SPIRITUALITY & RELIGION

Defiant: What the Women of Exodus Teach Us About Freedom

Eerdmans. Mar. 2020. 208p. ISBN 9780802864291. pap. $17.99. REL
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Having developed within patriarchal societies, many dynamics within the biblical narratives have yet to be fully understood. Nikondeha, codirector, communities of Hope and author of Adopted: The Sacrament of Belonging in a Fractured World, examines the liberation story of Exodus, and finds tales of resistance within whose structures can still be found today among marginalized groups. Each chapter can be best described as a midrash that focuses on one woman or a group of women (e.g. the midwives, Shiphrah, and Puah). This imaginative recreation brings readers into that hidden landscape and relates these acts of quiet resistance, attention, and subversion to those of women and other marginalized persons. Nikondeha makes connections to the civil rights movement and the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, but many are from her own experiences, whether as development worker with the Batwa tribe in Burundi or the tension of her privileged white evangelical upbringing and her Hispanic heritage.
VERDICT Nikondeha combines a solid exegetical background with an expansive imagination that knits together themes of resistance and support. Any reader wishing to find the personal within universal themes will be well served.

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