Author Eric Metaxas Profiles the Greatness of Seven Women

Eric Metaxas, author of the best selling biographies on William Wilberforce and Dietrich Bonhoeffer has released another ground-breaking book. His latest, 7 Women, chronicles the lives of some of history’s heroines. The idea came from his book of a similar title, called 7 Men. 

“If I write the stories of seven heroes”, he shared, “that'll be a way to tell young men especially, this is God's idea of a great man. So I wrote that book and, of course, instantly people said, ‘When are you going to write Seven Women?’ And I thought, ‘Well, I guess right now.’”

He says the challenge was identifying which women to include. Some suggested women like Sally Ride, the first American woman in space.

“And I thought,” he said, “that's a really kind of masculine way of looking at achievement – like who did it first and also women are second. And I thought to myself, ‘Wait a second. Clearly if God created us male and female in his image, it's leaning in to who we are as women, if we're women, that is going to show God's greatness.’ And so it seems that the seven women I picked are particularly female."

“Joan of Arc,” he continued, “was not a macho warrior. She was a tremendously feminine, tremendously innocent young, holy woman of God, which is exactly the opposite of what you'd expect in a warrior, which is what made her this figure of veneration even among these hardened soldiers, that they treated her differently because they were in awe of the innocence, the purity. There was something beautiful about her. So in every one of the seven women, I think you see a different side of femininity”

Ultimately, Eric decided to tell the stories he was excited about.

“You can’t put in a thousand stories,” he explained. “You have to pick seven. So some of these stories I knew and I was very passionate to communicate them. So I started there, the story of Hannah More – amazing story. The story of Joan of Arc – amazing story. Corrie ten Boom, amazing. I already knew the story of Rosa Parks and how most people don't know about her Christian faith. So these are stories I already knew I was excited to tell.”   

As a biographer, Eric knows no one is perfect. And while he doesn’t shy away from telling the sometimes ugly truth, he believes that it is important not to demean others in the process.

“You can't give the sugarcoated version, but you don't need to know every negative thing about everyone,” he said. “There are beautiful things and I think that we have forgotten how to present the good things without feeling, ‘Oh, its hagiography.’ We need to see people live their lives, even when they stumble, how they stumble, how they get up, that's valuable for us.”  

Eventually, Eric had his final list: Joan of Arc, Susanna Wesley, Hannah More, Maria Skobtsova, Corrie ten Boom, Rosa Parks, and Mother Teresa – each of whom changed the world in some way. Eric believes that we all can learn something from their unique and stunning stories. 

“I get excited by these lives,” he shared. “I really do think that this is a way to help people, quite frankly. People are looking for these kinds of things and I know that people are going to read these stories and they will be moved and changed by it. And that's important.”

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