Poor Banished Children of Eve: Woman as Evil in the Hebrew Bible

By Gale A. Yee | Go to book overview

3: The Social Sciences
and the Biblical Woman
as Evil

Ideological criticism's extrinsic analysis of literary texts necessarily involves the social sciences in reconstructing the social world of gender relationships in the biblical period.1 Since the majority of texts that I examine come from the Hebrew Bible, my frame of reference at this point is the reconstruction of gender relationships in ancient Israel. The pertinent questions for this study in employing the social sciences include: What is the nature of gender interaction in the ancient Israelite world that gives rise to symbolizations of the female gender as evil in the biblical text? What are the modes of production upon which these gender relations are based?

Because of the paucity of literary sources and their distinct negative valuation or even complete exclusion of women, we cannot depend on using them to reconstruct gender relationships and recover women's lives in ancient Israel.2 This reconstruction and recovery must draw on interdisciplinary resources already engaged in the study of human social interaction to help interpret what little data we have in a more intelligible way. These resources can provide analogies and models to help recover the structural contours of Israelite society in general and of gender relations in particular. Since our biblical texts originated in cultures different from our own, their interpretation will always be a process of cross-cultural analysis.' It is here that the social sciences become important theoretical tools to help fill in the lacunae in the data. The research of feminist cultural anthropologists—especially their ethnographic studies on gender

-29-

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Poor Banished Children of Eve: Woman as Evil in the Hebrew Bible
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Poor Banished Children of Eve i
  • More Praise - For Poor Banished Children of Eve ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Abbreviations vii
  • Preface xi
  • 1: Introduction 1
  • 2: Ideological Criticism and Woman as Evil 9
  • 3: The Social Sciences and the Biblical Woman as Evil 29
  • 4: Eve in Genesis 59
  • 5: Faithless Israel in Hosea She Is Not My Wife and I Am Not Her Husband 81
  • 6: The Two Sisters in Ezekiel 111
  • 7: The Other Women in Proverbs 135
  • 8: Conclusion 159
  • Notes 167
  • Bibliography 233
  • Index of Ancient Sources 271
  • Index of Authors 285
  • Index of Subjects 289
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