Misty (aurora_nebulosa) wrote in christian_geek,

Educated Women

Does the Bible, Old Testament or New Testament, indicate in any way that educated women were valued? What if a given woman was in some way(s) more educated than her husband/father/closest male relative? What about if a woman was equally or more educated in a subject/task that her husband/father/closest male relative was educated in?

Do we have any evidence of the acceptance of such women within the early church? within the Jewish society during which the Hebrew BIble was written / during which events within it occurred?

One might cite Abigail as an example of such a woman. Cynics may say, however, that she was only called "intelligent" (NASB, NIV, HCSV, but, literally, "of good understanding") to contrast her with the man, who should've taken on that role. Indeed, it seems that "the man" is contrasted starkly with "the woman" in this instance (1 Samuel 25:3). Could "of good understanding" in the Nebrew encompass learnedness (such as book-learning) as well as other forms of intelligence? How far does this term go?

We do have the instance of Huldah, who played a role in verifying the authenticity of texts, though she was a prophetess and, thus, may have had special sanction to possess the knowledge she did. But, what of ordinary women?

Was also have the example ofSusannah who was educated in the law and whose father was called "just" for doing so, but what of women gaining secular learning?

We further find references to "sons of the femal Scribe" (Sopereth; Ezra 2:55, Nehemiah 7:57), but one wonders whether the "scribe" being referred to here was merely assigned to copying texts rather than any kind of serious scholarship. Perhaps her husband was also a scribe?

We have references to Esther "writing" authoritative letters concerning the observance of Purim (Esther 9:29), though Mordicai is also mentioned along with her. So, I am wondering if he was, in fact, her emanuensis. Indeed, it appears that Paul had emanuenses, even though he himself speaks of "writing" the letters. So, then, we could say the same of Jezebel, who is said to have "written". Was the notion of the emanuensis ever even present in Hebrew society? Furthermore, would these women have been permitted to actually "read" other works?
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