A book about the women of the Bible claims to have counted all the words spoken by females in the Good Book, as well as the context in which they were spoken.
Titled Bible Women: All Their Words and Why They Matter, the work was authored by the Rev. Lindsay Hardin Freeman, a former pastor at Trinity Episcopal Church in Excelsior, Minnesota.
In an interview with The Christian Post on Tuesday, Freeman explained that the book derived from the absence of any theological work that had "a comprehensive and systematic analysis of which women talked in the Bible and what they said."
"I thought it would be easy to find out. I thought someone would have done the research before," said Freeman.
"So it looks like we're the first to do so. Bible women have been locked in dry and dusty literary caskets for centuries, and we are experiencing much joy in helping to free them."
In her research, Freeman used the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible due to it being "readily accessible to everyone" and was aided in her research by members of Trinity Episcopal Church.
"I'm backed up and surrounded by a wonderful research group of Episcopalian women: Sue Webster, a newly-retired woman, Christy Stang, a homeschooled teen, and Joyce White, a women's group facilitator," said Freeman.
"We spent three years working in the church basement on this book together, and our lives have been transformed, taking in the faith statements of women in the Bible."
Freeman and her peers counted approximately 15,000 words spoken by women in the Bible, but added that the more notable figures tend to have fewer words to their credit.
Eve, the first woman, had only 74 words, Mary Magdalene had 61, and the Virgin Mary had 161. By contrast, the unnamed woman in the Song of Solomon had well over 1,400 words attributed to her.
"All the words that women said (a little over 15,000) in the Bible could be spoken in under two hours. For the impact that they had on world history, that's a huge statement," said Freeman.
"The woman who spoke the most in the Old Testament is the unnamed woman in the Song of Solomon. Here's this wonderful, sensual, lovely book of the Bible and she is talking about the man she loves, searching for him, planning her union with him, and yet very few people have even heard of her."
Released last September, Freeman's Bible Women has garnered its share of compliments.
Liz Curtis Higgs, who heads a women's ministry and authored the bestselling book Bad Girls of the Bible, told CP that she considers Freeman's work "a brilliant and original approach to studying the women of the Bible."
"Although the exact number of spoken words would vary by translation, that doesn't diminish the value of hearing what these ancient women had to say," said Higgs.
"What they said and did does matter. Whether they're bad girls who show us what not to do, or good girls who serve as timeless role models, these women have much to teach us."
Higgs also told CP that she believes there's a growing interest in the study of women in the Bible, both in the world of scholars and popular culture, which has nevertheless always existed in some form.
"Those of us who write about biblical women are doing our part to unwrap the historical and spiritual truth of Scripture, which recounts the lives of men and women," said Higgs.
"Their stories have spoken to every generation, and will continue to do so, because of the richness, the drama, the complexity we find in their characters."