|October 21, 1943
West Side, Chicago, Illinois
|August 31, 2006 62)(aged
|MA and PhD from Yale University
|erstwhile Professor at the University of Chicago Divinity School
|Rabbi Allan Kensky
|Late 20th and early 21st centuries
|Tradition or movement
|Assyriology, Sumerology, Biblical studies, Jewish studies, also Women and Religion
Tikva Simone Frymer-Kensky (October 21, 1943 – August 31, 2006)was a professor at the University of Chicago Divinity School. She received her MA and PhD from Yale University. She had previously served on the faculties of Wayne State University, the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, Yale University, Ben Gurion University, and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, where she served as director of Biblical studies.
Her areas of specialization included Assyriology and Sumerology, biblical studies, Jewish studies, and women and religion. Her most recent books are "Reading the Women of the Bible," which received a Koret Jewish Book Award in 2002 and a National Jewish Book Award in 2003;In the Wake of the Goddesses: Women, Culture and the Biblical Transformation of Pagan Myth; and Motherprayer: The Pregnant Woman's Spiritual Companion.
She was also the English translator of From Jerusalem to the Edge of Heaven by Ari Elon (Alma Dee, original Hebrew). In progress at the time of her death were The JPS Bible Commentary: Ruth, a book on biblical theology, and a book on Genesis.
In 1996, the Alumni Association of the Albert A. List College, along with the Graduate School of the Jewish Theological Seminary, presented her with a citation in honor of her accomplishments. The citation celebrates her "prodigious number of well-received books and articles," and her status as "a powerful advocate for Jewish feminism at the numerous conferences at which you lectured....you have shown a light on Biblical periods in which women occupied public office and enjoyed powerful prominent roles in the community."[ citation needed ]
In 2005, she was named one of the Jewish Chicagoans of the Year by The Chicago Jewish News.
In 2006, the Jewish Publication Society published a collection of her articles, "Studies in Bible and Feminist Criticism", as part of their Scholar of Distinction series. She is the first woman to have her work included in this series, as well as having been the youngest person anthologized in this prestigious series.
In 2011, she posthumously won the National Jewish Book Award in Women's Studies for The JPS Bible Commentary: Ruth.Her coauthor for that book, who also won, was Tamara Cohn Eskenazi.
While some of Frymer-Kensky's conclusions about the development of religions are popular and often quoted,her contributions to the study of ancient Near East were met with criticism from many Assyriologists and other specialists.
Julia M. Asher-Greve, who specializes in the study of position of women in antiquity, praises her for being "first in addressing the questions of divine sexual difference and sexuality" in the field of Assyriology but criticizes her focus on fertility, the small selection of sources her works relied on, her view that position of goddesses in the pantheon reflected that of ordinary women in society (so-called "mirror theory"), as well as the fact her works do not accurately reflect the complexity of changes of roles of goddesses in religions of ancient Mesopotamia.Ilona Zsolnay likewise criticizes the "mirror theory" and focus on "fertility cult," which she views as a faulty methodology.
JoAnn Scurlock, who wrote extensively about medicine in ancient Mesopotamia, notes that Frymer-Kensky's claim that the healing goddess Gula/Ninisinna was replaced by her son Damu is unfounded, and that Damu was a very minor deity, while his mother was remarkably popular (even among almost exclusively male physicians), and even in "Marduk-centric" Weidner chronicle played a prominent role.
Alhena Gadotti, who researchers Mesopotamian myths dealing with the underworld, questioned Frymer-Kensky's interpretation of the myth of Nergal and Ereshkigal, pointing out that Ereshkigal had a much smaller role in religion than Nergal (as originally noted by prominent Assyriologist Frans Wiggermann) and that the narrative doesn't contradict Ereshkigal's position in other sources, and as such cannot be regarded as "demotion."
Steve A. Wiggins, who specializes in the mythology of Ugarit, praises some of her contributions to the study of Asherah, but notes that she relied on the incorrect modern notion of Athirat (Asherah), Anat and Ashtart as a trinity and as the only prominent goddesses in the religion of Ugarit.
Rahab was, according to the Book of Joshua, a Gentile woman who lived in Jericho in the Promised Land and assisted the Israelites by hiding two men who had been sent to scout the city prior to their attack. In the New Testament, she is lauded both as an example of a saint who lived by faith, and as someone "considered righteous" for her works. According to biblical research, the author intended that she did not actually contribute in conquering the city, but rather saved herself and her family from death by the Israelites' forces.
Nergal was a Mesopotamian god worshiped through all periods of Mesopotamian history, from Early Dynastic to Neo-Babylonian times, with a few attestations indicating that his cult survived into the period of Achaemenid domination. He was primarily associated with war, death, and disease, and has been described as the "god of inflicted death". He reigned over Kur, the Mesopotamian underworld, depending on the myth either on behalf of his parents Enlil and Ninlil, or in later periods as a result of his marriage with the goddess Ereshkigal. Originally either Mammitum, a goddess possibly connected to frost, or Laṣ, sometimes assumed to be a minor medicine goddess, were regarded as his wife, though other traditions existed, too.
Qetesh was a goddess who was incorporated into the ancient Egyptian religion in the late Bronze Age. Her name was likely developed by the Egyptians based on the Semitic root Q-D-Š meaning 'holy' or 'blessed,' attested as a title of El and possibly Athirat and a further independent deity in texts from Ugarit.
Atargatis was the chief goddess of northern Syria in Classical antiquity. Primarily she was a fertility goddess, but, as the baalat ("mistress") of her city and people she was also responsible for their protection and well-being. Her chief sanctuary was at Hierapolis, modern Manbij, northeast of Aleppo, Syria.
