"With its emancipated imagination, the Bible clearly is intended for dramatic reperformance. Robin Gallaher Branch has well understood this and has brought her artistic sensibility to the task. The outcome is compelling scripts that will evoke many fresh performances. Her scripts provide the dramatic specificity and concreteness so crucial to the biblical plot."
--Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary
"Dr. Branch succeeds in this publication to bring biblical characters to life. In some instances, by having these characters converse with modern contexts, she comments on the transformative nature of the biblical text in the twenty-first century. In other cases, she captures and investigates the human spirit of her characters while keeping them confined to an ancient life setting. Either way she makes an exciting contribution to writing the present chapter in the reception history of the biblical text."
--Hans Van Deventer, Professor of Biblical Studies, North-West University, South Africa
"Dr. Branch claims that 'Plays capture the drama of theology in the making.' That is certainly true in her compositions, where she employs the scriptural idiom in dramatic format to invite both performers and audiences to see themselves as part of the greatest story ever told."
--Andrew Dearman, Professor of Old Testament, Fuller Theological Seminary
"Dr. Robin Gallaher Branch has taught on the college level, written for the Society of Biblical Literature, and published an important book on contributions of lesser-known women in the Old Testament. Dr. Branch is an excellent scholar, however, she is able to write so that the average person understands the message being conveyed. Her Six Biblical Plays for Contemporary Audiences is a delightful look at Bible stories and helps us see these rich stories in a playful light."
--John B. "Mike" Loudon, Pastor, First Presbyterian Church, Lakeland, FL
"Robin Gallaher Branch has written six plays which Christians will enjoy enacting as their audiences gain fresh insights into the significance of familiar biblical texts. The profound scholarship displayed in her annotations enables her to understand accurately the background of these texts. She correctly depicts Elizabeth and Mary as young teenagers at the time they were wed. She empathetically describes their emotions: Elizabeth while suffering the anguish of barrenness and Mary while living under the suspicion of being an adulteress. Her plays based on characters from Proverbs and on the parts of the body of Christ personified display wit and humor."
--Edwin M. Yamauchi, Professor of History Emeritus, Miami University
"These biblically based plays remind us of Jesus' method of teaching the multitudes through stories rather than directly through lectures. Robin does what Eugene Peterson said (using words from an Emily Dickinson poem) about Jesus with the parables--'Tell it slant.' Her technique works equally well with audiences that do not have a background of biblical knowledge and with those who think they know all about the Bible."
--David A. Bowen, Assistant Minister, Mid-Adults; Memphis Fellows Teacher,
Second Presbyterian Church
"Dr. Branch's plays serve as a wonderful tool to take a closer look at what REALLY happened in familiar Bible stories. As I read each play, I used my imagination and reason to ponder and question how I might receive a divine pronouncement--something that definitely would interrupt the routine of my life! Two characters in particular--Lady Wisdom and Mary--encouraged me to respond daily to God's freely offered wisdom and redemptive plan."
--Elizabeth Dickinson, Lawyer
"Dr. Branch's plays are theatrical windows into biblical narratives and human nature. Characters embody an array of emotions--from joy to fear and cockiness. Funny Bone Finds a Home is humorous. An audience or reader may chortle over the dismissive declarations of one member of the Body of Christ: 'I don't like being around you…I'd rather be out playing golf with unbelievers!' Yet upon reflection, Head's words may mirror an interior attitude that needs examination."
--Julia Thompson, Secondary Education English Literature, AP, CP, and ESL Teacher
"Dr. Branch's plays reflect her expertise as a biblical scholar and seasoned teacher. They are by turns humorous, tense, and profound, while teaching about the theology, cultural contexts, and critical issues around the texts dramatized. Four of the plays even include copious footnotes! These plays will be especially welcomed in college classrooms, where they can enliven class sessions without sacrificing content."
--James Buchanan Wallace, Associate Professor of Religion, Christian Brothers University
"In these plays, there are touching depictions of faith (and its lack): the moment we see the animals running to meet God, contrasted with Adam and Eve as they hide… Mary's courageous faith as she attempts to explain her predicament to Joseph, without knowing how he will respond…the faith of the disciples as they see what Jesus' resurrection means to all men…the faith that the Body of Christ is called to be one in their differences, in imitation of the Lord in His Trinity…Robin has laid out these moments for our contemplation, worship, and for the good of our souls. However, the most moving of these moments I found in the story of the Incarnation as told through the eyes of Elizabeth. Here we encounter something truly rare. We are moved by so many moments in the play, entitled Astonishment and Joy, but none more than the grand inclusive gesture that is its final tableau. Through Elizabeth's prophetic application of pronouns an astonishing reality is revealed: that the entire Church, both male and female, is, to her Lord, a bride. For this and these plays we owe Robin thanks."
--John Mason Hodges, Director, Center for Western Studies
"Entertaining, yet poignant. Funny, yet heartbreaking. Astonishing, yet delightful. Enraging, yet revealing. And now, let's talk about Dr. Robin Gallaher Branch's latest development: her book, Six Plays for Christian Audiences; prior to that, I was referring to the Bible. Dr. Branch captures all of these experiences and emotions we engage - or perhaps should engage - as we read through the Bible in a way few other means can: by the use of dramatic theater. Already a fan of her first book, Jeroboam's Wife, I eagerly anticipated the arrival of Six Plays, and it did not disappoint. Branch's careful, methodical scholarship underlays all her work and aims to excite all her readers' senses. She brings them as close as they can get, through both scholarship and imagination, to the flesh-and-blood (-and-spirit) reality of life in Old Testament times. Further, Dr. Branch aims to give those who read her books or receive her plays a deeper appreciation for the multifaceted cultural and historical elements of what biblical narrators assumed, but to which we are not necessarily privy. Yet, she also gently but boldly helps us consider the theological implications, whether glorious, comforting, or disturbing, beyond what may be obvious at first glance of the texts. At once entertaining, instructive, and illuminating, Six Plays will benefit individual readers, classes, and groups from young to old, and congregations through reading, performing, or viewing these plays. They, along with their attending questions for discussion, are simple enough for young viewers and participants and new believers, yet nuanced enough to engage and challenge older and mature Christians."
--Natalie R. W. Eastman, Author, Women, Leadership, and the Bible: How Do I Know What to Believe? A Practical Guide to Interpretation