Thursday, February 10, 2005

For Women, Middle Ages Might Have Been Golden...

My review of two books about Jewish women in the Middle Ages, discussed extensively on this blog, appears in the Forward this week.
Eight hundred years ago, thousands of Jewish Egyptian women refused to immerse in the ritual bath. Only Maimonides’s threat that they would lose their Ketubah money quelled the orchestrated rebellion, years after it began. A century later in Ashkenaz (Christian Europe), rabbis were astonished by the large number of Jewish women who refused to have marital relations with their husbands, asking instead to be proclaimed “rebellious wives” and divorced.
“Between the lines,” writes Avraham Grossman in a new book titled “Pious and Rebellious,” “echoes the voice of powerful women, very different from the ideal of the submissive and shy figure depicted by thinkers during the Middle Ages and the early modern period.”
Continue...

1 comment:

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