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Women in the Bible

The Daughters of Zelophehad: A Historical-Geographical Approach

The Samaria ostraca and a close look at biblical verses and helps us locate Mahlah, Noa, Hoglah, Milkah, and Tirzah, in the territory of Manasseh.

Prof.

Aaron Demsky

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But Queen Vashti Refused: Consent and Agency in the Book of Esther

Personal agency and consent—granted or withheld—pervade the book of Esther, and are inextricably related to pre-existing power structures such as gender and social status.

Dr.

Jason Gaines

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Why Can Women's Vows Be Vetoed?

The vows of maiden daughters and wives are subject to veto by the woman’s father or husband. What does this say about the status of women in ancient Israel?

Dr.

Shawna Dolansky

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Will the Real Miriam Please Stand Up?

In biblical tradition, Miriam is known as Moses’ sister. Critical analysis reveals more about this ancient and once independent leader. 

Dr.

Tamar Kamionkowski

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Why Are There No Israelite Priestesses?

Hittite texts show us that in the ancient Near East, women, including the queen, served as priestesses. The biblical authors, in their fervor for YHWH, monotheism, and centralization of worship through one Temple and one priesthood, strongly objected.

Professor

Ada Taggar-Cohen

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The Enduring Value of "These Days of Purim"

The megillah emphasizes the ongoing obligation to observe Purim, and Maimonides asserts that it will endure even into the messianic age. Yet many modern Jewish thinkers have questioned this holiday’s continued relevance. What value does Purim continue to hold?

Prof.

Wendy Zierler

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Niddah (Menstruation): From Torah to Rabbinic Law

In Leviticus 15, the laws of niddah are about purity; Lev 18 and 20, however, prohibit sex during menstruation. The rabbis, who inherited both of these texts, create a new, hybrid concept: the prohibition of sex while a woman has the status of menstrual impurity.

Prof.

Charlotte Elisheva Fonrobert

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A Copper Laver Made from Women’s Mirrors

Who were these women and what were these mirrors used for? Reconstructing the narrative: the historical-critical method vs. midrash. 

Dr.

Rachel Adelman

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The Immortal Myth of Adam and Eve

Dr.

Shawna Dolansky

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Turning to God when a Fertility Ritual Fails

Channah and Elkanah’s yearly feast resembles a Mesopotamian fertility ritual; when year after year God doesn’t respond, Channah turns to God directly and enters the Tabernacle.

Dr.

Kristine Henriksen Garroway

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Who Is the Eshet Chayil?

Dr.

Jacqueline Vayntrub

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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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Judith: A Chanukah Heroine?

Judith is a beautiful, clever, and righteous Jewish woman who saves her people by enticing and then beheading the enemy commander who threatens Jerusalem and its Temple. What is her connection to Chanukah?

Prof.

Deborah Levine Gera

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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 Myers

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How Is It Possible that Jacob Mistakes Leah for Rachel?

“When morning came, there was Leah!” (Genesis 29:25). Could Jacob not tell the difference between his beloved of seven years and her sister, for a whole night? Commentators have long tried to make sense of the story by adding extra details, but perhaps we need to rethink the nature of Jacob and Rachel’s relationship during those years.

Dr. Rabbi

Zev Farber

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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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