"A powerful novel . . . recommended." —Library Journal

Ancient Rage

by Mary Lee Wile
Literature / Spirituality


5.5 x 8.5
144 pages
(hardcover available for $11.20)

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NINE YEARS after John's death, the mother of John the Baptist can no longer contain her rage at what happened to him and to Jesus. Unable to comprehend God's plans. striving to hear God's voice for herself, the widowed Elizabeth pours out her heart to Mary in the desert wilderness of her final days.

This wonderfully written work deeply engages a struggle going on in the souls of many modern women (see Nor Hall review below) —here imaginatively portrayed in a no-holds-barred dialogue between the raw, unassuageable pain/rage of Elizabeth (mother of John the Baptist) and the deep, patient, loving trust in God's will of Mary (mother of Jesus) nine years after the violent deaths of their two sons.

"Are women expected to sacrifice that which is most precious to them? Is the deep life of the feminine duped by the patriarchal god? Will old age alter the intensity of our feeling? Two old mothers who share a common cultural and familial milieu in Israel diverge radically in their beliefs—including over the meaning of losing a child. The struggle that ensues within the friendship of Mary and Elizabeth is like the struggle going on in every woman's soul, tossed between accepting life's absurd demands with quiet equanimity, and wanting to shatter all complacency by releasing an ancient burning rage. . . . of interest to women's spirituality groups, theologians, psychotherapists, cultural critics, storytellers, exegetes, feminist historians . . ." —Nor Hall, author of The Moon and the Virgin

Review highlights

"Not much is given to us about the deepest feelings of women in scripture. Mary Lee Wile plunges into the depths of Elizabeth's heart . . ." —Madeleine L'Engle

"This powerful novel captures the isolation, grief, and anger that Elizabeth experiences in a society where women, even the mothers of prophets, are second-class citizens; . . . also captures the strength and power of women's friendships. Recommended. —Library Journal

"Well written, thought-provoking. A significant contribution to the annals of biblical fiction."  —Publishers Weekly