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date: 26 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

“Patriarchy,” a social science model denoting male dominance, has long been used to represent ancient Israel. However, its validity as a model can be contested. This paper first reviews the history of the patriarchy model in social-science and biblical scholarship, showing how it arose when nineteenth-century anthropologists used Greek and Roman sources (mainly legal texts) in their study of the family, and was then expanded by sociologists (e.g. Weber) to indicate society-wide male dominance; biblical scholarship took up both aspects of the model. It then describes how the patriarchy model has been challenged in several areas: classical scholarship, research on Israelite women, and feminist theory. It concludes by suggesting that “heterarchy” is a more appropriate model.

Keywords: gender, Israelite women, patriarchy, heterarchy, household, gender archaeology, social-science models, Bernhard Stade, feminist biblical studies

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