The Transformation of Biblical Women: Medieval Society Rereads the Bible

Posted by Professor Elisheva Baumgarten on January 26, 2015
Topics: Medieval Europe, History, Women's Issues, Hershdorfer Kantrowitz Brettler Lectures

2015 Hershdorfer Kantrowitz Brettler Lecture Series
The Transformation of Biblical Women: Medieval Society Rereads the Bible.
Professor Elisheva Baumgarten.

In this series, Professor Elisheva Baumgarten will demonstrate how medieval Jewish society re-reads the Bible in novel and suprising ways. This will be an intruiging mix of Bible, history, sociology, Judaism and medieval Christianity.

Part 1: Asking for Her Reply?: Rebecca as a Model for Choosing a Marriage Partner
The biblical Rebecca agreed to marry Isaac without seeing or meeting him prior to leaving her home and family. Some commentators suggest that she was very young. Beginning from this model of arranged marriage and from the commentaries on it, this talk will address the question of choice and age of marriage in medieval Europe.

Part 2: A Women of her Times: Jephthah’s Daughter, Water and Danger
Jephthah’s daughter is an unnamed heroine of one of the most appalling stories in the book of Judges. Her story ends with the statement that she was remembered by Jewish women four days a year. How was she remembered and how was her story retold?

Part 3: Like Abigail: Charity and Control of Marital Property
Abigail was the wife of one of the most evilly portrayed men in the Bible, Nabal the Carmelite. She also went expressly against her husband’s orders giving David and his men food. This talk will describe the surprising ways in which she served as a model for women who went against their husband’s instructions.


About Professor Elisheva Baumgarten

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