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The Women of Israel by Grace Aguilar


Two Volumes in One with a New Introduction and Commentary


For almost a century after it was first published in 1845 Grace Aguilar's Women of Israel was presented as a high school graduation gift and even as a Christmas present to employees. More than 150 years before the current proliferation of books on women in biblical narrative and biblical law, Aguilar offered brilliant and innovative interpretations of abiding value. She took for granted that her readers could read Hebrew and that they, like herself, knew the King James Bible from memory. The extensive introduction and notes will make this new edition once again accessible to laypersons, students, and scholars.
Publisher: Gorgias Press LLC
Availability: In stock
SKU (ISBN): 978-1-61719-626-3
  • *
Publication Status: In Print

Series: Judaism in Context 15
Publication Date: Feb 11,2013
Interior Color: Black
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Page Count: 1076
Language: English
ISBN: 978-1-61719-626-3
$250.00
$150.00

Grace Aguilar’s Women of Israel first appeared almost half a century before Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s The Woman's Bible. Unlike Stanton’s work, which sought to undermine the Bible, and was cited by many clergy as the basis of their attempt to deny basic rights to women, Aguilar’s work took for granted the divine origin of Hebrew Scriptures and sought to defend Hebrew Scripture and the Jews from the charge of treating women as inferior beings. Aguilar sought to show that Scripture supported treating women and men as equals. She rehearses the history of women in Hebrew Scripture and Second Temple Judaism and exhorts women, particularly Jewish women, to believe in God, to believe in the immortality of the human soul, and to engage in prayer. She castigates both non-Jews who disparage Judaism and Jewish men who fail to appreciate Judaism’s high regard for women and who discourage women’s participation in Jewish religious life. Aguilar comes across as a deeply spiritual person who inspires the reader to emulate her. Likewise, she reveals herself to be a brilliant philologist and exegete, whose insights into the language and style of Hebrew Scripture need to be incorporated in modern biblical studies. The introduction and notes identify and clarify her many allusions to biblical texts, Hebrew lexicography, the Jewish prayerbook, ancient, medieval and modern Jewish commentaries, and the many modern women who wrote about women in the Bible long before Aguilar.

Grace Aguilar’s Women of Israel first appeared almost half a century before Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s The Woman's Bible. Unlike Stanton’s work, which sought to undermine the Bible, and was cited by many clergy as the basis of their attempt to deny basic rights to women, Aguilar’s work took for granted the divine origin of Hebrew Scriptures and sought to defend Hebrew Scripture and the Jews from the charge of treating women as inferior beings. Aguilar sought to show that Scripture supported treating women and men as equals. She rehearses the history of women in Hebrew Scripture and Second Temple Judaism and exhorts women, particularly Jewish women, to believe in God, to believe in the immortality of the human soul, and to engage in prayer. She castigates both non-Jews who disparage Judaism and Jewish men who fail to appreciate Judaism’s high regard for women and who discourage women’s participation in Jewish religious life. Aguilar comes across as a deeply spiritual person who inspires the reader to emulate her. Likewise, she reveals herself to be a brilliant philologist and exegete, whose insights into the language and style of Hebrew Scripture need to be incorporated in modern biblical studies. The introduction and notes identify and clarify her many allusions to biblical texts, Hebrew lexicography, the Jewish prayerbook, ancient, medieval and modern Jewish commentaries, and the many modern women who wrote about women in the Bible long before Aguilar.

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Contributor Biography

Mayer Gruber

Mayer I. Gruber is Professor in the Department of Bible Archaeology and Ancient Near East at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beersheva, Israel. He is a leading authority on Rashi

  • Table of Contents (page 7)
  • List of Illustrations (page 11)
  • Foreword (page 13)
  • Abbreviations (page 19)
  • Editor's Introduction (page 21)
  • Volume One (page 53)
  • Introduction (page 55)
  • First Period: The Wives of the Patriarchs (page 75)
  • Chapter 1: Eve (page 77)
  • Chapter 2: Sarah (page 119)
  • Chapter 3: Rebekah (page 179)
  • Chapter 4: Leah and Rachel (page 241)
  • Second Period (page 285)
  • Chapter 1: Egyptian Captivity and Jochebed (page 287)
  • Chapter 2: The Exodus - Laws for the Mothers of Israel (page 311)
  • Chapter 3: Laws for the Wives of Israel (page 329)
  • Chapter 4: Laws Relating to the Widows and Daughters of Israel (page 353)
  • Chapter 5:Maid Servants in Israel, and Sundry Other Laws (page 379)
  • Third Period (page 405)
  • Chapter 1: Miriam (page 407)
  • Chapter 2: Female Workers of the Tabernacle - Caleb's Daughter (page 425)
  • Chapter 3: Deborah (page 433)
  • Chapter IV: Wife of Manoah (page 447)
  • Chapter 5: Naomi (page 461)
  • Chapter 6: Hannah (page 485)
  • Volume Two (page 515)
  • Fourth Period (page 517)
  • Chapter 1: Establishment of the Monarchy - Patriotism of the Women of Israel Michal (page 519)
  • Chapter 2: Abigail (page 547)
  • Chapter 3: Wise Woman of Tekoah; Woman of Abel; Rizpah; - Judment of Solomon; Widow of One of the Sons of the Prophets (page 579)
  • Chapter 4: The Shumammite (page 601)
  • Chapter 5: Little Israelitish Maid - Huldah - Influence of Women During the Monarchy (page 621)
  • Fifth Period (page 639)
  • Chapter 1: The Captivity. Review of Chapters One to Seven of the Book of Ezra. - Suggestions as to the Identity of the Ahasuerus of Scripture, and Date of His Royal Feasts, &C. - Choice of Esther (page 641)
  • Chapter 2: Esther (Continued) (page 659)
  • Chapter 3: Esther (Concluded) (page 673)
  • Chapter 4: Review of the Events Narrated by by Ezra and Nehemiah (page 701)
  • Sixth Period (page 715)
  • Chapter 1: Review of the Jewish Nation, from the Return from Babylon, to the Appeal of Hyrcanus and Astrobulus to Pompey (page 717)
  • Chapter 2: From the Appeal to Pompey to the Death of Herod (page 733)
  • Chapter 3: General Sketch Continued from the Death of Herod to the War (page 743)
  • Chapter 4: The Martyr Mother (page 753)
  • Chapter 5: Mother of John Hyrcanus. Wife of John Hyrcanus. Alexandra (page 771)
  • Chapter 6: Mariamne (page 795)
  • Chapter 7: Mariamne (Continued) (page 813)
  • Chapter 8: Mariamne (Continued) (page 827)
  • Chapter 9: Mariamne (Concluded) - Alexandra - Salome (page 841)
  • Chapter 10: Helena, Queen of Adiabene. Berenice (page 861)
  • Chapter 11: General History, and Conclusions Thence Elicited (page 885)
  • Seventh Period (page 895)
  • Chapter 1: The War. - Its Horrors. - Origin and End. Fulfilment of Prophecy. Real Cause of Jewish Chastsement - Dispersion. Thoughts on the Talmud. (page 897)
  • Chapter 2: Ordinances and Tales of the Talmud, Relating to the Women of Israel (page 915)
  • Chapter 3: Effects of Dispersion and Persecution - General Remarks (page 943)
  • Illustrations (page 1011)
  • Bibliography (page 1019)
  • General Index (page 1055)
  • Index of Biblical References (page 1063)
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