Patel Exam 1

Kinjal Patel EXAM 1 1. What can you say about the nature and status of women in these categories: a. Mesopotamian law : The nature and status of women in ancient Mesopotamia was that they were not considered equal to men. They had some rights but not all. The women in Mesopotamia could do everything like own a property, start a business, become involved in court cases, learn how to read, and write but, they were not allowed to vote in assembly. Meaning they has no voice in making laws. The role of the Mesopotamian women was strictly defined "I am a daughter, I am bride, I am a spouse, I am a house keeper" (Vivante 87). They could rarely act as individuals outside their families. Those who did were usually royalty or were the wives of men who has status and power. Most of the young girls were trained from childhood for doing the traditional roles of wife, housekeeper, and mother. They learned how to cook, grind grains, make beverages: especially beer, and make cloths. If a woman who worked outside of her house, her job consisted of selling the beer she brewed or even become a tavern keeper. I feel as though my grandparents can relate to this since they lived in India for most of their lives, but the woman's role was strictly defined. My grandmother has told me a lot of stories about her life before she passed away and the women of Mesopotamia and women of India have some similarities. Instead of selling the beer they brewed, they sold dried out spices that they made at home which was used for cooking. The most important role of a women in marriage was to bear children, mainly sons, who were preferred as "heirs" (Vivante 88). The Mesopotamian weddings were usually monogamous, even among Gods. In this marriage " a Sumerian proverb referred to a husband bragging that a wife had borne eight sons and was still ready to make love" (Vivante 88). The customs changed over time by there are four stages that included the process: the engagement, payments by the families of both the bride and the groom, the bride moves to her father- in-law's house and sexual intercourse (Vivante 88). In case the husband died before the marriage, the bride had to marry one of his brothers or a male relative. I found this very interesting because in my culture the bride would stay single for the rest of her life if her soon to be husband passed away. Widows who are responsible for little children would become to head of the surviving family and would also administer the family estate. One thing I really found interesting in the book, women's roles in ancient civilization is that the widows and orphans were protected by charity of a righteous ruler. Kings expressed and compassion for the orphan and the widow especially for the poor and the oppressed. If the couple wanted a divorce, it was under the most serious conditions because at that time there was a social stigma attached to diverse. Even in my culture there is still a social stigma around married couples getting married because if a couple does get a divorce it looks "bad" on the rest of the other family members or even worse the reputation of one's family. "According to law codes written in Sumerian (ca.2100-1700 B.C.E.) as well as the Middle Assyrian Laws (ca. 1076 B.C.E), he had to return his wife's property and sometimes pay a fine. If the woman had given birth to sons, Old Babylonian law codes (ca. eighteenth century BC.B) required that the husband be
punished severely: he had to give up his house and property and sometimes pay a fine" (Vivante 94). In Mesopotamia, the first slaves captured were men or women seized in mountain raids. At first, the economy could not harbor captivates, so they were killed but later the kings saved the captives and organized them into gangs to sever as labors or soldiers (Vivante 96). Sometimes there were 10 female and male slaves in one household. In order for the slaveowners to make more wealth the encouraged the slaves to get married. One thing I found very interesting is that the slaves born had special status. They belonged to the master, who was free to sell them individually. But many families did not do this because separating families was very uncommon. In the Old Babylonian period, the slaves were adopted so they could care for the adopted parents in the old age. If their parents died, the slaved had freedom. Most importantly, slaves also had legal rights like take part in business, borrow money, and buy their freedom (Vivante 97). b. Mesopotamian medicine/magic In Mesopotamia there were no boundaries between magic from religion. "Magic and sorcery were widespread, forming regular features of experience and faith. Spells and counter-spells ("releases") existed for every facet of life (Vivante 105). In everyday life the use of magico-religious techniques was required or benefited from. This was used to seduce and rekindle passion and were accompanied by vivid descriptions of sexual techniques, desires, and fantasies (Vivante 106). The rituals of "Undoing of Such-and-Such an Evil" is consisted with an incantation and actions to transfer to the evil to a disposable object. At the first sighting of the new moon, a male or female figurine called a "doll" was fashioned. The exorcist was instructed to "throw the doll behind you into the river, and the evil will be loosed" (Vivante 106). In Mesopotamia, physicians, chief physician's deputy, and chief physician came from the use of their titles. In early second millennium there was a woman doctor, and they conducted clinical examinations, taking the temperature and his or her pulse. In the tablets it also mentions contagious diseases. Coming back to pregnancy, childbirth, infant mortality, and infancy. It says that "21 stones to help a barren woman to become pregnant, you string them on a linen thread and put them around her neck" (Vivante 91) this treatment is designed to enable barren woman to conceive. When a woman was in labor, she was given the bark of a tree to chew, her stomach was massaged with ointment or a rolling pin of magic wood (Vivante 92). Parental care consisted of rituals, herbal potions, amulets, and incantations. When women were sick during pregnancy, they were given herbal potions which had plants mixed over a fire to which oil and beer was added. The amulet is which people believe that it to be magical and has protective powers to bring luck or to avert the evil. Rituals texts was intended to have myths and a series of actions that had to be performed in sequence. Lastly, incantations were recitation of charms or spells to produce magical efforts. Both rituals and incantations have magical techniques to protect pregnant woman. c. Israelite narratives in Genesis/Judges i. According to The New Oxford Annotated Bible, the people of ancient Israel traced their ancestry back to the three patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Genesis 1). Women are not often
thought of as the stars of the Biblical narrative but if we take a closer look at these stories, it is women who are the most active in moving forward the narrative. Since the narrators were living in a patriarchal society it is not surprising that the Genesis stories are frequently considered to push women to the backseat. Sarah and Rebekah are the two Genesis matriarchs. Both women are women of faith, dedicated to in this chapter it talks about how they work within the confines of a patriarchal society to fulfill what they believe to be their calling and they do this through the ise of deceitful and subversive tactics. I think that the actions of Sarah and Rebekah were intended to advance the covenant and the family. After reading this it can be shown that these two women are the stronger leaders they are and are chosen by God be the matriarchs of the nations of Israel. One thing that really inspired me was that they were also mothers and though modern feminists many have discredited the importance of this role, continuing the lineage was the most important role women had during this time. Children were not just a concern of women but of their entire faith community. But Sarah and Rebekah were not just any women, they were chosen to be great matriarchs because of their willpower and commitment to God's purpose despite their marginalized status in a patriarchal society. This can be an example for many who had provided us with important models on how to live a life of faith committed to God and family. This necessarily does not mean that women today should be confined to the household, but as the household is no longer the socioeconomic sphere of influence it once was. These two women are not perfect in their faith, they have doubts or jealousy, but these characteristics are what makes them relatable. Overall, these are stories of human nature, and these are independent, strong-willed matriarchs who can serve as role models today in a society which is vastly different but also similar. ii. In the Book of Judges, it is a pattern in which it shows the need for the various judges. These needs included time of a leaderless state of the Israelite people, hardship, and the crying out to the Lord for rescue. The judges were the successive individuals, each from a different tribal of Israel, chosen by God to rescue the people from their enemies and establish justice and the practice of the Torah amongst the Hebrews. In this book it stated that Deborah was a judge of Israel and she rendered her judgments beneath a palm tree. Some people refer to as the mother of Israel. These Biblical judges were dynamic is no many ways. The people whom they served trusted them in battle and to settle disputes as American judges do today. I think that the judges of Israel were true warrior judges. d. Israelite law codes in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.
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