Unveiled: Women of the Old Testament and the choices they made

Unveiled: Women of the Old Testament and the choices they made

Authors : Clare Hayns and artist, Micah Hayns
£12.99

Some women of the Hebrew scriptures are well known, but many others are barely remembered. Even when they are, we often don’t pause on them long enough to think about what we might learn from them. Unveiled, written with frankness and humour and illustrated with striking artwork from a young Oxford-based artist, explores the stories of 40 women in 40 days. Each reflection ends with a short application to everyday life, guidance for further thought and a prayer.

Title Unveiled: Women of the Old Testament and the choices they made
Authors Clare Hayns and artist, Micah Hayns
Description

Some women of the Hebrew scriptures are well known, but many others are barely remembered. Even when they are, we often don’t pause on them long enough to think about what we might learn from them. Unveiled, written with frankness and humour and illustrated with striking artwork from a young Oxford-based artist, explores the stories of 40 women in 40 days. Each reflection ends with a short application to everyday life, guidance for further thought and a prayer.

Details
  • Product code: 9781800390720
  • Published: 22 October 2021
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 224
  • Dimensions: 165mm wide and 155mm high

Some women of the Hebrew scriptures are well known, but many others are barely remembered. Even when they are, we often don’t pause on them long enough to think about what we might learn from them. Unveiled, written with frankness and humour and illustrated with striking artwork from a young Oxford-based artist, explores the stories of 40 women in 40 days. Each reflection ends with a short application to everyday life, guidance for further thought and a prayer.

Clare Hayns is College Chaplain at Christ Church, Oxford. She grew up in rural Buckinghamshire, her childhood more Pony Club than church youth group. Pre-ordination she was a social worker and then ran an events company. She is married to John, an entertainer, and has three creative sons, the eldest of whom is the illustrator of this book.

Born in 1997, Micah Hayns is a contemporary classical painter from Oxford. He takes the classical techniques and tradition of the old masters, whom he studied at the Florence Academy of Art, and infuses them with a contemporary aesthetic, inspired by street art, abstract expressionism and collage. 

 

Review by Jules Middleton: Apples of Gold 18.11.21

Unveiled is the kind of book I wish I had written. Highlighting & exploring some of the women of the Old Testament, Clare brings to the fore women we have heard of and those given only the briefest of mentions, that we have probably all glossed over. Unveiled is a beautiful reflection of women of the Old Testament, drawing the reader across passages and books of the bible to the wider narrative, alongside contemporary connections. Together with the beautiful illustrations from professional artist Micah Hayns (who also happens to be Clare’s son) this book is a rich resource.

Unveiled focuses on 40 women of the Old Testament, divided into sections focussing on themes like motherhood, prophetic women, bad girls and more. For each woman there is a passage of scripture, a section about her and her narrative, followed by a short reflection and a prayer. These are accompanied by Micah’s illustrations which are contemporary and yet culturally sensitive and really bring the women’s stories to life, enabling the reader to picture how they might have looked.

Clare seeks to lift the veil enabling us to see into the lives of these women as real women, with all their positive characteristics and their flaws. She gives us the background info that we may not have known, the context in which these women lived out their daily lives, points to their faith – or lack of, and she doesn’t shy away from some of the more difficult stories like that of Dinah or Tamar, in the #MeToo section.

This book is not just for women either, it would be a welcome accompaniment to anyone’s journey of  Christian faith, helping the reader to have a deeper understanding of some of the Old Testament stories and people. Clare asks questions to challenge the reader on their own understanding and faith, calling us to reflect some of the attributes of the women she highlights; like courage, faith and compassion for example. Originally written as a Lent challenge, looking at a woman a day for 40 days, the book would lend itself well to a Lent study but is a wonderful book in its own right.

I’ve worked my way through this book over the last few weeks but I know I’ll be dipping into it again and again. It would also make a great Christmas present!

Reviewed by Jules Middleton on her blog: Picking Apples of Gold

 

Review by Julia Baldwin, Chaplain, Brasenose College, Oxford

Unveiled is arresting. Clare and Micah weave a rich tapestry of inspiring words and striking images to bring the women of the Old Testament to life in all their beauty, curiosity and strangeness. Each character portrait draws us in to dwell on their contextual reality as well as forging connections and resonances with the present day.

This is a bold and beautiful book, which enables the reader to reflect deeply on the complexity and questions of life, not just for these Old Testament women but for all people today.

By bringing to light long-forgotten female figures of the Old Testament, Clare and Micah renew our passion and wonder at the wildness of the women of the Bible and God's love for them, us and all people.

Julia Baldwin, Chaplain, Brasenose College, Oxford

 

Reviewed by Helen Barnes, team rector Cherwell Valley Benefice

I originally read Unveiled as a daily blog throughout Lent in 2020. I’m not a person who is spiritually organised and I struggle with regular prayer times, or study times, preferring to deepen my faith as the Spirit leads me. However, and it’s a big however, I read this every day. Not only did I read it every day, but I looked forward to reading it every day. I’ve never done that before. On reflection it is not just because it is about women, it is because it is because most of the women in Unveiled were almost inconsequential. Yet Clare looks deeper into what little we know about them and makes them intrinsic to the story of God in the bible. We all know that each of us is important to God, but Unveiled provides the proof that even the most seemingly unimportant people have a major place in God’s heart. I cannot recommend this book enough.

Reviewed by Revd Helen C. Barnes Team Rector Cherwell Valley Benefice

 

Reviewed by Sarah Brush, Tutor in Pastoral Theology, Rippon College Cuddesdon 

A wonderful book in which to re-encounter in word and image the familiar faces from the Hebrew Scriptures as well as discover less familiar women, named and unnamed. I found new insights into those better-known women such as Sarah, Naomi and Delilah through the imaginative representations in art and the beautiful prayers and insightful reflections. The connections between those eyes which look out at us from the page and our current lived experience were particularly striking. I have enjoyed dipping in at random as well as seeking out those women about whom I want to know more. This would be a great daily devotional for Lent or for another season whether your knowledge of scripture is small or great.

Reviewed by Sarah Brush

 

 

Reviewed by Megan Chester

I loved reading Unveiled. It turns out, the Old Testament is packed full of wonderful women. Who knew? Unveiled allows readers to spend time with biblical women, getting to know their stories and learning from their lives. From Eve to Miriam, Abigail to Jezebel - Clare's words and Micah's artworks remind us of these women's realness and relevance. They were powerful, resilient influential and beautiful. They were also imperfect, overlooked, mistreated and discontent. Sound familiar? 

Some chapters helped me to look at familiar stories in fresh ways - to see the book of Ruth primarily as a story of intergenerational female friendship rather than a romance, for example. Other chapters told me stories I had forgotten or perhaps never knew, such as Mrs Samson's disastrous wedding. In an accessible way, this book encourages deep thought about how these women's stories can bring us closer to God. Looking at Micah's paintings feels like seeing into souls. Clare's words expound this. Together they facilitate and focus reflection.