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orion-list Re: Starting a Fight--1st century texts

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OK, let me ask a "klutz-kashe" directly dealing with the 169 BCE-70CE period.  With two friends, I am a member of a havruta which has been exploring the issue of the requirement for mehitzot in synagogues.  We have been through Rabbi Feinstein's tshuva and are now exploring Rabbi Golinkin's tshuva.  This has brought us to the sub-issue of the restrictions of women entering the Azara.  We have seen the story of Hannah (I Shmuel) who was clearly praying where Eli could see and talk to her, the material in Malakhai 2 about women's tears on the altar, Josephus' statements that women could not go beyond the woman's court in the Herodian Temple and that non-Kohanical males could not go beyond the Court of the Israelites, the Mishnah in the 1st chapter of Kelim that puts no limitations on where women may go and permits Israelites to enter the court of the Kohanim within the Azara, the Mishnah in Zevachim that says that women may slaughter sacrifices (showing they could enter the Azara because sacrifices can only be slaughtered there--but we have also seen Philo The Special Laws who says that non-Kohanim could slaughter only on Erev Pesach), the Mishnah in Bikkurimn that women could bring bikkurim into the Azara, the Sifra (repeated in B. Hagiga) implying women did not enter the Azara, the Tosefta in Arkhin that they could only enter the Azara for a special need (like Israelites in Kohanical territory), and the Mishnah in Qiddushin (with its associated discussion in the Bavli) on women being betrothed in the Azara (since Qodshei Qodshim could be nowhere else) and the Yerushalmi in Maaser Sheni suggesting that women would not be in the Azara.

Question: what other material is there from the period of the Second Temple or of the Tannaim (available in English or Hebrew since we are not linguists) which bears on this question (Yes, I know this is wider than the dates given above).  That is: are there any Greek, Roman, Israelite-Jewish, or other authors of this period who discuss or allude to these issues?  What modern discussions exist as to the reliability of the sources listed above or  of other sources that may be available

                                                                                                                                       Steve Oren
                                                                                                                                       Chicago, IL

For private reply, e-mail to "Steve Oren" <soren@enteract.com>
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