that time and also because certain books have been removed from the bible. However, Jesus did not underestimate the women who were in his life, he valued them. These women never left him, they were there at his death and they were there when he had risen.
The book contains nine stories of different women, some are named in the bible and some are given names by Gooder. Through these stories we get an insight into the last week of Jesus’ life. Some of these stories are quite well documented in the bible but for some of the stories Gooder has used a bit of poetic licence but one thing is for certain all these stories are possible.
I really enjoyed this book, I found it interesting and thought provoking and I also enjoyed the extra notes that Gooder provides at the end of the book. The notes give the bible readings that go with the stories and extra details about the history of the bible readings. I even used one of the women’s stories in a service I took before Easter and it worked really well. Overall, I really enjoyed this book and will be reading more books by Paula Gooder. I give this book 5 out of 5 Dragons.
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About the author
Paula Gooder is a speaker and writer on the Bible, particularly on the New Testament. She began her working life, teaching for twelve years in ministerial formation first at Ripon College Cuddesdon, Oxford and then at the Queen’s Foundation for Ecumenical Theological Education in Birmingham. Following this she spent around eight years as a speaker and writer in biblical studies travelling the country and seeking to communicate the best of biblical scholarship in as accessible a way as possible, after that she spent six years working for the Bible Society as their Theologian in Residence and then for the Birmingham Diocese as their Director of Mission Learning and Development. She is currently the Chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral in London.