Women in the Hebrew Bible: A Reader

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Women in the Hebrew Bible presents the first one-volume overview covering the interpretation of women's place in man's world within the Hebrew Bible or Old Testament. Written by the major scholars in the field of biblical studies and literary theory, these essays examine attitudes toward women and their status in ancient Near Eastern societies, focusing on the Israelite society portrayed by the Hebrew Bible.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Bach (religious studies, Stanford Univ.), author of Women, Seduction, and Betrayal in Biblical Narrative (Cambridge Univ., 1997), has compiled a fascinating collection of nearly 40 essays on attitudes toward women and their status in early biblical times. Top scholars in the field--Esther Fuchs, Susan Ackerman, Howard Eilberg-Schwartz, Bach herself, and many others--analyze the lives and roles of the "wives" (Sarah, Rebekah, Leah), the "Good Girls" (Ruth, Esther, Judith), the "Bad Girls" (Eve, Delilah, Bathsheba, Jezebel), the "Sad Girls" (Lot's daughters, Dinah), the "Women Warriors" (Miriam, Deborah), the "Amazing Women" (the Medium of Endor, the Wise Women of Tekoa, the Playmate of God), and the ordinary women in extraordinary and revelatory depth. Included are extensive notes and bibliographies, though, alas, no index or author credits. Students and scholars in the fields of Hebrew studies, biblical history, and feminism will revel in the complex insights here, though general readers may have trouble. Highly recommended for special collections.--Marcia G. Welsh, Guilford Free Lib., CT
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415915601
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 11/28/1998
  • Pages: 568
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Alice Bach is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Stanford University and the editor of Biblicon, a journal of Bible, media, and culture. She is the author of Women, Seduction, and Betrayal in Biblical Narrative (1997) as well as numerous award-winning children's books.
is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Stanford University. She is the author of Women, Seduction, and Betrayal in Biblical Narrative (1997) and editor of several scholarly articles, including Biblical Glamour and Hollywood Glitz. She is also the author of numerous award-winning children's books.

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Table of Contents

Editor's Note
Introduction: Man's World, Women's Place: Sexual Politics in the Hebrew Bible
The Social World of Women in Ancient Israel
The Place of Women in the Israelite Cultus 3
"And the Women Knead Dough": The Worship of the Queen of Heaven in Sixth-Century Judah 21
Women and the Domestic Economy of Early Israel 33
Structure and Patriarchal Functions in the Biblical Betrothal Type-Scene: Some Preliminary Notes 45
The Problem of the Body for the People of the Book 53
Reading Women into Biblical Narratives
Status and Role of Female Heroines in the Biblical Narrative 77
Woman and the Discourse of Patriarchal Wisdom: A Study of Proverbs 1-9 85
The Harlot as Heroine: Narrative Art and Social Presupposition in Three Old Testament Texts 99
His Story Versus Her Story: Male Genealogy and Female Strategy in the Jacob Cycle 119
The Literary Characterization of Mothers and Sexual Politics in the Hebrew Bible 127
Who's Afraid of "The Endangered Ancestress"? 141
Goddesses and Women of Magic
A Heifer from Thy Stable: On Goddesses and the Status of Women in the Ancient Near East 159
The Queen Mother and the Cult in Ancient Israel 179
The Wise Women of 2 Samuel: A Role Model for Women in Early Israel? 195
Rereading Women in the Bible
Reading Strategies and the Story of Ruth 211
"A Son is Born to Naomi!": Literary Allusions and Interpretation in the Book of Ruth 233
The Seduction of Eve and the Exegetical Politics of Gender 241
Genesis 22: The Sacrifice of Sarah 271
Sexual Politics in the Hebrew Bible
Law and Philosophy: The Case of Sex in the Bible 293
Eroticism and Death in the Tale of Jael 305
Dealing/With/Women: Daughters in the Book of Judges 317
Adultery in the House of David: The Metanarrative of Biblical Scholarship and the Narratives of the Bible 335
Signs of the Flesh: Observations on Characterization in the Bible 351
Sacrifice and Salvation: Otherness and Domestication in the Book of Judith 367
Judith, Holding the Tale of Herodotus 377
Feminist Identities in Biblical Interpretation
Rereading the Body Politic: Women and Violence in Judges 21 389
Transforming the Nature of Community: Toward a Feminist People of Israel 403
With a Song in Her Heart: Listening to Scholars Listening for Miriam 419
Roundtable Discussion: Women with Disabilities - A Challenge to Feminist Theology 429
A Case History: Numbers 5:11-31
Introduction to A Case History 461
The Strange Case of the Suspected Sotah (Numbers V 11-31) 463
The Case of the Suspected Adulteress, Numbers 5:11-31: Redaction and Meaning 475
Numbers 5 and the "Waters of Judgment" 483
Accusations of Adultery: A Study of Law and Scribal Practice in Numbers 5:11-31 487
Good to the Last Drop: Viewing the Sotah (Numbers 5.11-31) as the Glass Half Empty and Wondering How to View It Half Full 503
Feminist Bibliography: Bible 523
Feminist, Womanist, and Mujerista Theologies 533
Permissions Acknowledgments 537
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