The JPS Guide to Jewish Women: 600 B.C.E.To 1900 C.E.

The JPS Guide to Jewish Women: 600 B.C.E.To 1900 C.E.

The JPS Guide to Jewish Women: 600 B.C.E.To 1900 C.E.

The JPS Guide to Jewish Women: 600 B.C.E.To 1900 C.E.


A history and celebration of Jewish women through the centuries.

This is an indispensable resource about the role of Jewish women from post-biblical times to the twentieth century. Unique in its approach, it is structured so that each chapter, which is divided into three parts, covers a specific period and geographical area.

The first section of the book contains an overview, explaining how historical events affected Jews in general and Jewish women in particular. This is followed by a section of biographical entries of women of the period whose lives are set in their economic, familial, and cultural backgrounds. The third and last part of each chapter, "The World of Jewish Women," is organized by topic and covers women's activities and interests and how Jewish laws concerning women developed and changed.

This comprehensive work is an easy-to-use sourcebook, synopsizing rich and diverse resources. By examining history and analyzing the dynamics of Jewish law and custom, it illuminates the circumstances of Jewish women's lives and traces the changes that have occurred throughout the centuries. It casts a new and clear light on Jewish women as individuals and sets women firmly within the context of their own cultural and historical periods.

The book contains illustrations, boxed text, extensive endnotes, and indices that list each woman by name. It is ideal for women's groups and study groups as well as students and scholars.


The history of Judaism does not really begin until the late sixth century B.C.E. when many of the people of Judea were exiled from their own land and sent to Babylonia (present-day Iraq). Before the exile, they were a loose confederation of tribes with a central religious focus. After the return of some Jews from Babylonia, approximately seventy years later, a new pattern began. A Jewish state now “co-existed in a symbiotic relationship” with active Jewish communities in the Diaspora.

Much of what can be proven about these formative years comes from archeological discoveries. Archeology offers the most dependable


In ancient times seals were used instead of signatures to give legitimacy to any
document issued by an official. In the 1970s, a cache of seals was discovered dat
ing from the period of Jeremiah (seventh century B.C.E.) until shortly after the
return of the exiles from Babylonia. Included in this collection of seals were a
small number belonging to women. “Abigayil, wife of Asayahu” and “Shelomit,
maidservant of Elnatan the Governor” are two examples of women with Hebrew
names who possessed seals of their own. Such ownership suggests that despite
female subordination—a given in many of the biblical and post-biblical books—
some women did have public power and could sign contracts and documents
even after marriage.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.