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Israelite Temples: Where Was Israelite Cult Not Practiced, and Why
Open AccessArticle

Women in Israelite Religion: The State of Research Is All New Research

Arizona Center for Judaic Studies, The University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA
Religions 2019, 10(2), 122; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10020122
Received: 5 January 2019 / Revised: 21 January 2019 / Accepted: 21 January 2019 / Published: 19 February 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Archaeology and Ancient Israelite Religion)
Historically, those studying Israelite religion have ignored the existence of women in Iron Age Israel (1200–587 BCE). They have, therefore, accounted neither for the religious beliefs of half of ancient Israel’s population nor for the responsibilities that women assumed for maintaining religious rituals and traditions. Such reconstructions of Israelite religion are seriously flawed. Only in the last four decades have scholars, primarily women, begun to explore women’s essential roles in Israel’s religious culture. This article utilizes evidence from the Hebrew Bible and from archaeological sites throughout Israel. It demonstrates that some women had roles within the Jerusalem Temple. Most women, however, resided in towns and villages throughout the Land. There, they undertook responsibility for clan-based and community-based religious rituals and rites, including pilgrimage, seasonal festivals, rites of military victory, and rites of mourning. They fulfilled, as well, essential roles within the sphere of domestic or household religion. At home, they provided medico-magical healing for all family members, as well as care for women and babies throughout pregnancy, childbirth, and beyond. They, and the men in their communities, worshipped Yahweh, Israel’s primary deity, and the goddess Asherah, as well; for most people, these two divinities were inextricably linked. View Full-Text
Keywords: religion; women; Israel; Judah; Iron Age; domestic religion; family religion; rituals; worship; Jerusalem Temple; feminist studies; archaeology; Hebrew Bible; Old Testament; Yahweh; Asherah religion; women; Israel; Judah; Iron Age; domestic religion; family religion; rituals; worship; Jerusalem Temple; feminist studies; archaeology; Hebrew Bible; Old Testament; Yahweh; Asherah
MDPI and ACS Style

Nakhai, B.A. Women in Israelite Religion: The State of Research Is All New Research. Religions 2019, 10, 122.

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