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Pious and Rebellious: Jewish Women in Medieval Europe » (1st Edition)

Book cover image of Pious and Rebellious: Jewish Women in Medieval Europe by Avraham Grossman

Authors: Avraham Grossman
ISBN-13: 9781584653929, ISBN-10: 1584653922
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Brandeis University Press
Date Published: June 2004
Edition: 1st Edition

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Author Biography: Avraham Grossman

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.

Book Synopsis

The first complete look at the social status and daily life of medieval Jewish women.

Table of Contents

The image of the woman : partner or the "other"?8
1The creation and the superiority of man10
2The temptation in the garden of Eden and the superiority of man13
3Characteristics of woman and the superiority of man15
4Women and sorcery20
5The "medical inferiority" of women and the superiority of men23
6The obligation to perform Mitzvot and the superiority of man25
7Expressions in praise of women and their perception as "partner"27
8Between image and reality31
Age at marriage33
1The Talmudic heritage34
2The situation in Babylonia in the eighth and ninth centuries36
3The situation in non-Jewish society36
4The situation in Jewish society during the tenth through thirteenth centuries37
5Factors causing the large number of childhood marriages44
6Results of early marriage46
Engagement, betrothal, and the choice of a marriage partner49
1The ceremonies and their development49
2The ban in Ashkenaz against cancelling engagements51
3Choice of marriage partner55
4Consensual marriage in Christian Europe60
5The institution of matchmaking and its place in Jewish society64
Monogamy and polygamy68
1The biblical and Talmudic heritage68
2The situation in Ashkenaz70
3Polygamy in Spain78
4The atmosphere in the polygamous family88
5Levirate marriage and bigamy90
Feminine modesty and women's role in supporting the family102
1The Talmudic tradition102
2Modesty in Muslim society103
3Modesty in Jewish society in Muslim countries105
4The "Miqveh rebellion" in Egypt109
5The situation in Jewish society in Spain111
6Feminine modesty and women's work in Christian Europe114
7The situation in Ashkenazic Jewish society117
8Changes in the legal status of women121
Woman as wife and mother and her economic status123
1The woman within her home123
2Prostitution and concubinage133
3The woman's economic status147
Women's culture and education154
1The Talmudic heritage154
2The situation in Muslim society157
3The situation in Christian society158
4The stance of the Jewish sages in the Middle Ages160
5Learned women162
6Education of women in Jewish society165
7Girls' education and erudition in Ashkenaz167
8The situation in Spain170
9Education of Jewish women in Italy and Sicily172
The role of women in religious life and in family ceremonies174
1The Biblical and Talmudic heritage174
2The role of women in religious life in Christian Europe175
3The performance of time-linked positive commandments178
4Women in the synagogue180
5Women in the celebration of Passover188
6Women circumcisers190
7Women as ritual slaughterers190
8Fast days and acts of charity by women192
9Refraining from eating meat during the season of mourning193
10Women as bearers of Halakhic traditions194
11The role of women in family ceremonies195
Women's role in Jewish martyrdom in Europe in the eleventh to thirteenth centuries198
1The descriptions of women in chronicles about the pogroms198
2The historical reliability of the descriptions in the Chronicles199
3The role of women in Jewish martyrdom according to Christian sources202
4The "beauty" and "purity" of the women203
5Kiddush Hashem and the cultural and social status of the women204
6The description in the chronicles and the public image205
7Between the chronicles of 1096 and Sefer Zekhirah209
Violence toward women212
1The Talmudic tradition212
2The situation in Christian and Muslim society213
3The position of the Babylonian Geonim215
4The position of the Spanish sages218
5Maimonides' position219
6The situation in France and Italy223
7The situation in Germany225
8Wife beating for "education"228
9Summary : between theory and reality230
The divorcee and the "rebellious wife"231
The divorcee231
1The Biblical and Talmudic heritage231
2The attitude of medieval Jewish sages to divorce232
3Grounds for divorce235
The "rebellious wife"240
1The change at the beginning of the Geonic period241
2The retreat from the Taqqanah of Moredet during the twelfth century242
3The proliferation of divorce in Ashkenaz in the thirteenth century and thereafter244
4"Rebellion" of women in Christian society248
5Divorce in Spain249
6The attitude to the divorcee251
The widow and the "murderous wife"253
1The large number of widows253
2The Biblical and Talmudic heritage254
3The situation in non-Jewish society255
4Life expectancy in Europe256
5The situation in Jewish society : the attitude to the widow's remarriage257
6The commonness of widowhood and its social significance259
7The widow's economic rights259
8The"murderous wife" (Qatlanit)262
Summary : woman's status in historical perspective273
1The positive changes273
2Negative changes277
3The silencing of creativity278
4Between "pious" and "rebellious" women280