Writing the Wayward Wife: Rabbinic Interpretations of Sotah

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BRILL, 2006 - Religion - 329 pages
"Writing the Wayward Wife" is a study of rabbinic interpretations of sotah, the law concerning the woman suspected of adultery (Numbers 5: 11-31). The focus of the book is on interpretations of sotah in tannaitic and amoraic texts: the Mishnah, Tosefta, Midrash Halakhah, Midrash Aggadah, and the Palestinian and Babylonian Talmuds. The body of the work is in-depth analysis of the legal and ritual proceedings. Jewish Greek interpretations (Josephus, Philo, and LXX) also are addressed, along with the "Protevangelium of James," and fragments from the Dead Sea Scrolls and Cairo Geniza. Finally, the disappearance of the ritual is discussed, with implications for the development of rabbinic authority. In previous secondary literature, the law of sotah has been understood as either proto-feminist or misogynist. This book argues that neither of these are appropriate paradigms. Rather, this book identifies the emergence of two major interpretive themes: the emphasis on legal procedures, and the condemnation of adultery.

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User Review  - hatterluke - LibraryThing

This is a well written, clearly thought out and unique book in an under explored area. Lisa superbly deals with a large number of sources and for the first time draws them together to pressent a full and criticual survey Read full review


The Beginning of Sotah
Punishment and Reward
Disappearance of the Ritual
Biblical Text and Annotated Translation
References to Sotah in the Dead Sea Scrolls
Miracle or Mamzer?
Referencesto Sotah inthe Cairo Genizah

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About the author (2006)

Lisa Grushcow earned her M.Phil. and D.Phil. at Oxford University, where she studied as a Rhodes Scholar. She received rabbinic ordination from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, and currently serves as Associate Rabbi of Congregation Rodeph Sholom in New York City.