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

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

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

#24in48: What Was Good, What Was Bad, What You Should Read

24in48, where we try to read for 24 hours out of 48, has come and gone once more. I managed 13 hours, which considering my usual average is 2, is excellent and I will take it. I attribute this to genuine planning this time and a remarkable lack of things to do that weekend. What did I finish! The Witches: Salem, 1692  by Stacy Schiff Captain Phasma  by Kelly Thompson (comic) The Daughter of Time  by Josephine Tey DC Bombshells  Volume 1 (comic) The Punisher: The Complete Collection, Volume 1 (comic) Mars Evacuees  by Sophia McDougall The Good. It was actually all pretty good, so I'm gonna give a quick recap so you can decide if it strikes your fancy or not. The Summaries The Witches: Salem, 1692. This is a breakdown of everything that happened before, during, and after the Salem witch trials of 1692. I loved the beginning because Stacy Schiff gives you a good idea of the awfulness of life in New England in the 17th century, and it also helps you understand ho