Jewish Women in the Medieval World offers a thematic overview of the lived experiences of Jewish women in both Europe and the Middle East from 500 to 1500 CE, a group often ignored in general surveys on both medieval Jewish life and medieval women.
The volume blends current scholarship with evidence drawn from primary sources, originally written in languages including Hebrew, Latin, Aramaic, and Judeo-Arabic, to introduce both the state of scholarship on women and gender in medieval Jewish communities, and the ways in which Jewish women experienced family, love, sex, work, faith, and crisis in the medieval past. From the well-known Dolce of Worms to the less famed Bonadona, widow of Astrug Caravida of Girona, to the many nameless women referred to in medieval texts, Jewish Women tells the stories of individual women alongside discussions of wider trends in different parts of the medieval world. Even through texts written about women by men, the intelligence, courage, and perseverance of medieval Jewish women become clear to modern readers.
With the inclusion of a Chronology, Who’s Who, Documents section, and Glossary, this study is an essential resource for students and other readers interested in both Jewish history and women’s history.
Table of Contents
Part 1: Introduction 1. Introduction Part 2: Analysis 2. Jewish Life in the Medieval World 3. Gender Roles in Medieval Jewish Cultures 4. Marriage, Divorce, and Widowhood 5. Sex and Sexuality 6. Family, Childbirth, and Child-rearing 7. Jewish Women’s Work 8. Gender, Faith, and Worship 9. Jewish Women between Communities Part 3: Assessment 10. Conclusion
Sarah Ifft Decker is Assistant Professor of History at Rhodes College, USA. Her work explores intersections between gender and religious identity in the medieval Mediterranean. She is the author of The Fruit of Her Hands: Jewish and Christian Women’s Work in Medieval Catalan Cities (forthcoming 2022).