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A Question of Sex? Gender and Difference in the Hebrew Bible and Beyond

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Gender differences between men and women are not just a matter of sexual differentiation; the roles that men and women play are also socially and culturally determined, in ancient Israel and post-biblical Judaism as in every other context.

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Gender differences between men and women are not just a matter of sexual differentiation; the roles that men and women play are also socially and culturally determined, in ancient Israel and post-biblical Judaism as in every other context.

That is the theme of these ten studies. The first part of the volume examines the gender definitions and roles that can be identified in the Hebrew Bible’s legal and ritual texts. The second part uses archaeological and anthropological perspectives to interrogate the biblical text and the society that formed it on issues of gender. The third part explores similar gender issues in a range of material outside the Hebrew Bible, from the Apocrypha through Josephus and Philo down to mediaeval Jewish marriage contracts (ketubbot).

Among the questions here discussed are: Why are men, but not women, required to bathe in order to achieve ritual purity after incurring certain types of defilement? What understandings of masculinity and femininity underlie the regulations about incest? Was ancient Israel simply a patriarchal society, or were there more complex dynamics of power in which women as well as men were involved? What do post-biblical re-interpretations of the female figures of Wisdom and Folly in Proverbs 1 —9 suggest about heterosexual masculinity? And what kind of rights did mediaeval Middle-Eastern Jewish women have within their marriage relationships?

This is the first volume in the sub-series King’s College London Studies in the Bible and Gender. The second is Embroidered Garments: Priests and Gender in Biblical Israel (2009).

Additional information

Table of Contents

Part I: Methodological Considerations
Deborah F. Sawyer, Gender Criticism : A New Discipline in Biblical Studies or Feminism in Disguise?

Part II: Gender in Law and Ritual
Deborah W. Rooke, The Bare Facts: Gender and Nakedness in Leviticus 18
Bernard S. Jackson, Gender Critical Observations on Tripartite Breeding Relationships in the Hebrew Bible
Amy Kalmanofsky, Their Heart Cried Out to God: Gender and Prayer in the Book of Lamentations
Nicole J. Ruane, Bathing, Status and Gender in Priestly Ritual

Part III: Ethnological and Anthropological Approaches to Gender
Carol Meyers, Contesting the Notion of Patriarchy: Anthropology and the Theorizing of Gender in Ancient Israel
Ovidiu Creanga, The Silenced Songs of Victory: Power, Gender and Memory in the Conquest Narrative of Joshua (Joshua 1–12)

Part IV: Gender in Post-Biblical Literature
Tal Ilan, Women in the Apocrypha and the Pseudepigrapha
Andrew Angel, From Wild Men to Wise and Wicked Women: An Investigation into Male Heterosexuality in Second Temple Interpretations of the Ladies Wisdom and Folly
Rebecca Jefferson, Genizah Marriage Contracts: Contrasting Biblical Law and Halakhah with Mediaeval Practice

Reviews

  1. Carol Dempsey, Catholic Biblical Quarterly.

    The volume is well crafted and nicely organized. It makes an excellent contribution to gender studies in the field of biblical literature.

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Book information

Editor
Deborah W. Rooke
List Price
£45 / $90 / €67
Series
Hebrew Bible Monographs, 14
Scholars' Price
£22.50 / $45 / €33.50
ISBN 13 hardback
978-1-906055-20-2
Paperback price
£17.50 / $24.95 / €21
ISBN 13 Paperback
978-1-906055-93-6
Format
Hardback / Paperback
Page Extent
xi + 184
Publication Date
December 2009
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