Old Testament and Women

I am about to begin a research paper for University course in the Old Testament. My topic is why women are God’s greatest creation. The University is Baptist. What I would be most appreciative is passages and/or articles that show despite appearances that women were esteemed by God in the Old Testament alone.

One of the arguments that I am going to propose is that in Genesis, where God creates everything, how each act of creation is an improvement on the other and it culminates with Woman.

Obviously I am going to mention the prophecies regarding Our Lady, but the Professor may restrict that as Our Lady is more in the New Testament and I may have to restrict it to the Old Testament.

Thank you all :slight_smile:

There’s a book from the Jewish Publication Society called Subversive Sequels, which discusses the literary treatment of the characters of women in the Hebrew Bible.

I don’t understand the first sentence or two of your post, what you’re trying to prove. I think you’ve fallen off the cliff right at the start – but I’m no academic or anything.

The gist is this. In Gen Chap One, women start out on an equal footing, but by Chap Two of Gen, God isn’t even talking to the woman, at least not for a while.

The author makes some daring hypotheses about how the woman is sparring with God, to restore her dignity and self-worth. When she has the first child, in her speech, she doesn’t even mention the contribution of Adam, it’s just her and God who made that baby.

My memory of specifics is not good, but the author keeps hitting on that idea of how women in the Bible are trying to overcome their curse. Arguably Adam sinned before Eve, but she gets the bad wrap.

I may have this horribly wrong (from memory), but I think the author is saying that in the OT, the women who seem to do the best are those who are not involved in the immediate act of childbirth or childrearing.

Don’t take my word for it, but I seem to recall that she discusses the hypothesis that childrearing is the redemption of women in the OT – redemption in the literary sense of how they fare in the writings.

The couple commentaries from JPS I’ve read depict that the Jews consider the book of Esther to be a riotous comedy from start to finish. Some premises in the book of Ester are historically misrepresented to facilitate the story line: 1) there is no record that the kings of that eastern country were indecisive as depicted or that 2) a royal decree could not be rescinded. 3) It wuld be unlikely that a king would order a death sentence for all the Jewish people, who are a great asset in the kingdom – that would be like burning a mountain of $100 bills. Queen Vashti falls into disfavor with the king over her reluctance to appear nude and to dance for the visitors from around the kingdom. But, Queen Esther comes across more capably as managing to manipulate the king.

Yes, the author of Subversive Sequels is a feminist. This book won an award for Jewish book of the year.

My second take on your proposed thesis is that you would have to justify it, comparing the first account of creation to the second.

You might be accused of taking things out of context if you ignored both versions of the creation account.

I’m not joking when I say there is one bit of Jewish commentary that says that Adam got to the point of frustration when he tried to mate with the animals that God had created, and it was at THAT point that the story picks up.

Maybe on the plus side, there is the whole angle of the spousal relationship to Adam symbolizing the spousal relationship of mankind to God. Maybe you can tease that out, but I can’t help with any specific references on that.

You might have to do some research on this topic, after all.

This article on Gen. 3:15 might be of use.

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Gen. 2:18; 1 Cor. 11:9; 1 Tim. 2:12-13 – while some people argue that God imposed the submission requirement upon women as a punishment for the original sin, this is not true. God designated the man as the head of his family from the very beginning of creation, even before the original sin. Therefore, man’s authority over the woman was not imposed as a punishment for the original sin, but to reflect the order of creation.

I hope this helps.

I was thinking about this passage. One could say that while women had to “submit”, it doesn’t have to affect my thesis. Consider the Holy Family. Jesus had submitted to Mary and Joseph and He was God!

Thank you for the links!

The claim that women are God’s greatest creation is contradicted by the fact that God became a man, Jesus Christ. The human nature of Jesus, a man, is greatest out of all created things. So, when we adore Jesus in the Eucharist, we are not merely adoring His Divine Nature, but the whole Person – who has two natures, the Divine Nature and a male human nature.

The Virgin Mary is the greatest mere human person, since Jesus is a person both human and Divine. But this does not imply that women are greater than men as a group. When they die and are judged by God, some men and some women go to Heaven directly, some go first to Purgatory, and some are condemned forever to Hell. So women in general cannot be the greatest creation; neither can men be so; for some men and some women are in Hell.

I don’t think that the creation of woman in Gen 1 proves that woman is the pinacle of creation. The text itself says that man and woman were created equal – in the image and likeness of God. Things don’t get more equal than that.

If, then, that were still some absolute principle, then it would have to be borne out in subsequent scripture, which it is not, at least not obviously.

As Peter says in Cornelius’ house (in Acts), God shows no partiality. So, women can’t be shown partiality, either for or against, by God.

I have found it interesting that three women each have a book of the OT devoted to them and their contributions: Ruth, Esther, and Judith.

Was Jesus created? I don’t think he was. He assumed Human form. To be created is to make something that didn’t exist. Jesus as God, always existed. Could it be said that the Trinity created the human form of Jesus?

From a Catholic perspective, since Our Lady is the greatest human person and is a female then can’t it be argued that woman is God’s greatest creation?

You may want to end it with a Joke.

A Rabbi once asked God to build a bridge from Texas to Hawwaii. God told him to ask for something eaiser to do, imagine all the concrete, plainning, gas station barges, etc.,
Next the Rabbi asked God to make him understand women. God paused for a few mintues and said, ah do you want two or four lanes.

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