Next Article in Journal
Mind-Body Practices in Integrative Medicine
Next Article in Special Issue
Penitence, Confession, and the Power of Submission in Late Medieval Women's Religious Communities
Previous Article in Journal
Psychotherapy with African American Women with Depression: Is it okay to Talk about Their Religious/Spiritual Beliefs?
Previous Article in Special Issue
Women’s Voice and Religious Utterances in Ancient Greece
Religions 2012, 3(1), 37-49; doi:10.3390/rel3010037
Article

Inscribing Authority: Female Title Bearers in Jewish Inscriptions

Received: 10 January 2012; in revised form: 25 January 2012 / Accepted: 8 February 2012 / Published: 8 February 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Women and Religious Authority)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [216 KB, uploaded 8 February 2012]
Abstract: This paper investigates representations of gender in the material culture of the ancient synagogue. The pertinent data are numerous dedicatory and funerary inscriptions linking individual Jews, men and women, with titles seemingly associated with leadership in Late Antique synagogues (ca. 200–600 CE). Bernadette Brooten’s influential 1982 monograph argued against the prevailing tendency to characterize these titles as indications of power, authority, and responsibility when associated with men but as meaningless flattery when applied to women. She suggests that synagogue titles denote power, authority and responsibility on all title bearers equally, both men and women. I question the continued utility of proffering female title-holders as enumerable examples of powerful women rescued from their forgotten place in history. Using theoretical insights developed by historians Elizabeth Clark and Gabrielle Spiegel, this paper will engage a comparative analysis with the work of Riet van Bremen and Saba Mahmood to develop new methods of conceptualizing women’s authority in early Jewish communities. I propose that viewing women’s synagogue titles as culturally constructed representations allows for a fruitful inquiry into how women’s titles were used by male-dominated synagogue communities in their self-articulation and public presentation of Judaism.
Keywords: women; authority; synagogue; representation; inscriptions women; authority; synagogue; representation; inscriptions
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Export to BibTeX |
EndNote


MDPI and ACS Style

Duncan, C. Inscribing Authority: Female Title Bearers in Jewish Inscriptions. Religions 2012, 3, 37-49.

AMA Style

Duncan C. Inscribing Authority: Female Title Bearers in Jewish Inscriptions. Religions. 2012; 3(1):37-49.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Duncan, Carrie. 2012. "Inscribing Authority: Female Title Bearers in Jewish Inscriptions." Religions 3, no. 1: 37-49.


Religions EISSN 2077-1444 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert