I am excited to share some updates about my book What Jesus Learned from Women, which should be out next month. It is now available for pre-order via the publisher’s website. They only just listed it and so a lot of information is still not there, including the cover art. Fortunately I have had a chance to see that and can share it here. I’ve blogged about how excited the chance to commission custom artwork for the cover art made me, and how happy I am with the result. Macey Dickerson is a phenomenal artist who has managed to capture the essence of the book in an image. That has never, ever been the case with any other book of mine. I’ve liked them, and I was absolutely thrilled to have my name and title appear in the standard formatting of the SNTS Monograph Series for instance. My first book, of course that meant a lot! But this is different. This is special. Perhaps it is the sense that I learned more in writing this book than I ever learned before. Perhaps it is the sense that this book might make a difference in a way that no other work of mine has before. Perhaps it was the enthusiastic endorsements by top scholars who I respect and seeing their words there together with everything else. It is probably all of that and more. I managed to finish this book in the midst of the pandemic, and experienced some challenging moments and surroundings that were not always conducive. I worked on some parts of this as I was finishing this off in places on the globe that I had never been before. I had things happening around me in the world and to my house that have never been the case before. But I don’t think that’s it. I don’t think it is only the combination of the endorsements on the cover and the things that other scholars and even my wife and other readers have said about the contents of the book. But it is all of these things together that has me overwhelmed with joy and anticipation as I share with you the cover of what I truly believe is my most significant book to date, and may end up being my most significant contribution to human literature ever. As proud and satisfied as I am with other things that I have written, I have never felt so eager to find out whether what I have written connects with readers as I am in this instance.
Here is the cover:
The blurb for the books says:
Dehumanization has led to serious misinterpretation of the Gospels. On the one hand, Christians have often made Jesus so much more than human that it seemed inappropriate to ask about the influence other human beings had on him, male or female. On the other hand, women have been treated as less than fully human, their names omitted from stories and their voices and influence on Jesus neglected. When we ask the question this book does, what Jesus learned from women, puzzling questions that have frustrated readers of the Gospels throughout history suddenly find solutions. Weaving cutting edge biblical scholarship together with an element of historical fiction and a knack for writing for a general audience, James McGrath makes the stories of women in the New Testament come alive, and sheds fresh light on the figure of Jesus as well. This book is a must read for scholars, students, and anyone else interested in Jesus and/or in the role of ancient women in the context of their times.
Someone asked me “so…what did Jesus learn from women?” I replied with a few of the major examples the book surveys: Inclusive storytelling. Love of theater. Inequality in society. The difference between temporary remedy and long-term cure. To abandon prejudices against other people groups. The usefulness of having well-connected friends.
Those are just some of the answers the book argues for. I hope you’ll read it, and I honestly can’t wait to hear what you think of it!
Of related interest: