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.
Feminist analysis of the Bible offers clues for the beginnings of gender bias in Western culture. Metaphors and literary persona from those ancient writings permeate Western literature and haunt our collective unconscious. The essays range from feminist strategies for understanding the social world at the time of the production of the Hebrew Bible to interpretations of key female literary figures such as Ruth, Esther, Judith, Sarah, Rachel and Leah, the unnamed daughter of Jephthah, and the unnamed Levite's concubine in the book of Judges.
A case history of five essays presents different perspectives and interpretations of one passage, Numbers 5: 16 - 31, the so-called "Sotah text." These articles show how critical interpretive perspectives are to reading and understanding a biblical text.
Women in the Hebrew Bible offers a stellar selection of the most important writings about the social, cultural and gender codes reflected in Biblical texts.
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