Elizabeth Cady Stanton, 1815-1902, was not only one of the women who worked to obtain the vote for women in the United States. She and Susan B. Anthony made a pair of women who were not going to quit until we had the vote. Elizabeth and Susan also put out a women’s movement weekly paper and there was the Women’s Bible Project. Susan was single and Elizabeth was married with eleven children.
Elizabeth felt that the Bible was not inclusive in its voice. She felt that the Bible excluded women. A committee was formed of ministers, Greek and Hebrew scholars, who devoted themselves to the project. There was a group of thirty women who worked on the revisions. The various books of the Testaments were divided and they reviewed all the passages which concerned women.
These passages were cut out and pasted in another blank book, and the new commentaries were written beneath. This was a huge undertaking in comparison to what it would be today, as it all had to be done by hand.
The inauguration of the women’s movement to emancipate the Bible began in August, 1895. The suffragets felt that the Bible had been used to hold black people and women in the “divinely ordained sphere”. The canon and civil law; church and state; all denominations and political parties have taught that woman was made after man and was made an inferior being.
Charles Kingsley said, this will never be a good world for woman until the last remnant of the canon law is swept from the face of the earth.” Little did he know that the dogmas and teachings of all fundamental religions work to hold women in place as second class citizens. Even now in August, 2012.
The Bible was used as permission from God to back the buying and selling of slaves and the ownership of women by the men in their lives. Women’s challenges to their status were referred back to this same Bible. The church determined that slavery and the right to vote only belonging to men was allegedly backed up by scripture. The mothers of the Suffrage movement saw the terrible misuse of these scriptures.
Women in America and England began this work with a large committee. They fought an uphill battle against the criticisms of their society. They proudly pushed ahead knowing that women’s political and social degradation were the results of women’s status in the Bible.
The only parts of the Bible that were edited were the ones concerning women. The Women’s Bible is still in print and available on Kindle also. It is a very enlightening reading experience.