Bible & The Arts
Biblical Commentaries
Biblical Languages
Hebrew Bible / Old Testament
History of the Biblical Period
Journals
Literature of the Bible
New Testament
Theology of the Bible
Bible Bibliographies
Bible in the Modern World
Biblical Reception
Classic Reprints
Dictionary of Classical Hebrew
Earth Bible Commentary
Hebrew Bible Monographs
Journal of Greco-Roman Christianity and Judaism
New Testament Monographs
Phoenix Guides to the New Testament
Phoenix Guides to the Old Testament
Readings: A New Biblical Commentary
Recent Research in Biblical Studies
Text of the Hebrew Bible
The Social World of Biblical Antiquity, First Series
The Social World of Biblical Antiquity, Second Series
Click here for titles coming soon...
Click here to view the latest titles
Click here to view the complete catalogue
Search Books & Journals
About Us
For Authors
For Customers
Contact Us
Facebook





xiii + 204 pp.

£25 / $42.50 / €32.50
Scholar's Price

£50 / $85 / €65
List Price
Hardback






Women in the Pentateuch
A Feminist and Source-Critical Analysis
Sarah Shectman

For the first time, literary source criticism and feminist biblical interpretation are here brought together systematically. Taking into account recent trends in Pentateuchal source criticism, Shectman divides the narrative into priestly and non-priestly threads, tracing the portrayal of women in each. In both sources, as Moses comes to the fore, women recede increasingly into the background, with the result that far fewer women appear in Exodus–Numbers than appear in Genesis.

A stark contrast between the sources also emerges from this study: non-P contains many more fully developed narrative traditions focused on women, particularly those involving childbirth, pointing to an original genre of narratives unique to biblical women. However, with the combination of traditions in the Pentateuch, these traditions are absorbed into the patriarchal ones, culminating in Genesis 17, P’s programmatic statement of the promise and covenant. P significantly limits the roles of women that were preserved in non-P. This difference between the sources is primarily the result of increased centralization: whereas the non-P material reflects a period before centralization had become entrenched, in P, centralization has taken hold, with the result that women’s roles are more limited.

In addition to a new and detailed source-critical analysis of women in the Pentateuch, this book also provides a detailed overview of feminist biblical criticism, from the work of Elizabeth Cady Stanton up to the present, which will be useful for those interested in the history of biblical, particularly feminist, interpretation.


Sarah Shectman is Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Judaic Studies, Binghamton University (State University of New York).

Series: Hebrew Bible Monographs, 23
978-1-906055-72-1 hardback
Publication August 2009

Contents
1. FEMINIST STUDY OF PENTATEUCHAL NARRATIVE
1. An Overview of Feminist Biblical Scholarship
Feminist Theological Criticism
Feminist Historians
Feminist Literary Critics
What about Men?
Feminism and Historical-Critical Method
2. Conclusions

2. THE MATRIARCHS OUTSIDE THE PRIESTLY CORPUS
1. Introduction
2. The Matriarchal Childbirth Narratives
Promises to the Patriarchs
The Question of Deuteronomic Editing of the Promises
The Promises to Hagar
The Matriarchal Childbirth Traditions
Texts outside Genesis
The Combination of the Traditions
Conclusions
3. Wife-Sister Stories
4. Genealogical Material
5. Other Material on Sarah
6. Rebekah
7. Rachel and Leah
8. Conclusions

3. OTHER WOMEN OUTSIDE THE PRIESTLY CORPUS
1. Women in the Primeval History
Eve
Other Women in the Primeval History
2. Other Women in the Ancestral History
Lot’s Wife and Daughters
Keturah
Dinah
Deborah
3. Women in the Joseph Cycle
Tamar
Potiphar’s Wife
Asenath
4. Women in Exodus and Numbers
Exodus 1:15–2:10
Zipporah
Miriam
Numbers 25:1-5
5. Conclusions

4. WOMEN IN P’S GENESIS
1. Genealogical Material
Genesis 5
Genesis 11
Genesis 12
Genesis 25
Genesis 35
Genesis 36
Genesis 46
2. Narrative Material
Genesis 1:1–2:4a
Genesis 6–9
Genesis 16
Genesis 17
Genesis 21:1-5
Genesis 23 (and 49:31)
Genesis 26:34-35; Genesis 27:46–28:9
Genesis 48:7
3. Conclusions

5. WOMEN IN P’S EXODUS–NUMBERS
1. Genealogical Material
Exodus 6:14-25
Numbers 20:1
Numbers 26:46
Numbers 26:59
2. Narrative Material
Exodus 35:20–36:7
Exodus 38:8
Leviticus 24:10-16, 23
Numbers 25:6-18
Numbers 26:33; 27:1-11; 36:1-12
Numbers 31
3. Women in the Priestly Laws
4. Conclusions


Reviews
Shectman has identified a gap in pentateuchal scholarship and in addressing this makes a valuable contribution both in the area of methodology and with regard to interpretation of pentateuchal texts. Her summary of the history of interpretation is clear and concise; she captures the nuances of various positions and the fluidity within the debates, especially surrounding source criticism, in a constructive way; and her summing up of the views of feminist critics is enlightening. She carefully defines her method and its parameters and does not claim more than what is possible within these. Her discussion of texts is well-balanced, skillful, and to the point. The feminist perspective Shectman brings is down to earth, and she is careful to steer clear of emotive judgments, which is perhaps a reflection of a later stage of feminism, in a younger generation, with a different perspective and motivation from earlier feminists such as P. Trible. Particularly helpful is her approach of taking into account the primary purpose of the text when describing the depiction and role of women within it. Suzanne Boorer, Review of Biblical Literature.