This article considers nineteenth-century precursors of the twentieth-century school of feminist Bible criticism. Through the genre of collective role-model biography, nineteenth-century women writers presented discussions of female Bible characters in ways that addressed contemporary concerns about women's role. The article considers the feminist implications of the biographical genre, and then the biographers' interpretations of Bible women including Eve, Deborah, Jochabed, Miriam, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Jesus. Authors discussed include Lucy Aikin, Sarah Hale, Clara Balfour, Elizabeth Charles, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and the Jewish writer Grace Aguilar. Their work is set in the context of contemporary gender debates, whilst showing connections to strategies used by more recent feminist Bible scholars such as Rosemary Radford Ruether, Letty Russell, Phyllis Trible, and Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza, as well as the late nineteenth-century Elizabeth Cady Stanton who is often cited as the forerunner of their tradition
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