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  • Print publication year: 2006
  • Online publication date: March 2008

24 - Women in Jewish life and law

The Dead Sea documents are a major source of information regarding Jewish women's legal position. They include two archives that belonged to women, the Babatha archive and that of Salome Komaise, as well as numerous other documents that belonged to Jewish women. Scholars have attempted to harmonize the legal injunctions of the Dead Sea documents with rabbinic rulings found in the Mishnah. The idea that a woman's place is in the home is clearly espoused in rabbinic literature. A major duty envisioned by the Rabbis for the woman at home was the raising of children, particularly when they were very young and dependent on her for sustenance. The rabbinic imagination envisioned the working woman primarily at her spindle or loom. Much of the evidence for the ancient synagogue derives from epigraphic documents from Palestine and the Diaspora and indicates that women were significant donors in the financing of the construction of synagogues.
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The Cambridge History of Judaism
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