Pious and Rebellious: Jewish Women in Medieval Europe

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UPNE, 2004 - 329 strani
This volume, an amazing act of historical recovery and reconstruction, offers a comprehensive examination of Jewish women in Europe during the High Middle Ages (1000–1300). Avraham Grossman covers multiple aspects of women’s lives in medieval Jewish society, including the image of woman, the structure of the family unit, age at marriage, position in family and society, her place in economic and religious life, her education, her role in family ceremonies, violence against women, and the position of the divorcée and the widow in society.

Grossman shows that the High Middle Ages saw a distinct improvement in the status of Jewish women in Europe relative to their status during the Talmudic period and in Muslim countries. If, during the twelfth century, rabbis applauded women as "pious and pure" because of their major role in the martyrdom of the Crusades of 1096, then by the end of the thirteenth century, rabbis complained that women were becoming bold and rebellious. Two main factors fostered this change: first, the transformation of Jewish society from agrarian to "bourgeois," with women performing an increasingly important function in the family economy; and second, the openness toward women in Christian Europe, where women were not subjected to strict limitations based upon conceptions of modesty, as was the case in Muslim countries. The heart of Grossman’s book concerns the improvement of Jewish women’s lot, and the efforts of secular and religious authorities to impede their new-found status.

Bringing together a variety of sources including halakhic literature, biblical and talmudic exegesis, ethical literature and philosophy, love songs, folklore and popular literature, gravestones, and drawings, Grossman’s book reconstructs the hitherto unrecorded lives of Jewish women during the Middle Ages.
 

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INTRODUCTION l
1
Sources
3
The Chronological and Geographical Framework
6
The Image of the Woman Partner or the Other?
8
The Creation and the Superiority of Man
10
The Temptation in the Garden of Eden and the Superiority of Man
13
Characteristics of Woman and the Superiority of Man
15
Women and Sorcery
20
Girls Education and Erudition in Ashkenaz 167
167
The Situation in Spain 170
170
Education of Jewish Women in Italy and Sicily
172
The Role of Women in Religious Life and in Family Ceremonies
174
The Role of Women in Religious Life in Christian Europe
175
The Performance of TimeLinked Positive Commandments
178
Women in the Synagogue 180
180
Women in the Celebration of Passover 188
188

The Medical Inferiority of Women and the Superiority of Men
23
The Obligation to Perform Mitzvot and the Superiority of Man
25
Expressions in Praise of Women and their Perception as Partner
27
Between Image and Reality
31
Age a t Ma rriage
33
The Talmudic Heritage
34
The Situation in Babylonia in the Eighth and Ninth Centuries
36
The Situation in Jewish Society during the Tenth through Thirteenth Centuries
37
Factors Causing the Large Number of Childhood Marriages
44
Results of Early Marriage
46
Engagement Betrothal and the Choice of a Marriage Partner
49
The Ban in Ashkenaz against Cancelling Engagements
51
Choice of Marriage Partner
55
Consensual Marriage in Christian Europe
60
The Institution of Matchmaking and Its Place in Jewish Society
64
Monogamy and Polygamy
68
The Situation in Ashkenaz
70
Polygamy in Spain
78
The Atmosphere in the Polygamous Family
88
Levirate Marriage and Bigamy
90
Feminine Modesty and Womens Role in Supporting the Family
102
Modesty in Muslim Society 103
103
Modesty in Jewish Society in Muslim Countries
105
The Miqveh Rebellion in Egypt 109
109
The Situation in Jewish Society in Spain
111
Feminine Modesty and Womens Work in Christian Europe
114
The Situation in Ashkenazic Jewish Society 117
117
Changes in the Legal Status of Women
121
Woman as Wife and Mother and Her Economic Status
123
Prostitution and Concubinage
133
The Womans Economic Status 147
147
Womens Culture and Education
154
The Situation in Muslim Society
157
The Situation in Christian Society 158
158
The Stance of the Jewish Sages in the Middle Ages 160
160
Learned Women
162
Education of Women in Jewish Society 165
165
Women Circumcisers 190
190
Fast Days and Acts of Charity by Women 192
192
Refraining from Eating Meat During the Season of Mourning 193
193
Women as Bearers of Halakhic Traditions 194
194
The Role of Women in Family Ceremonies 195
195
Womens Role in Jewish Martyrdom in Europe in the Eleventh to Thirteenth Centuries
198
The Historical Reliability of the Descriptions in the Chronicles 199
199
The Role of Women in Jewish Martyrdom According to Christian Sources
202
The Beauty and Purity of the Women
203
Kiddush Hashem and the Cultural and Social Status of the Women
204
The Description in the Chronicles and the Public Image
205
Between the Chronicles of 1096 and Sefer Zekhirah I
209
Violence Toward Women
212
The Situation in Christian and Muslim Society
213
The Position of the Babylonian Geonim
215
The Position of the Spanish Sages
218
Maimonides Position
219
The Situation in France and Italy
223
The Situation in Germany
225
Wife Beating for Education
228
Between Theory and Reality
230
The Divorcee and the Rebellious Wife
231
The Attitude of Medieval Jewish Sages to Divorce
232
Grounds for Divorce
235
THE REBELLIOUS WIFE
240
The Change at the Beginning of the Geonic Period
241
The Retreat from the Taqqanah of Moredet during the Twelfth Century
242
The Proliferation of Divorce in Ashkenaz in the Thirteenth Century and Thereafter
244
Rebellion of Women in Christian Society
248
Divorce in Spain
249
The Attitude to the Divorcee
251
The Widow and the Murderous Wife
253
Summary Womans Status in Historical Perspective
273
Notes
283
Glossary
307
Index
317
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O avtorju (2004)

AVRAHAM GROSSMAN is Professor of Jewish History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, a member of the Israeli National Academy of Sciences, and recipient of the prestigious Israel Prize and Bialik Prize for Jewish Studies.

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