World Religions

Brittany Divine
Mr. Weckerly
REL 2300
6 April 2014
Final Exam
In the history of monotheistic religions, we see that no matter how much freedom women are given, there always comes a trend toward restricting women to roles of caretakers of the home, and producers of male offspring. This seems to be a common trend that occurs in patriarchal societies no matter where they occur in the world, or what individual shape these monotheistic religions take. To further examine this idea, we look at the roles of women in the Abrahamic traditions up to 1000 C.E.
The first tradition that we examine is Judaism and the development of women’s roles in this faith. Throughout the history of the faith women have been treated as an afterthought in the Jewish tradition. Women in the Jewish tradition have been revered in their limited roles as wives and mothers. There are many examples in the Jewish literature of extraordinary women, fulfilling roles from heroines and intellectuals, to devoted wives and leaders. There are even two books of the Hebrew Scriptures which are named after the women whose lives are recorded in them. In opposition to this though is the containment of “profound suspicion of women and their sexuality” which may have been the source of writings that contained “restrictive rules and disparaging pronouncements” against them (pg. 275). Because men had traditionally been keepers and defenders of the faith, leading to a masculine perspective dominating the Jewish faith. In the majority of the tradition women have primarily only been mentioned in the aspect of where they come in contact with men- in marriage customs, sexual practices, and procreation. Other than these limited references to women, they are greatly overlooked as a subject in the texts of the Jewish faith. Women are an ambiguous subject when mentioned in the Jewish texts, and there is much debate about what makes an idealized woman. While attempts have been made to define the ideal woman, there are...