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Re: Ezra-Neh

On Fri, 2 Aug 1996 PWEGNER@BROWNVM.brown.edu wrote:

> >one cannot argue from a general view of women to the _absolute_
> inability of women to take part in the creation of the canon. As you note
> itself, the "general view" did not prevent Hulda....<
> Even if we charitably assume that Huldah had a hand in the writing of "D"
> (though I doubt it), it's worth contrasting the enormous number of named
> and unnamed male prophets in the bible with the handful of women named:
> Miriam, Deborah, Huldah, and I suppose No'adiah, for whatever she was worth.
> There's a word for this:  tokenism.  Maybe the culture "did not prevent
> Huldah" -- but it sure as heck prevented the vast majority of women from
> achieving the spiritual and intellectual levels to which their I.Q. could
> have led them, had they been given the opportunity.
> There is a large body of religious feminist writing on this and related topics,
> which apparently remains unknown to many traditionally-minded scholars.  This
> is a pity -- if they would read these writings, they would learn things of
> great importance that had never previously crossed their minds.... and the
> world of scholarship would be the better for it.
> Judith Romney Wegner
Dear Judith,
"Tokenism" is a word appropriate for describing modern scholarly attempts 
to emphasize women's role in ancient Israel by pointing to such 
characters as Miriam, Deborah (*both of them) and Huldah. This term is 
not appropriate for ancient scribes who were certainly unaware that they 
were marginalizing women.  Society may have placed more emphasis on men 
than on women, but when they did get about to mentioning them it is 
hardly because they simply wanted to make them feel wanted.  Huldah was 
the one involved in the promulgation of D. She was approached- for 
whatever reason- to verify the find as authentic and authoritative.  
These are the reasons she is mentioned, and not because of any "tokenism" 
on the part of Dtr.  In general, we must not confuse our own contemporary 
agendas with those of the ancient authors, and certainly not be 
judgemental.  They themselves are accused of having invented Israel's 
apostasy as a post facto imposition of their Deuteronomistic beliefs on 
the stories of the past.  We should not make the same mistake.
Avigdor Hurowitz