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Violence and Personhood in Ancient Israel and Comparative Contexts$
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T. M. Lemos

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198784531

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198784531.001.0001

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“But He Indeed Will Rule Over You”

“But He Indeed Will Rule Over You”

Violence and the Personhood of Women in Ancient Israel

(p.61) 3 “But He Indeed Will Rule Over You”
Violence and Personhood in Ancient Israel and Comparative Contexts

T. M. Lemos

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that women, like foreigners, were subject to having their personhood erased by those who were dominant over them. The chapter begins with an assessment of whether women were considered persons in ancient Israel, addressing in detail the issue of whether they were considered to be property. Responding to previous research on this question, the chapter contends that women were treated in the ways they were not because they were the property of their husbands but because they were subordinates, and their subordination had clear physical dimensions. Just as subordinate men were liable to having their personhood erased in certain situations, the position of having dominance over women as husbands and fathers also entailed the ability to erase women’s personhood through violence in cases of transgression.

Keywords:   women in the Bible, masculinity, domestic abuse, rape, sexual violence, biblical law, ancient Near Eastern law

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