In Mesopotamian mythology, Ereshkigal was the goddess of Kur, the land of the dead or underworld in Sumerian mythology. In later myths, she was said to rule Irkalla alongside her husband Nergal. Sometimes her name is given as Irkalla, similar to the way the name Hades was used in Greek mythology for both the underworld and its ruler, and sometimes it is given as Ninkigal, lit. "Lady of the Great Earth".
Namtar was a figure in ancient Mesopotamian religion who, depending on the context, could be regarded both as a minor god and as a demon of disease. He is best attested as the sukkal of Ereshkigal, the goddess of the underworld. Like her, he was not the object of active worship, though references to it are made in literary texts, and additionally some incantations entrust him with keeping various other malevolent forces in the underworld.
Asherah is the great goddess in ancient Semitic religion. She also appears in Hittite writings as Ašerdu(s) or Ašertu(s). Her name was Aṯeratum to the Amorites, and Athiratu in Ugarit. Significantly, Yahweh and Asherah were a consort pair in ancient Israel and Judah.
The Canaanite religion was the group of ancient Semitic religions practiced by the Canaanites living in the ancient Levant from at least the early Bronze Age to the first centuries CE. Canaanite religion was polytheistic and, in some cases, monolatristic.
The Jewish Publication Society (JPS), originally known as the Jewish Publication Society of America, is the oldest nonprofit, nondenominational publisher of Jewish works in English. Founded in Philadelphia in 1888, by Reform Rabbi Joseph Krauskopf among others, JPS is especially well known for its English translation of the Hebrew Bible, the JPS Tanakh.
The University of Chicago Divinity School is a private graduate institution at the University of Chicago dedicated to the training of academics and clergy across religious boundaries. Formed under Baptist auspices, the school today lacks any sectarian affiliations.
Harold C. Washington is the professor of Hebrew Bible at Saint Paul School of Theology in Kansas City, Missouri. He holds both M.Div. and Ph.D. degrees from Princeton Theological Seminary. He is a member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). Washington's professional output is considerable. Perhaps most significantly, he contributed the introduction and annotations for the books of Proverbs and Sirach in the third edition of The New Oxford Annotated Bible NRSV.
Balak is the 40th weekly Torah portion in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading and the seventh in the Book of Numbers. In the parashah, Balak son of Zippor, king of Moab, tries to hire Balaam to curse Israel, Balaam's donkey speaks to Balaam, and Balaam blesses Israel instead. The parashah constitutes Numbers 22:2–25:9. The parashah is made up of 5,357 Hebrew letters, 1,455 Hebrew words, 104 verses, and 178 lines in a Torah Scroll.
Women in the Bible are wives, mothers and daughters, servants, slaves and prostitutes. As both victors and victims, some women in the Bible change the course of important events while others are powerless to affect even their own destinies. The majority of women in the Bible are anonymous and unnamed. Individual portraits of various women in the Bible show women in a variety of roles. The New Testament refers to a number of women in Jesus' inner circle, and he is generally seen by scholars as dealing with women with respect and even equality.
In the Hebrew Bible, the ordeal of the bitter water was a Jewish trial by ordeal administered by a priest in the tabernacle to a wife whose husband suspected her of adultery, but the husband had no witnesses to make a formal case. It is described in the Book of Numbers.
Did God Have a Wife?: Archaeology and Folk Religion in Ancient Israel is a book by Syro-Palestinian archaeologist William G. Dever, Professor Emeritus of Near Eastern Archeology and Anthropology at the University of Arizona. Did God Have a Wife? was intended as a popular work making available to the general public the evidence long known to archaeologists regarding ancient Israelite religion: namely that the Israelite God of antiquity, Yahweh, had a consort, that her name was Asherah, and that she was part of the Canaanite pantheon.
Queen of Heaven was a title given to a number of ancient sky goddesses worshipped throughout the ancient Mediterranean and the ancient Near East. Goddesses known to have been referred to by the title include Inanna, Anat, Isis, Nut, Astarte, and possibly Asherah. In Greco-Roman times, Hera and Juno bore this title. Forms and content of worship varied.
Rachel was a Biblical figure, the favorite of Jacob's two wives, and the mother of Joseph and Benjamin, two of the twelve progenitors of the tribes of Israel. Rachel's father was Laban. Her older sister was Leah, Jacob's first wife. Her aunt Rebecca was Jacob's mother.
Tamara Cohn Eskenazi is The Effie Wise Ochs Professor of Biblical Literature and History at the Reform Jewish seminary Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles.
Impurity after childbirth is the concept in many cultures and religions that a new mother is in a state of uncleanliness for a period of time after childbirth, requiring ritual purification. Practices vary, but typically there are limits around what she can touch, who she can interact with, where she can go, and what tasks she can do. Some practices related to impurity after childbirth, such as seclusion, overlap with the more general practice of postpartum confinement.
Yahwism is the name given by modern scholars to the religion of ancient kingdoms of Israel and Judah. Yahwism was essentially polytheistic, with a pantheon of gods and goddesses; heading the pantheon was Yahweh, the national god of the Israelite kingdoms of Israel and Judah, with his consort, the goddess Asherah, and second-tier gods and goddesses such as Baal, Shamash, Yarikh, Mot, and Astarte, each of whom had their own priests and prophets and numbered royalty among their devotees. Towards the end of the Babylonian captivity, in the 6th century BCE, the existence of other gods was denied by the likes of the Second Isaiah, and Yahweh was proclaimed the creator deity and sole divinity to be worshipped: eventually, Yahwism evolved into the monotheistic religions of Judaism and Samaritanism.