Most studies about women, Jewish and otherwise, are usually confined to the domestic sphere: the home, the family, the bed. Yet women were present at all historical events, and it is not only the presence but also their significance for these events which should be recognized. All the sources seem to militate against an approach which assumes the presence of women in public events: When dealing with politics, war and religion, scholars can ignore women, confining themselves instead to the woman's role in the domestic sphere. Tal Ilan here seeks to discover women in the public spaces and main events of Second Temple Judaism. The main principle guiding her is that if by chance women are mentioned in the sources, they should not be treated as a means for explaining the event but rather as an end in themselves. Thus sources showing women as remote or obscure turn out to yield much relevant material. Ilan investigates women's association with the Pharisees and other sects. She analyzes women's roles in the writings of Josephus, Ben Sira, and other important sources. Furthermore she discusses famous women like Beruriah and Berenice. The Dead Sea Scrolls play an important role in her study.
Tal Ilan received her PhD from Hebrew University, Jerusalem. She is lecturer at the Rothberg School for Overseas Students at the Hebrew University. She has also served as visiting lecturer at Harvard University and visiting professor at Yale University.
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