Integrating Women Into Second Temple History
Most studies about women, Jewish and other, are usually confined to the domestic sphere: the home, the family, the bed. Yet women were present at all historical events, and it is not only their presence but also their significance for these events which should be recognized. All the sources seem to militate against an approach which assumes the presence of women at public events. When dealing with politics, war and religion they ignore women; when dealing with women, they confine themselves to their prescribed region of the home.In this book Tal Ilan seeks to discover women in public places and at the main events of Second Temple Judaism. The primary principle guiding her work is that if by chance women are mentioned in sources, they should not be treated as a means for explaining the event but rather as an end in themselves. Thus sources showing women as remote or obscure turn out to yield much relevant material.Tal Ilan investigates women's association with the Pharisees and other sects, and analyses women's role in the writings of Josephus, Ben Sira and other important sources. Furthermore she presents us with new insights into famous women: Shelamzion Alexandra, Beruriah, Berenice and others. Special space is devoted to the importance of the Judaean Desert Documents for women's history.
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