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Women in the Scrolls
I have been bouncing back and forth between reading Schliffman, "Reclaiming
the Dead Sea Scrolls" and William Whiston's translation entitled "The
Complete Work os Josephus." In doing so I was struck by what appears to be a
somewhat unusual contrast. In his Chapter "Women in the Scrolls,"
Schliffman seems to be attempting to discount Philo's account of the Essenes
as untrustworthy or inaccurate. In that process Schliffman says: "Finally,
he [Philo] presents a negative view of women that is familar from some
Hellenistic sources but not common in Palestinian Judaism."
In Josephus, I find accounts such as these from "Antiquities of the Jews."
Book IX, Chapter VIII - Concerning Sanballat and Manasseh etc.: "But the
elders of Jerusalem being very uneasy that the brother of Juddua the high
priest, though married to a foreigner, should be a partner with him in the
high priesthood , , , so they commanded Manasseh to divorce his wife . . . .
Whereupon Manasseh come to his father-in-law , Sanballat, and told him, that
although he loved his daughter Nicaso, yet he was not willing to be deprived
of his sacerdotal dignity on her account." Book XII, Chapter IV - How
Antiochus made a League with Ptolemy etc. "This good fortune [Joseph]
enjoyed for twenty-two years; and he become the father of seven sons by one
wife; he had also another son, whose name was Hycanus, by his brother
Solymius's daughter [as follows]. [H]is brother . . . adorned his own
daughter, and brought her to him by night, and put her into his bed. And
Joseph being disordered with drink, knew not who she was, and so lay with his
brother's daughter, . . . ." Book XI, Chapter V - How Xerxes, the Son of
Darius, Was Well-Disposed etc. "Jechonias, a principal man in Jerusalem,
came to him and said, that they had sinned in marrying strange wives; and he
persuaded him to adjure them all to cast those wives out, and the children
born of them; . . . ." There are many other examples of similar treatment of
women, wives, and even their children. Some of this reminds me of St.
Augustine divorcing his wife of 12 (?) years and abandoning his son in the
name of his new found religion. My question is, how can it be seriously
argued, as Schliffman seems to do, that women are not "commonly" presented
in a "negative view" in "Palestinian Judaism." Isn't this argument