By Judith Romney Wegner
Exploring where of girls within the socioeconomic procedure formulated within the Mishnah, a ebook of criminal ideas with a non secular foundation compiled by way of Jewish sages in second-century Palestine, this research finds a primary ambiguity within the function of girls. either the valuables and the friends of guys, in a few situations ladies have been thought of to own no powers, rights, or tasks in legislation, and in others have been judged morally, essentially, and intellectually healthy to possess estate, behavior enterprise, interact in court cases, and deal with their very own own affairs. Wegner spells out intimately those adaptations in prestige, analyzes them, and isolates the standards that account for differential therapy of other periods of ladies within the deepest area and for differential remedy of fellows and girls within the public area of mishnaic tradition, pertaining to her findings to contemporary advancements in feminist analyses of the prestige of girls in patriarchy.
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Additional info for Chattel or Person?: The Status of Women in the Mishnah
34 CHATTEL OR PERSON? C. [This means that] just as sons do not inherit until after the father's death [necessarily implied at M. Ket. 4:10], so daughters need not be maintained until after the father's death [at which point they are automatically maintained out of the inheritance that falls to the sons. Eleazar imputes this into M. Ket. 4:11 (discussed later) by analogy with the implication at M. Ket. 4:10, though there is no such necessary implication at M. Ket. ] M. Ket. 4:6 This rule exempts a father from any duty to feed his daughter.
What is the meaning of "He must drink from his earthen pot"? 51 M. 3:5 Besides the fixed criminal penalty, rapists and seducers must pay for the blemish (lost hymen) and the disgrace; but they incur no liability for cost of healing or time lost from work. The sages assume that the wound will heal naturally while the girl continues with her normal household chores. That assumption is not unreasonable; but it takes no account of the psychological trauma of the rape victim. 52 True, the sages distinguish between a seduced girl and a rape victim by awarding pain and suffering to the latter; and they force the rapist to marry his victim (Deut.
The substantive matter of the woman's sexuality joins with the formal problem of taxonomy to produce rules that treat the woman as chattel rather than person. Thus, if some formal error or uncertainty casts doubt on her precise marital status, the sages resolve matters by applying arbitrary rules that ride roughshod over her human rights. The need to reclassify her unambiguously outweighs all other considerations. Examples abound throughout the Division of Women. A woman whose divorce is invalidated by some technical error in the writ or the manner of its delivery incurs grave financial and other penalties if she mistakenly remarries.