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Gender

Israel’s Wood Choppers and Water Drawers

Moses extends the covenant to all of Israel, “from the hewer of your wood to the drawer of your water” (Deut 29). The midrash connects this group with the Gibeonites of Joshua 9, creating an anachronism which later rabbinic commentators try to resolve.

Dr.

Wendy Love Anderson

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A Woman Who Seizes a Man’s Testicles During a Fight, Her Hand Is Cut Off

A wife who intervenes in a fight to save her husband by grabbing his opponent’s testicles is punished by having her hand cut off (Deut 25:11–12). What is the nature of her offense? Why isn’t her intent to save her husband a mitigating factor? What is the relationship between the punishment and the crime?

Dr.

Hilary Lipka

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Marrying a Beautiful Captive Woman

If an Israelite wishes to marry a woman taken captive in war, she becomes part of the Israelite polity and is protected from future re-enslavement. Uncomfortable with the Torah’s permitting this marriage, the rabbis declare it to be a compromise to man’s “evil impulse,” an idea reminiscent of Jesus’ claim that the Torah allows divorce as a compromise to humanity’s “hard heart.”

Prof. Rabbi

Shaye J. D. Cohen

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Dr. Rabbi

Zev Farber

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Shaming Women Suspected of Adultery - What About Men?

The Mishnah adds further humiliation to the biblical sotah ritual for a suspected adulteress. Other rabbinic texts from the same period critique this expansion, as well as the gender inequality inherent in the ritual itself.

Prof.

Ishay Rosen-Zvi

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Postpartum Impurity: Why Is the Duration Double for a Girl?

Compared to the birth of a son, Leviticus 12 requires a double-period of purification upon the birth of a daughter. Interpreters in antiquity offered two basic models to explain this. The first approach was to utilize biological “knowledge,” the second was to ground the law in the biblical story of Adam and Eve.

Dr. Rabbi

Zev Farber

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The Gender of God

What is the gender of the God of creation? Of YHWH in general?

Prof.

Marc Zvi Brettler

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A Feminist Literalist Allegorical Reading of Shir Hashirim

Finding Gender equality without compromising God and meaning in a sanctified collection of love poems.

Prof.

Wendy Zierler

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The Immortal Myth of Adam and Eve

Dr.

Shawna Dolansky

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Looking Through the Window: A Gendered Motif

Abimelech, Michal, Sisera’s mother, and Jezebel all look through a window, but their experience is not the same.

Prof.

Aaron Demsky

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Non-Gender Equality at Creation

The “Other” Benefits of Partners

Prof. Rabbi

Tamara Cohn Eskenazi

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Yael and the Subversion of Male Leaders in Judges

The Canaanite general Sisera is killed by Yael in her tent but in an older version of the story, he died in battle at the hands of the Israelite general, Barak. The story was revised as part of a broader theme in Judges, to weaken the image of male military heroes through women and give the power to God.

Dr.

Jacob L. Wright

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The Prohibition of Cross-Dressing

What does Deuteronomy 22:5 prohibit and why?

Dr.

Hilary Lipka

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The Making of Adam

Understanding the Midrash in Light of Plato and the Pseudepigrapha

Dr.

Malka Zeiger Simkovich

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Re-Encountering Miriam

The biblical portrait of Miriam can leave the feminist reader with a lingering bitterness but a literary rereading may help highlight her prophetic leadership role.

Prof.

Wendy Zierler

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The Shunammite Woman and the Patriarchy Problem

Virtually all biblical scholars—even feminist biblical scholars—consider the Bible and ancient Israelite society patriarchal.[1] But is that a valid designation?

Prof.

Carol Meyers

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Gender Equality at Creation

A methodologically rigorous reading of the account of the Woman's creation reveals a fundamentally egalitarian view of the sexes that is both nuanced and psychologically sensitive.

Dr.

Raanan Eichler

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