Search the Site


Gender and the Book of Judges

So one of the fascinating things about the Book of Judges is that it gives a lot of attention to men and women, men, their masculinity, Samson, think of Samson, but also Gideon and Avi hu melekh [Gideon’s son].  But, it begins with a woman as a judge and after this woman’s reign as judge, her period of ruling, everything goes downward.  And, when we look through the whole Book of Judges, the downward spiral is mapped out on how these guys, how Israel actually treats their women.  Women are strong at the beginning and then they become the objects of violence at the end; and so they use women to show that in great periods of time, women were treated well, but also governed, were leaders of society and at the end, it goes down toward the masculinity, the typical chauvinistic type of attitude emerges and that goes hand in hand with an abuse of women.  And when the biblical authors imagined how could Israelite society be depicted in a bad way, they show women being abused.

  • Jacob L. Wright

    Jacob L. Wright is associate professor of Hebrew Bible at Emory University.  He  taught for several years at the University of Heidelberg and is the author of a number of articles on Ezra-Nehemiah as well as Rebuilding Identity: The Nehemiah Memoir and Its Earliest Readers, which won a 2008 Templeton prize, the largest prize for first books in religion. He delivered the prestigious 2010-11 lecture in Milieux biblique at the Collège de France in Paris, and was awarded a 2011-12 National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship.