Are Women Considered Property in the Bible?
by James Tabor
I wanted to direct my readers to the interesting essay by my colleague Christopher Rollston in yesterday’s Huffington Post, “The Marginalization of Women: A Biblical Value We Don’t Like to Talk About.”
From Mesopotamia to Egypt, women in the ancient world were considered property — valuable property, but property nonetheless. And it’s true of the Bible’s view as well. Yes, there were biblical women who flourished in spite of the patriarchy, women like Ruth, Esther, Lydia and Priscilla. But women in the Bible were normally viewed as second class, if even that.
Chris is of course well aware of possible exceptions and even efforts on the part of some biblical writers to push against this cultural “norm” of antiquity, but what he highlights is important for both Jews and Christians to come to terms with. You can read his complete essay here. At the end is a slideshow with some interesting artistic portrayals of heroic biblical women.