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Genesis’ women played a vital part in shaping Israel’s foundation, growth, and development, but most exegetes have not given them adequate attention—until now. Through a fresh close reading, respected Hebrew scholar Tammi Schneider examines the roles and functions of these women who, with the men, form the basis for the future of Israel.

Schneider looks at each woman’s story from various angles and within the context of her relationships Genesis’ message as a whole. Allowing the details of the text to challenge traditional readings, Schneider also includes ancient Near Eastern background material and archaeological insights for a fresh reading of familiar stories. Sections cover the matriarchs (from Sarah to Rachel), mothers of potential heirs (including those who threaten the promise), mothers before the promise, and women who do not bear children but still play a role. Women not often discussed, such as the wives of Lamech and Esau, are included. The result is a creative and reliable discussion to supplement studies of Genesis and of the roles and importance of women in the Bible.

Author Bio

Tammi J. Schneider teaches ancient history (covering Mesopotamia, Syria-Palestine, Egypt, Anatolia and the Aegean from the third millennium to the end of the first), ancient Near Eastern languages and literature, archaeology (primarily of Israel), and women in the Hebrew Bible (Genesis, Judges, Samuel). Her research draws together the varied fields of archaeology, Assyriology, and biblical studies in an effort to understand the ancient Near East, especially the interactions among various peoples. Additionally, she is interested in the role of women in the Hebrew Bible. Schneider has worked on numerous archaeological excavations including Miqne/Ekron, Tel es-Safi, and Tel Herasim, and currently co-directs excavations at Tell el-Far’ah (South) in Israel as a project director for the Institute for Antiquity and Christianity. Her publications include “Rethinking Jehu” in Biblica 77.1 (1996); Form and Context in the Royal Inscriptions of Shalmaneser II; a commentary on the book of Judges for the Liturgical Press Berit Olam series (2000); and her latest work, Sarah: Mother of Nations, published by Continuum in 2004. Currently, she is working on two books: a monograph about women in the book of Genesis and an introduction to Mesopotamian religion.