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Smooth Words: Women, Proverbs, and Performance in Biblical Wisdom


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In this volume, Carole Fontaine explores the social roles of women as depicted within the book of Proverbs, as well as the character archetypes and patriarchal ideologies which undergird the sages’ portrayal. Using feminist folklore methodologies and performance studies, the author explores an alternative paradigm for understanding women’s relationship to wisdom traditions in the ancient Near East, using parallel texts, later midrash, and extra-biblical representations of biblical women associated with wisdom. Fontaine is thus able to show that women were culturally authorized “performers” of the family-based wisdom traditions of teaching, economic problem-solving, and care-giving, and that these roles provided them with a platform to use their acknowledged wisdom in public roles.

Resource Experts
  • Explores the archetypal social roles of women in the Old Testament
  • Textual and literary notes
  • All Scripture references linked to the Bibles in your library
  • Title: Smooth Words: Women, Proverbs, and Performance in Biblical Wisdom
  • Author: Carole Fontaine
  • Publisher: Sheffield Academic Press
  • Series: Gender and the Bible Collection
  • Publication Date: 2004
  • Pages: 312

Professor Fontaine is the recipient of a Henry Luce III Fellowship in Theology and is on sabbatical for the 2008-2009 academic year. An internationally recognized feminist scholar in Hebrew Bible, Carole Fontaine brings her expertise into the classroom with lively use of digital and art resources to make the Bible come alive. She is the author of Smooth Words: Women, Proverbs and Performance in Biblical Wisdom, and is co-editor of the biblical ‘classic’ text, A Feminist Companion to Reading the Bible: Approaches, Methods, Strategies. A long time Human Rights defender, she sits on the boards of international interfaith NGOs dealing with violence against women, especially in Muslim societies. Her most recent publication (2008) is a book on war captives and torture in biblical times, entitled With Eyes of Flesh: The Bible, Gender and Human Rights. She has numerous media credits (BBC; C-Span; Discovery Channel; National Geographic, and Arts & Entertainment Networks) and serves on the Editorial Boards for Journal of Biblical Literature, Women in Judaism, and the Catholic Biblical Quarterly. She is Religion Editor of the World Book Encyclopedia. Fontaine joined the faculty in 1979.


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    Digital list price: $34.99
    Save $9.00 (25%)