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!
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.