Women in Ancient Israel: A Contemporary View

4 April 2015
This paper analyzes critically the role and position of women in the ancient Israel with reference to Hebrew Bible/Old Testament and contemporary scholarly journals and books.

The paper discusses the place of Israelite women in ancient days, her status and economic roles. The author states that the Israelite women could have been better, more productive citizens had their status and their environment been more favorable towards them. The author continues that understanding the role of Israelite women in ancient times has a significance place in understanding women in the modern world. She illustrates this by discussing the lives of Jewish women in the coal field economy and in the modern practices in Judaism.
“In the masterpiece by Adler, “Engendering Judaism”, the author skillfully explains the hardships faced by Israelite women and the obstacles that the Jewish feminists have had to overcome: “Jewish law needed to be reconstructed to eliminate the ancient premise that women are subordinate to men, yet at the same time maintain the law. For without law there is no means to translate the stories and values of Judaism into action” (Jones et al, 58) . Hence taking into account the author’s opinion as well as what the biblical law stated above, it is evident that Israeli women were considered not only subordinate to Israeli men due to lack of women rights awareness and inaccurate interpretation of the Hebrew biblical context, it was strict adherence to the rituals, the olden day’s traditional laws and socio-economic rules that led to Israelite women’s submissive attitude towards their male counterparts for rituals play a pivotal role in shaping our concepts, attitudes, emotions, behavior and social status. For a ritual is a spiritual ballet, it captures in symbols the emotions that go with an important life transition. ”
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