The women of Israel by Grace Aguilar: two volumes in one with a new introduction and commentary

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Grace Aguilar's Women of Israel first appeared almost half a century before Elizabeth Cady Stanton's The Woman's Bible. Unlike Stanton's work, which sought to undermine the Bible, and was cited by many clergy as the basis of their attempt to deny basic rights to women, Aguilar's work took for granted the divine origin of Hebrew Scriptures and sought to defend Hebrew Scripture and the Jews from the charge of treating women as inferior beings. Aguilar sought to show that Scripture supported treating women and men as equals. She rehearses the history of women in Hebrew Scripture and Second Temple Judaism and exhorts women, particularly Jewish women, to believe in God, to believe in the immortality of the human soul, and to engage in prayer. She castigates both non-Jews who disparage Judaism and Jewish men who fail to appreciate Judaism's high regard for women and who discourage women's participation in Jewish religious life. Aguilar comes across as a deeply spiritual person who inspires the reader to emulate her. Likewise, she reveals herself to be a brilliant philologist and exegete, whose insights into the language and style of Hebrew Scripture need to be incorporated in modern biblical studies. The introduction and notes identify and clarify her many allusions to biblical texts, Hebrew lexicography, the Jewish prayerbook, ancient, medieval and modern Jewish commentaries, and the many modern women who wrote about women in the Bible long before Aguilar.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationPiscataway, N.J.
PublisherGorgias Press
ISBN (Print)9781617196263
StatePublished - 2011

Publication series

NameJudaism in context


  • Women in the Bible
  • Bible -- Biography
  • Jewish women


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