Skip to main content

Elizabeth Cady Stanton's "The Woman's Bible": Exodus

If you will remember, in 1895, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and other noted feminist writers published The Woman's Bible, which reexamines the Bible from a 19th century feminist perspective. It is the shit.

The second book of the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible, and something Christianity has in common with Judaism) is Exodus. Exodus has the story of the Israelites fleeing Egypt, Moses parting the Red Sea, the creation of the Ten Commandments, and the journey to the Promised Land. Basically it's this movie:

80-year-old Elizabeth Cady Stanton once again comes out swinging with:

The question naturally suggests itself to any rational mind, why should the customs and opinions of this ignorant people, who lived centuries ago, have any influence in the religious thought of this generation?


Women have had no voice in the canon law, the catechisms, the church creeds and discipline, and why should they obey the behests of a strictly masculine religion, that places the sex at a disadvantage in all life's emergencies?

I mean. Daaamn, Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Is this 1789, 'cause I sense a revoLUTION. 

Something I hadn't even thought about is how -- obviously -- only men can be circumcised, which meant only men could be consecrated to God. Way. to. leave. out. half. the. population. Stanton points out that women were "permitted to violate the moral code of laws to secure liberty for their people, but they could not officiate in any of the sacraments, nor eat of the consecrated bread at meals."

Another truly excellent point is that men will rarely violate something they have been trained to respect. Because women are essentially not on the list, but are in fact consciously and unconsciously seen as lesser, they are attacked all the time. As she says, "Males are the race, females only the creatures that carry it on."

At every stage of his existence Moses was indebted to some woman for safety and success. Miriam, by her sagacity, saved his life. Pharaoh's daughter reared and educated him and made the way possible for the high offices he was called to fill; and Zipporah, his wife, a woman of strong character and decided opinions, often gave him good advice.

Hell yeah he is. 

What was that? You wanted a longer quote that involves ECS sticking it to Revolutionary War men? DONE.

So tired were the children of Israel waiting at the foot of Mount Sinai for the return of Moses, that Aaron to pacify them made a golden calf which they worshipped. To procure the gold he took the jewelry of the women young and old, men never understanding how precious it is to them, and the great self-sacrifice required to part with it. But as the men generally give it to them during courtship, and as wedding presents, they feel that they have a vested right therein for emergencies.
It was just so in the American Revolution, in 1776, the first delicacy the men threw overboard in Boston harbor was the tea, woman's favorite beverage. The tobacco and whiskey, though heavily taxed, they clung to with the tenacity of the devil-fish. Rather than throw their luxuries overboard they would no doubt have succumbed to King George's pretensions. Men think that self-sacrifice is the most charming of all the cardinal virtues for women, and in order to keep it in healthy working order, they make opportunities for its illustration as often as possible. I would fain teach women that self-development is a higher duty than self-sacrifice.

Who thinks about that! No one thinks about that! No one but Elizabeth Cady Stanton! I'm mad FOR you, women of the 18th century. That is some bullshit.

Self-development is a higher duty than self-sacrifice. We are still having a hard time with that one as a gender. Because we're still subtly taught to be helpful and self-effacing and yes, sacrificing. Self-development makes you a person who is able to give more. It can sound selfish, but fuck. that. noise. Elizabeth Cady Stanton says you should work on yourself, so you work on yourself. Not even work on! That's not positive enough! You develop yourself. Becoming awesomer each day, except some days when you just wanna sit back and watch old episodes of 30 Rock, and that's okay too

...that's okay too.


Popular posts from this blog

Harry Potter 2013 Readalong Signup Post of Amazingness and Jollity

Okay, people. Here it is. Where you sign up to read the entire Harry Potter series (or to reminisce fondly), starting January 2013, assuming we all survive the Mayan apocalypse. I don't think I'm even going to get to Tina and Bette's reunion on The L Word until after Christmas, so here's hopin'. You guys know how this works. Sign up if you want to. If you're new to the blog, know that we are mostly not going to take this seriously. And when we do take it seriously, it's going to be all Monty Python quotes when we disagree on something like the other person's opinion on Draco Malfoy. So be prepared for your parents being likened to hamsters. If you want to write lengthy, heartfelt essays, that is SWELL. But this is maybe not the readalong for you. It's gonna be more posts with this sort of thing: We're starting Sorceror's/Philosopher's Stone January 4th. Posts will be on Fridays. The first post will be some sort of hilar

Minithon: The Mini Readathon, January 11th, 2020

The minithon is upon us once more! Minithons are for the lazy. Minithons are for the uncommitted. Minithons are for us. The minithon lasts 6 hours (10 AM to 4 PM CST), therefore making it a mini readathon, as opposed to the lovely Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon and 24in48, both of which you should participate in, but both of which are a longer commitment than this, the Busy Watching Netflix person's readathon. By 'read for six hours' what's really meant in the minithon is "read a little bit and eat a lot of snacks and post pictures of your books and your snacks, but mostly your snacks." We like to keep it a mini theme here, which mainly means justifying your books and your snacks to fit that theme. Does your book have children in it? Mini people! Does it have a dog! Mini wolf! Does it have pencils? Mini versions of graphite mines! or however you get graphite, I don't really know. I just picture toiling miners. The point is, justify it or don't

How to Build a Girl Introductory Post, which is full of wonderful things you probably want to read

Acclaimed (in England mostly) lady Caitlin Moran has a novel coming out. A NOVEL. Where before she has primarily stuck to essays. Curious as we obviously were about this, I and a group of bloggers are having a READALONG of said novel, probably rife with spoilers (maybe they don't really matter for this book, though, so you should totally still read my posts). This is all hosted/cared for/lovingly nursed to health by Emily at As the Crowe Flies (and Reads) because she has a lovely fancy job at an actual bookshop ( Odyssey Books , where you can in fact pre-order this book and then feel delightful about yourself for helping an independent store). Emily and I have negotiated the wonders of Sri Lankan cuisine and wandered the Javits Center together. Would that I could drink with her more often than I have. I feel like we could get to this point, Emily INTRODUCTION-wise (I might've tipped back a little something this evening, thus the constant asides), I am Alice. I enjoy